Written by Sara Uffelman
Fact checked by The Brain Blog Team
Are brain health supplements worth what you pay for them? With so many Americans over-stressed, over-caffeinated and overwhelmed, it’s no wonder we’re looking for ways to support our overworked brains. And while you can support your brain health with basics like adequate sleep, proper nutrition, regular exercise and the right level of hydration, you may not be doing enough to maintain your current brain health and stave off troubling conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Add the fact that many of the foods in the typical American diet are specifically bad for your current and future brain health, and supplements make even more sense.
So what specific nutrients should be ingredients in your chosen brain health supplement? That’s worth serious consideration.
Before you get started, note that there are several brands of “brain supplements” that you’ll want to steer clear of. Their labels typically claim to heighten cognitive function. They may give you a quick hit of the jitters or even make you feel more alert, but they’re not contributing to your brain health in any way. Many of them are loaded with unnecessary and ineffective stimulants like caffeine or guarana.
Caffeine - Caffeine may make you feel more focused and alert, though it’s not affecting your brain health in any way. That cup of coffee in the morning may be great for waking up, but blasting your body with large amounts of caffeine, as some supplements will, can cause heart palpitations, anxiety and jitters. Not good!
Guarana - Guarana is just a different label of caffeine, which comes from a plant, rather than the coffee bean. In large doses, which heavy users of energy drinks may ingest, can cause stomach cramps, anxiety, tremors and even delirium.
Ginko Biloba - While there are claims that ginko biloba can help stave off mental decline, research has proven it to be ineffective and even dangerous. It is known to conflict with certain common medications and can even increase the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke.
Your brain regulates every aspect of your body - from sending signals that allow you to move to quietly to ensuring that you breathe. It allows you to read a book, perform your job, solve complex problems, and communicate with the world. It’s the most amazing organ you’ve got, yet we rarely give much thought to keeping it healthy. In fact, we’d posit that the average American gives more thought to what clothes they put on each day than to how well their brain is functioning. So how can you nourish your brain better to improve and protect it?
The reality? If you take proper care of your brain health, you’ll sleep better, experience less anxiety, perform better in cognitive tasks, have better memory, and experience a myriad of other positive symptoms. THAT is definitely worth taking a daily brain health supplement!
So now the question becomes, what brain health supplement is the best option? The answer is worth doing your research. As a side note, drugs or substances that improve cognitive function like memory, creativity and motivation in healthy individuals are known as nootropics.
In researching your options, you’ll find that several nootropics have proven to make a difference in cognitive function, focus, clarity and risk of Alzheimer’s disease, specifically those with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. We’ve provided detailed information about some of the more critical ones below.
When you’re shopping for a “brain HEALTH supplement,” omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin, and vitamin E are some of the most researched brain nutrients, with several studies available for reference.
When you’re shopping for a “brain HEALTH supplement,” omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, carotenoids, and vitamin E are some of the most researched brain nutrients, with several studies available for reference. Keep reading to learn about these super ingredients for brain health.
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, meaning our bodies can’t create them, so we have to ingest them in food or supplements. Foods that are high in omega-3 include cold water fish like salmon, flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseed oil, soybean oil and canola oil. Omega-3s are vital nutrients for maintaining healthy brain function and have been linked to healthy aging throughout life. They also fight inflammation in the brain. Adding Omega-3s to your list of daily supplements is an obvious pro-brainer. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
The Omega-3s that are in the Memory Health Supplement contain DHA and EPA. Those specific essential fatty acids help the brain to build new healthy brain cells and cell membranes. Consider DHA and EPA as vital to strong structural support for the brain’s connections, resulting in a healthy memory, high levels of cognitive function and overall emotional well-being.
We have a full blog post on the Power of Omega-3s and Brain Health if you're interested in learning more!
Have you heard of the benefits of carotenoids for brain health? The key active ingredients in the Memory Health brain health supplement are carotenoids - Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are powerful plant-based antioxidants that can be found in leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli.
Research shows a strong connection between a diet high in carotenoids and better mental health. Carotenoids are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature, so they also help minimize cell degeneration over time, helping to promote long-term brain health and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lutein, a specific type of carotenoid, has shown strong positive effects on both brain function and overall health, so much so that scientists are recommending that Lutein be added to the list of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) in recognition of its importance to a proper diet. Head to our blog post, "Myth Buster: Lutein Only Benefits Your Eyes" to learn more about Lutein for brain health.
Two other types of carotenoids, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin, don’t get quite as much publicity as Lutein, though they’re just as important. They’ve been associated with a higher level of reasoning, stronger learning function, and a lower risk of dementia.
We have a whole blog dedicated to the Health Benefits of Vitamin E. Head on over to read more about this vital nutrient for brain health!
Antioxidants neutralize dangerous free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and fight inflammation in the brain. Click to learn more about the most powerful Antioxidants for Brain Health.
The well-researched, proven ingredients in the Memory Health brain health supplement are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin; along with lutein, DHA and EPA. Start supporting your brain health now and for the future, by adding the patented Memory Health® supplement for brain health to your diet.