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Supplements for Memory -- doctor holding a model of a brain and fish oil capsule


A few supplements may provide modest benefit for memory and cognition in certain people: These are fish oil, certain B vitamins, cocoa flavanols, curcumin (from turmeric), huperzine A, vinpocetine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

In some situations, these may work together: One study found that fish oil may be helpful for people with Alzheimer's disease, but only in those individuals with adequate levels of B vitamins.

On the other hand, another study showed that supplementing with a combination of fish oil, carotenoids, and vitamin E (available as Memory Health) did not improve most measures of memory and cognition.

Increasing magnesium intake may improve cognition in older people who otherwise have a high ratio of calcium to magnesium intake.

CoQ10 may help improve statin drug side-effects, including memory loss.

Certain forms of choline may help improve short-term memory and attention in older adults, or improve cognition in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, while other forms of choline have not been found to have a benefit.

In girls deficient in iron, iron supplementation may improve learning and memory.

Probiotic supplements may improve overall cognition in older people with cognitive impairment but not those with intact cognitive function.

Although green tea has been touted for improving brain function, this effect is not well established. Other supplements touted for brain function, such as Gingko biloba and vitamin E have, by and large, not been found to be helpful.

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is an herb sometimes found in supplement formulas promoted for cognitive function or brain health, but studies have generally been conducted in healthy adults without memory or cognitive deficits, and benefits have been modest, at best.

Be aware that some proprietary formulas that contain some of these ingredients, such as Procera AVH, may promise more of a benefit than clinical evidence suggests. The FDA has warned that many supplements promoted to treat Alzheimer's disease and dementia are marketed with unproven claims and are "selling false hope." The FDA has also advised consumers to avoid supplements promoted to prevent or treat traumatic brain injuries. Vinpocetine, an ingredient in memory supplements such as Procera AVH and Alpha Brain, may cause fetal harm or miscarriage, and should not be taken by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant. It can also inhibit blood platelets from forming clots and could dangerously interact with other blood- thinning supplements like garlic, ginkgo and high dose vitamin E, and drugs such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ticlopidine (Ticlid), or pentoxifylline (Trental) and Coumadin.

Also be aware that some supplements promoted for memory and cognition contain drugs that do not have FDA approval for use and are not permitted to be sold as dietary supplement ingredients. These drugs include Noopept (omberacetam) and its analogs, such as piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam or phenylpiracetam.

You can read more about the potential memory and cognition benefits of these supplements by using the links above.

βAlso, read more about the potential benefits of magnolia bark extract, ketone supplements, inositol-stabilized arginine silicate (Nitrosigine), foods (such as blueberries, strawberries and red wine) and diets, including the Mediterranean diet and MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), and find out which mineral experts suggest avoiding if you are at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Sign in for details.

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