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How to Choose A Brain Supplement That Works To Improve Focus & Memory

This article deeply discusses brain health supplements, their advantages and disadvantages, the science behind the ingredients, and how to take the supplements for the best results.

By Cogniultra Staff Updated on
Choose A Brain Supplement
Choose A Brain Supplement

What is a Brain Supplement for Memory and Focus?

If you care about your brain health then you must have heard of many ways to boost your brain health, including taking nootropic supplements.

Some of the many claims you hear about brain supplements are that they sharpen focus, improve memory, prevent degenerative disorders, and improve brain health.

Many nootropic supplements contain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, and other vitamins, which help protect brain cells and prevent brain damage.

A publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Joanna Hellmuth, MD, Bruce L. Miller, MD et al supports that people with mental decline and brain degenerative disorders may use brain health supplements to help prevent or slow down the processes. Nootropic supplements with B vitamins help improve cognitive functions.

According to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine by Cindy Crawford, BA, et al brain health supplements have gained popularity and have made their way into the market today.

These supplements help improve cognitive functions, improve memory, enhance mental focus and concentration, prevent mental decline, and improve physical function.

Brain health supplements contain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, which support normal functioning, and proper development of the brain.

EPH and EDA in omega 3 have anti-inflammatory effects.

They help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Omega 3 fatty acids improve brain functions, like learning and memory, and are great for memory loss.

The Journal of Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience by Simon C. Dyall supports that nootropic supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids have neuroprotective effects on the brain.

Omega-3 fatty acids do work by treating and preventing neurological disorders and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and brain aging.

A brain health supplement may also contain B vitamins, vitamin E, and other vitamins, including A, C, and D. These vitamins have numerous benefits for brain health, including improving cognition and memory, preventing dementia, and slowing the rate of mental decline.

According to the Nutrients Journal by Giorgio La Fata, vitamin E is packed with antioxidants, which help protect brain cells against damage by free radicals and oxidative stress.

As we age, the brain becomes more susceptible to damage by oxidative stress.

Increasing vitamin E levels in the body improves cognitive performance and prevents neurodegeneration.

However, with brain health supplements, we strongly recommend that you speak to a healthcare provider who knows about brain health before taking the supplements.

A qualified healthcare provider will help determine if the ingredients in the brain supplement will work for you.

Since individuals are different with different body composition, some people may experience negative side effects.

Main Types of Brain Supplements

Nootropics or Brain Boosters

Brain boosters or nootropics mainly contain caffeine or other stimulants.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant, which helps stimulate the central nervous system.

Brain boosters with caffeine are used as cognitive enhancers, which help increase mental alertness and concentration.

Caffeine improves brain function, boosts energy levels, and makes one more alert.

The Journal of Current Neuropharmacology by Simone Cappelletti supports that caffeine is used worldwide to help enhance working memory, improve physical performance, and increase concentration.

Products containing caffeine help lower the risk of neurodegenerative disorders.

Multi-Vitamins

Multi-vitamins contain various nutrients, including vitamins and plant extracts to help support brain functions in different ways.

Daily supplementation with multivitamins may help improve working memory, slow down brain aging, and improve cognitive functions.

A publication in the Nutrients Journal by Samskruthi Madireddy and Sahithi Madireddy supports that multivitamins, including vitamins A, C, and E are linked to improved memory, better cognition, and improved well-being.

These vitamins help fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.

Shenella Karunaratne, LPC Mental Health Therapist said Vitamin C can be very beneficial when it comes to memory and cognitive health. It is often recommended as a supplement for aging individuals for that very reason. It is very effective at getting rid of free radicals, and free radicals can have a negative impact on cognitive health. There are also beneficial antioxidant properties with vitamin C.

Cognitive Support Supplements

Cognitive support supplements are formulated using micro-nutrients and vitamins that are derived from the foods we eat.

These supplements tend to nourish the body and the brain, depending on the ingredients included in them.

Cognitive support supplements may help support cognitive functions, improve memory, reduce brain fog, and support long-term brain health.

Solveig Eitungjerde, certified health coach and former professional dancer said ,

Brain fog can be addressed through a holistic approach that includes mindfulness practices, proper hydration, and a balanced diet. Meditation and mindfulness can clear mental haze, while adequate hydration and a nutrient-rich diet support optimal brain function. These strategies not only combat brain fog but also enhance overall cognitive health and well-being.

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease supports that adequate nutrients and vitamins in the body help improve cognitive functioning, prevent cognitive decline, and improve cognitive abilities.

Memory Pills or Memory Supplements

Memory supplements or pills often contain one or two main ingredients, which help improve working memory.

Memory supplements will include ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and theanine may help improve memory.

According to the Nutrients Journal, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, polyphenols, probiotics, and multivitamins have a positive impact on cognition and working memory.

Key Things to Consider When Choosing a Brain Health Supplement According to Experts

Research

Before purchasing a brain health supplement, it is important that you do your due diligence to ensure you are selecting an appropriate product.

Choose products that are backed by scientific research to ensure they are safe and effective.

Real Ingredients

Brain health supplements contain ingredients that are derived from the foods we eat.

You need to read through the ingredients list of each product to ensure you select products, with ingredients that will benefit the brain in multiple ways.

Many of the ingredients included in brain health supplements often offer more than one benefit to the body.

Third-party certified

We strongly recommend that you choose products from brands, which allow third parties to test their products.

When an outside party certifies a product, then you can be assured that the product is safe and effective for consumption.

Value for money

Do not go for highly-priced products, which will not add any value to the body, or too lowly priced products, which will make you question authenticity.

Go for the averagely priced products that you can afford and will still offer you value for your money.

What customers say

Read various customer reviews from different online platforms that sell the product before making a purchase.

Reading customer reviews will give you insight into the product, allowing you to know whether a product is legit or not.

Customer reviews also allow you to know if there are any side effects associated with taking the supplements.

Responsibly formulated

For the sake of safety, you should go for products formulated with non-GMO, high-quality ingredients that are free of allergens and harmful substances.

What are the Advantages of Brain Supplements

The brain is an organ that supports the functioning of many organs and systems in the body.

Brain health allows the brain to function across social-emotional, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, and motor domains.

This allows one to function to their full potential, regardless of disorders.

High-potent brain health supplements contain powerful ingredients; including omega-3, choline, and many others that have been tied to supporting brain health.

Some of the pros of using brain supplements include;

  • May boost cognitive functions –Most nootropic supplements contain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids in the body.

    While these healthy fats are derived from the foods we eat, one may not get enough from food sources and this calls for supplementation.

    Omega-3 fatty acids do help improve heart health, boost cognitive functions, including working memory and learning and improve brain health.

  • Slow the rate of mental decline – Some brain health supplements contain ingredients like B vitamins and vitamin E, which are packed with antioxidants to help fight free radicals and prevent brain cell damage.

    These vitamins help improve brain health and slow down the rate of brain degradation or brain aging.

  • Improves long-term brain health – If a brain supplement contains micronutrients and multivitamins, then you can be sure that it will offer long-term benefits to the brain and body.
  • Reduces brain fog – Brain health supplements may help improve memory, enhance mental focus and concentration, and reduce brain fog.
Marc Massad, Certified Pickleball Trainer & IFP Pickleball Ambassador, said Hydration plays a crucial role in cognitive function. As a fitness coach, I've seen even mild dehydration potentially result in alterations in cognition. Staying adequately hydrated helps ensure the brain functions optimally, thereby helping prevent brain fog. Diet and nutrition have a direct impact on brain fog. For instance, a diet rich in processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats can cause fluctuations in blood sugar leading to brain fog. On the other hand, a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats promotes mental clarity.

What are the Disadvantages of Brain Supplements?

  • Individual results may vary
  • Some people may have negative reactions to some ingredients like fish oil
  • Some supplements may have exaggerated prices

Common Constituents in Most Top-Rated Brain Supplements

Some of the commonly featured supplements in most brain formulations include;

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids tops the list of the best brain health supplements.

It contains DHA and EPA, which are essential fatty acids for proper growth and development of the brain.

They help reduce any inflammation in the brain and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

A publication in the Cureus Journal supports that omega-3 fatty acids help improve cognitive functions.

Choline

Choline is a nutrient that is commonly found in eggs.

It helps the brain to produce a chemical, acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, that helps improve general cognition.

The Journal of Frontiers in Endocrinology by Urna Kansakar supports that choline supplements are essential for the proper functioning of the muscles, liver, and brain.

Choline supports many physiological processes in the body.

B Vitamins

B vitamins, including vitamins B6, B9, and B12 are necessary for brain health.

B vitamins do help protect the brain against memory loss, cognitive decline, and premature brain aging.

They do help improve brain functions and long-term brain health.

According to the Nutrients Journal by David O Kennedy, B vitamins are 8 soluble vitamins that support optimal neurological and physiological functions.

L-Theanine

Leah Johnston, a registered dietician supports that l-theanine is an amino acid that helps improve mental focus concentration, and mental performance.

FAQs

Do Brain Supplements Really Work?

Yes, nootropic or brain health supplements contain high-quality ingredients, which work to improve cognitive functions, improve brain health, and improve overall health.

What supplements are good for brain fog and memory?

Nootropic supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, l-theanine, and vitamin E may help reduce brain fog, enhance memory and focus, and improve working memory.

Are Brain Supplements Legal?

Not all brain health supplements are legal. We do advise that you do your research before purchasing brain health supplements.

Choose products from brands, which have done third-party tests on their products, and have included non-GMO ingredients.

How Long Should I Wait to See the Results?

Individuals are different with different body composition.

Therefore, individual results may vary. Some people may experience results faster than others may.

Conclusion

The brain is an important organ in the body and it is important that you take good care of it.

That is why we have nootropic supplements to help improve brain health.

Maybe you are concerned about lack of focus, your memory, or brain fog, or you simply want to improve your brain health.

Lucky you that the market is full of many nootropic supplements from different brands, even though may be quite difficult for one to tell, which products are legit and which ones are not.

But still, highly potent nootropic supplements are readily available in many online and offline stores from different brands, you just need to know where to get the right product.

SOURCES:

  1. Smith AD, Refsum H, Miller JW. Dietary Supplements for Brain Health. JAMA. 2019 Jun 25;321(24):2467. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.4963. PMID: 31237630; PMCID: PMC7325382. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325382/
  2. Crawford C, Boyd C, Avula B, Wang YH, Khan IA, Deuster PA. A Public Health Issue: Dietary Supplements Promoted for Brain Health and Cognitive Performance. J Altern Complement Med. 2020 Apr;26(4):265-272. doi: 10.1089/acm.2019.0447. Epub 2020 Mar 2. PMID: 32119795; PMCID: PMC7153641. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7153641/
  3. Dyall SC. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Front Aging Neurosci. 2015 Apr 21;7:52. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00052. PMID: 25954194; PMCID: PMC4404917. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404917/
  4. La Fata G, Weber P, Mohajeri MH. Effects of vitamin E on cognitive performance during ageing and in Alzheimer's disease. Nutrients. 2014 Nov 28;6(12):5453-72. doi: 10.3390/nu6125453. PMID: 25460513; PMCID: PMC4276978. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276978/
  5. Cappelletti S, Piacentino D, Sani G, Aromatario M. Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug? Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015 Jan;13(1):71-88. doi: 10.2174/1570159X13666141210215655. Erratum in: Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015;13(4):554. Daria, Piacentino [corrected to Piacentino, Daria]. PMID: 26074744; PMCID: PMC4462044. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462044/
  6. Cappelletti S, Piacentino D, Sani G, Aromatario M. Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug? Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015 Jan;13(1):71-88. doi: 10.2174/1570159X13666141210215655. Erratum in: Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015;13(4):554. Daria, Piacentino [corrected to Piacentino, Daria]. PMID: 26074744; PMCID: PMC4462044. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462044/
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