Supplements for Brain Health & Memory Loss
Oh, that big beautiful brain! It is undoubtedly the hardest working organ in the body and singular in its complexity and mystery. We are light years away from understanding everything about the brain, but we do know that this three-pound organ functions quickly and automatically when it's healthy. We also know that a healthy brain requires quality sleep, a healthy heart, exercise, social interactions, stimulation, and proper nutrients to stay in good shape.
So, what happens when things - like nutrients, for example - fall short of providing the brain with what it needs? Scientifically speaking, studies have shown that intelligence, memory, behavior, and concentration are all influenced by the quality of brain nutrition. So, when the brain is not getting what it needs, problems can arise, like short-term memory loss, lack of focus, fatigue, or scattered thoughts - a group of symptoms commonly called brain fog.
However, there are ways to combat brain fog and boost brain health at any age, including supplements for brain health. So, in today’s blog post, we’re discussing brain health and memory loss supplements, including clearing up any confusion about commonly associated myths. We’ll also discuss the best supplements for memory loss and other common brain fog symptoms that can help support overall cognitive health.
Common Brain Health Supplement Myths
The vitamin and supplement industry is a big business. In 2022 the U.S. vitamin and supplement manufacturing industry was worth $35.6 billion. Within such a massive industry, there are bound to be many companies that make health claims that are not scientifically substantiated, especially when the FDA doesn’t regulate the industry.
That being said, there is not one “single” pill available that will clear memory fog or boost brain health in everyone, despite what clever marketing may say. The body, including the brain, is highly complex - and, more importantly, every “body” is different. Finding what works to improve a condition, like when choosing the best supplement for brain health, should be at the advice of a doctor, pharmacist, or functional medicine practitioner and based on what nutrients or vitamins your body lacks to support optimal function.
For example, there has been interest in DHEA supplements for improving health issues associated with age decline, like memory loss, among other conditions. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by the body's adrenal glands, and its production generally begins declining in most people during their 20s. Therefore, some researchers speculated that supplementing your body's falling hormone levels might help fight aging.
However, very little evidence has supported these speculations, so its efficacy is not well supported. Furthermore, taking it long-term or in high doses may increase the risk for certain types of cancer and other serious side effects.1
The supplement world can be confusing to navigate, so it’s important to do the research and work with a health professional when considering anything new in your routine. However, some vitamins and supplements have shown potential in studies and meta-analyses related to brain health and memory issues. So, today’s post will discuss them, including which supplements and formulas can help clear brain fog and sharpen focus, including the high-quality brands that Martin’s Wellness recommends.
Best Supplements for Brain Health
It’s a common misconception that getting older automatically leads to declining brain health and memory loss. However, even in advanced age, the brain can thrive when taken care of and nurtured. Whether you are in your 20s or your 60s, brain health should be a priority. Therefore, aside from regularly exercising, getting quality sleep, and socializing, it’s important to ensure the brain receives the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
So, let’s look at the best brain supplements for adults looking to improve this organ’s health. Most of these supplements help other areas of cognitive function, including supporting memory and fighting brain fog, and will appear more than once throughout the rest of the post.
Magnesium2 - Magnesium is essential to ensuring the normal function of neurons and helps regulate neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that help the cells of the brain communicate with each other - and with the rest of the body. This Life Extension supplement is great for optimizing magnesium in the brain.
Vitamin B - These vitamins, like B6, B12, and B9 (folic acid), all play a role in brain health. A 2016 review4 states that B vitamins are essential for every aspect of brain function and that many people in developed countries have a vitamin B deficiency, which may have negative health consequences, such as impaired brain function.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - A study conducted at Oxford University found that having higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain boosted the benefits of B vitamins in improving cognitive function.5 The Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega offers the most concentrated omega-3 in each serving for maximum support.
Best Supplements for Brain Fog
Brain fog is a term that represents a broad range of symptoms that impact overall focus and function and make it difficult for some to perform cognitive tasks consistently or engage in meaningful conversation without a hazy, distracting feeling. However, these four supplements can help combat brain fog symptoms, like memory trouble, lack of focus, fatigue, and scattered thoughts.
Magnesium - Many people don’t get enough magnesium in their diet, which may negatively impact brain health and lead to brain fog symptoms such as difficulty concentrating.
Vitamin D - This fat-soluble nutrient is necessary for immune system function, brain health, and more, so deficient vitamin D levels may negatively impact cognitive health and contribute to brain fog symptoms.
B Complex - Studies6 have shown that low or deficient levels of certain B vitamins can lead to brain fog symptoms, like memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and more - in which case, a high-quality Vitamin B supplement can help.
L-Theanine - Studies suggest that taking an L-theanine supplement may help improve mental alertness, reaction time, and memory.7 L-theanine is a compound found in green tea and other plants.
Best Supplements for Memory Loss
Many people fear that aging will accelerate memory loss, as it’s fairly common in older adults. However, even into old age, the brain can function properly at any age when kept in good health. Nutrition plays a big part in caring for the brain, and these supplements can help give the brain what it needs when diet cannot. Following are the vitamins and best supplements for memory loss if maintaining a nutritional balance is a concern.
Vitamin E - As an antioxidant that combats free radicals, including those that may damage brain cells, there is evidence that vitamin E can benefit the mind and memory in older people. We like this formula by Pure.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - A 2015 review3 found that taking supplements with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two Omega-3s, resulted in significant improvements in episodic memory outcomes in adults with memory concerns.
Ginkgo Biloba - Ginkgo biloba has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. Studies have indicated that ginkgo biloba may be helpful for cerebral insufficiency, a decreased blood flow to the brain from clogged blood vessels.
Supplements for Memory Loss During Menopause
Scientists believe that memory loss and other brain fog symptoms can be caused by the hormonal changes women experience before and during menopause. There is disruption - and even absence - of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormones - all responsible for different body processes, including brain function.
Studies have shown that antioxidants (like Vitamin E) and Omega-3s have shown the most promise in effectively reducing menopausal brain fog. Other supplements that may help this menopausal symptom are ginkgo biloba and a Vitamin B complex.
Martin’s Wellness Recommended Brain Supplements
Young or old, nutritional status plays a vital role in determining how well the brain functions. Poor brain health can lead to brain fog and memory loss, which can disrupt daily activities and life in general. As discussed today, certain vitamins and fatty acids can help support brain health and help alleviate symptoms of brain fog or prevent memory loss.
Martin’s Wellness carries an extensive line of pharmaceutical-grade supplements available without a prescription, many of which we have already highlighted in previous sections of this post. We also have on-site Functional Medicine Practitioners that can help individuals uncover underlying causes of compromised brain function and provide science-based solutions while utilizing a natural, curative approach to improving health and quality of life.
Many can benefit from supplements for brain health by incorporating a quality-tested formula designed to boost cognitive function, like these top Martin’s Wellness picks for best brain supplements for adults.
- 1 https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/fortifying-your-memory-with-supplements
- 2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8065437/
- 3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25786262/
- 4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/#sec7-nutrients-08-00068title
- 5 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26757190/#:~:text=When%20omega-3%20fatty%20acid%20concentrations%20are%20low%2C%20B,range%2C%20B%20vitamins%20interact%20to%20slow%20cognitive%20decline
- 6 https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-of-vitamin-b-deficiency
- 7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8080935/