Can supplements ward off memory disorders or improve cognitive function? The research is complicated, and the answer is both yes and no. Find out more about the role vitamins, minerals and supplements may (or may not) play when it comes to cognitive health below.
According to WebMD, a quarter of adults over the age of 50 are taking supplements marketed as good for the brain. The obvious desire is to protect cognitive function, such as focus and memory, through the aging process.
But the Food and Drug Administration doesn't require the manufacturers or marketers of these types of supplements to prove they work as they claim. So, the pill that's supposed to keep your memory sharp or improve focus and concentration may not do anything at all.
That's not to say, however, that there's not a relationship between certain vitamins and minerals and brain health. For older adults or those caring for them, it's important to know where the line between good wellness and wasting money on pills is.
According to information published by Harvard Heath, the research seems to say yes. The MIND diet, DASH diet and Mediterranean diets have all been shown in various studies to positively impact cognitive functions. These diets are full of foods that have lots of vitamin B and E and omega-3 fatty acids.
The takeaway seems to be that those vitamins and minerals are good for brain health, so why wouldn't you take supplements to get in some extra B, E or good fatty acids? The problem is that the research is still out, and scientists don't know for sure if it's a certain combination of these nutrients or certain amounts that have a good impact on brain health.
Here's what researchers do know at this point:
Some nutrients that require further study to determine whether they have a positive impact on cognitive health include:
If you or someone you know is dealing with a memory or cognitive issue, it's understandable that you would reach for any potential help. But it's important to do your research, listen to your health care providers and avoid investing in products that could be a waste or money or even harmful.
Those looking for future ways to stay healthy and active with a memory diagnosis may want to consider an assisted living community with a memory care level of service. Find out more about memory care at Autumn View Gardens.