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Question:
Do any supplements really help with brain function, like memory and cognition?

Answer:
There are a few supplements which may provide modest benefit with memory and cognition in certain people: These are fish oil, certain B vitamins, cocoa flavanols, curcumin (from turmeric), huperzine A, vinpocetine, and acetyl-L-carnitine. CoQ10 may help improve statin drug side-effects, including memory loss. However, be aware that some proprietary formulas which contain some of these ingredients, such as Procera AVH, may promise more of a benefit than clinical evidence suggests.

Certain forms of choline may be 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.

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.

Be aware that the FDA has specifically advised consumers to avoid supplements promoted to prevent or treat traumatic brain injuries.

You can read more about the potential memory and cognition benefits of these supplements by using the links above. Also see ConsumerLab.com's Encyclopedia article about Enhancing Memory and Mental Function.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 5/2/2014. Last updated 8/8/2017.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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