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What are “brain vitamins” and what are their benefits?

Approximately 25% of adults aged 50 and older take a vitamin or supplement to try and improve the health of their brain. Brain vitamins are said to improve focus and memory. However, many studies have found conflicting results regarding their effectiveness.

B vitamins such as B6, B9, and B12 are reported to play a role in brain health. These vitamins are said to be unlikely to help unless you have deficient levels of them or are pregnant. Since research into the ability of B vitamins to boost cognitive ability is inconclusive, it is recommended to stick to food sources to improve your brain health.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, helping protect cells from free radicals. Studies have shown a daily supplement of Vitamin E can slow the rate of decline in people with dementia while a diet rich in Vitamin E can decrease the likelihood of developing dementia. However, studies have also shown an increased risk of death is associated with high doses of Vitamin E supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that cannot be synthesized by the body. They have been shown to build cell membranes in the brain and may prevent inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in salmon, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables.

Adaptogens are a pharmacotherapeutic group of herbal preparations that increase attention and help the body maintain homeostasis (equilibrium). Reishi has anti-cancer properties, boosts the immune system, and increases energy. It can be taken in powder form or included in teas and soups. Holy basil, which is often used in tea, protects organs and tissues from physical and chemical stress while positively affecting cognitive function by reducing anxiety and depression symptoms.

Ultimately, the best way for seniors to improve their memory is to consume dietary vitamins from their food and, with the advice of a doctor, supplements may be used to fill in the gaps. Eating well and exercising your body and brain are great ways to reduce your memory decline. The Mediterranean, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diets have been shown to improve memory and reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Disclaimer: Although Boom Health has health and well-being at the forefront of our mission statement, we are not doctors or professionals. If you are thinking about taking brain vitamins, you are encouraged to do further research on their efficacy.

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