Skip to content

Brain Vitamins: Can Vitamins Boost Memory and Focus?

Brain vitamins are part of brain-boosting nutrients meant to support the brain during specific circumstances as well as to maintain normal brain health.

Reviewed by Camille Pace RN

Written by Cogniultra Staff

Updated on

Brain Vitamins
Brain Vitamins

What Are Brain Vitamins?

Brain vitamins are part of brain-boosting nutrients meant to support the brain during specific circumstances as well as to maintain normal brain health.

According to David Seitz, M.D., medical director for Ascendant, a chemical dependency treatment center in New York, the brain requires vital nutrients to function properly.

He adds that eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins from fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, can go a long way in providing the necessary vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals the brain requires for memory retention and sharp thinking.

Health experts have always recommended obtaining vitamins directly from the diet because they are easily absorbed into the body compared to synthetic forms like supplements.

Kristin Gillespie, a registered dietitian based in Virginia Beach, is one of the health experts who encourage people to achieve the recommended daily nutrients by embracing a balanced diet instead of supplements where possible.
Gill Livingstone, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at University College London, specializes in research that focuses on dementia prevention, intervention, and care. She notes that brain vitamin supplements are generally not beneficial for brain health support unless the person using them has a deficiency of certain vitamins, which, she says, is a rare case.

However, Gillespie, despite encouraging people to get their nutrients from the diet, also appreciates the importance of supplements when it comes to filling the nutrient gap in people’s diets.

She says that there are a number of factors that often limit people from achieving the recommended amount of nutrient intake from their daily diet.

This may occur in individuals with absorption problems, especially the elderly or those on a restricted diet.

In such situations, supplements may be necessary to help such people achieve their daily nutrient intake goals, explains Gillespie.

Why do Vitamins Matter for the Brain?

What you eat or do not eat may affect your mental and brain health says, Lindsay Delk, registered dietitian and owner of Food and Mood Dietitian in Texas.

Nutrients, including vitamins, can affect the functioning of the brain and also influence an individual’s risk for neurodegenerative diseases.

For the brain tofunction optimally, it requires certain nutrients, unsaturated fats, flavonoids, and omega-3 fatty acids, says Puja Agarwal, Ph.D., a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago.

Lisa Richards is a nutritionist and author of the Candida Diet stated,

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in high levels in certain types of fish and fish oil supplements, are important for brain health and function. These fatty acids play a variety of roles in the body, including helping to maintain the structure and function of brain cells, and may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

According to a publication in The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, these compounds can help reduce dementia-related risks and also slow down cognitive decline.

What are the Best Vitamins for Brain and Memory?

Some of the best vitamins for brain and memory support are discussed below, supported by links to scientific studies.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for maintaining healthy neurological function and vision.

It supports the brain through its ability to contribute to the maintenance of healthy neurons.

According to a research study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, Vitamin A has shown the potential of combating inflammation and stress in the brain, thus preventing cognitive decline, a condition with neurodegenerative diseases.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an ingredient packed with powerful antioxidant properties capable of supporting the body’s immunity and also the brain.

Vitamin C can be obtained from foods like kiwi fruit, green bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, berries, cauliflower, tomatoes, and brussels sprouts.

A research study published in the Nutrients Journal found that Vitamin C has the ability to support brain function by supporting the brain’s blood vessels, and enhancing blood flow and oxygen in the brain cells.

This vitamin is also involved in neurotransmitter synthesis like dopamine, critical for optimal brain function.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, is another powerful vitamin known for its ability to protect the brain against cognitive decline.

It also works to support nerve signal transmitters.

Research conducted to look into the benefits of biotin in brain health revealed that biotin combined with other B vitamins can help sharpen focus and regulate mood thanks to its powerful neuroprotective properties.

Trista Best, Registered Dietitian, Environmental Health Specialist, nutrition professor stated,

"If someone suspects they have a biotin deficiency, they should watch out for specific signs that might indicate a lack of this essential B-vitamin. Biotin deficiency symptoms often manifest as brittle nails that are prone to splitting and breaking. Hair problems can arise, including thinning, hair loss, and overall lackluster hair quality. Skin issues might appear, such as dryness, red rashes, and dermatitis”.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential compound for brain health because it has been found to have the potential to prevent cognitive deficits.

According to research published in Medicine Journal, Vitamin B12 deficiency has been found to have a negative effect on reasoning and memory..

Mirella Diaz-Santos, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the May S Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA’s Department of Neurology and Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement notes that increasing the intake of vitamin B12 supplements can help with memory loss in aging individuals.
Puja Agarwal, Ph.D., a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical Collect in Chicago, says

“Vitamin B12, together with B6 and B9 are crucial for the normal functioning of the brain; their deficiency may accelerate memory loss risks and other forms of cognitive decline”.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is considered a powerful antioxidant with the ability to protect the brain cell membranes from oxidative damage, hence warding off aging-related cognitive function effects.

According to Robin Foroutan, M.S., R.D.N., a functional dietitian, Vitamin C is also packed with anti-inflammatory properties that can help maintain healthy brain cell membranes’ structure, and also help keep DNA healthy.

Research published in Nutrients has revealed that Vitamin E supplementation reduces the cognitive decline rate, especially in seniors by protecting the brain cells from the damaging effect of free radicals.

Zev Schulhof, DMD, MD, is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who stated

“Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that can protect brain cells from free radical damage, which means it can potentially slow functional decline in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. However, it's important to note that studies on this topic have yielded mixed results, with some finding that Vitamin E can lead to significant improvements and others showing virtually no change after increasing Vitamin E intake”.

How Do Vitamins Work to Boost Memory and Focus?

Brain vitamin supplements are usually comprised of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds, all aimed at improving different aspects of brain healt,h including memory and focus.

These supplements are designed to work to boost memory and focus via different mechanisms.

These vitamins work by boosting brain chemicals or neurotransmitters' production,to deliver messages between the body and the brain.

Vitamins also wors to boost memory and focus by promoting DNA repair and synthesis, energy production, and non-genomic methylation, as well as the synthesis of several signaling molecules and neurochemicals.

The aboce was uncovered by research published in Nutrients Journal.

Vitamins A, B, C and E, work by acting as antioxidants to protect the brain from the damaging effect of free radicals and oxidative stress.

The studies’ results show that vitamin C can also work to promote neuronal, neurotransmitter, and vascular functions, all crucial in enhancing brain health.

The same research has also linked vitamin D to improved brain function.Being a steroid hormone, the compound has been found to have many functions, including binding receptors in the nucleus.

Due to its role in neuroinflammation, it may also play a big role in the prevention of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration diseases.

What Should You Look for When Choosing Vitamin Supplements to Support Memory and Focus?

  • Proof of scientific research backing:

    When looking for a vitamin supplement for memory and focus support, choose onewhich contains ingredients supported by science to nurture the brain’s multiple elements and support brain function.

  • Expert recommended:

    Experts also carry out their own research about a product and its ingredients to ascertain their efficiency and safety claims.

    This means that choosing a vitamin supplement recommended by respected nutritional and medical professionals will increase your chances of landing a high-quality, efficient, and safe product.
  • Third-party tested:

    Manufacturers, who are out to make a fortune, do not care about testing their products for purity, meaning that they can sell products containing harmful ingredients and chemicals to unsuspecting consumers.

    If you are planning on adding vitamin supplements to your daily health regimen, we recommend choosing from a brand that tests its products for purity in third-party labs.

    This will save you from unforeseen health risks.

  • Brand with Reputation:

    There is no doubt that supplements from small brands also work to give the claimed results.

    However, reputable brands have stood the test of time and are mostly trusted to manufacture highly efficient and safe supplements.

    So, to avoid being scammed into buying a supplement that won’t work or harm your health, we recommend choosing a vitamin supplement from a well-known and reputable brand.

FAQs

What is The Best Vitamin for Brain Focus and Memory?

According to Akash Bajaj, M.D., an anti-aging and longevity specialist based in Los Angeles, B vitamins are considered the best because they have been studied and found to play a crucial role in brain health.

The vitamin complex can effectively support healthy brain function, and protect against cognitive decline, memory loss, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Are Brain Vitamins Safe?

Many people have turned to vitamin supplements being marketed by different manufacturers to boost their brain health.

However, not all brain supplements are safe and can boost brain health.

Some vitamin supplements, especially those bought over the counter may claim to improve cognitive function but a good number of them are packed with unapproved pharmaceutical drugs which in most cases are not listed on the ingredients labels.

So, before settling for any vitamin supplement, it is important that you talk to your doctor first so that together you can determine the right vitamin supplement for your brain health.

How Long Should I Wait to See Results?

There is no catch-all answer as to how long it will take for a vitamin supplement to start showing results.

How fast a vitamin supplement can work will depend on the vitamin’s deficiency level.

If the vitamin deficiency is severe, then it may take much longer for the supplement to reinstate the optimal level.

However, based on recent research, it may take 1-3 months of consistent use of a vitamin supplement before noticing positive changes.

What Vitamins are Good for Brain Fog?

For individuals exposed to constant brain fog, it is recommended that they check their diet for three vitamins in particular:

Vitamin B6, vitamin B9, and Vitamin C.

These three types of vitamins are said to be packed with powerful antioxidants capable of protecting the brain against mental fogginess.

Conclusion

Vitamins have multiple health benefits, making them one of the most important nutrients the body requires to achieve optimal health.

Various researchers have noted the ability of brain vitamins to support various aspects of brain health, including focus and memory, especially in dementia patients.

However, these studies are not conclusive, hence warranting further research to ascertain these health benefit claims.

Nonetheless, we cannot overlook the role that vitamins play in promoting different aspects of our health for overall health and well-being.

If your goal is to boost your focus and memory, health experts and many researchers have supported the use of brain vitamins to achieve this.

You can opt for brain vitamins to improve your focus and memory if you feel that you are not getting enough from your daily diet as recommended.

With the above-detailed information about brain vitamins, we are confident that you will find it easy to choose a brain vitamin supplement that will perfectly meet your brain health needs.

Sources:

  1. Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, Sacks FM, Barnes LL, Bennett DA, Aggarwal NT. MIND diet slows cognitive decline with aging. Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Sep;11(9):1015-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 Jun 15. PMID: 26086182; PMCID: PMC4581900. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26086182/
  2. Lohr KM, Frost B, Scherzer C, Feany MB. Biotin rescues mitochondrial dysfunction and neurotoxicity in a tauopathy model. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Dec 29;117(52):33608-33618. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1922392117. Epub 2020 Dec 14. PMID: 33318181; PMCID: PMC7777082. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7777082/
  3. Travica N, Ried K, Sali A, Scholey A, Hudson I, Pipingas A. Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 30;9(9):960. doi: 10.3390/nu9090960. PMID: 28867798; PMCID: PMC5622720. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622720/
  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. Soh Y, Lee DH, Won CW. Association between Vitamin B12 levels and cognitive function in the elderly Korean population. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Jul 24;99(30):e21371. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000021371. PMID: 32791746; PMCID: PMC7387066. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7387066/
  6. Franzoni F, Scarfò G, Guidotti S, Fusi J, Asomov M, Pruneti C. Oxidative Stress and Cognitive Decline: The Neuroprotective Role of Natural Antioxidants. Front Neurosci. 2021 Oct 13;15:729757. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.729757. PMID: 34720860; PMCID: PMC8548611. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8548611/
  7. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy--A Review. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 27;8(2):68. doi: 10.3390/nu8020068. PMID: 26828517; PMCID: PMC4772032. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/
'
'