Supplements that may improve Memory and Brain Function
Supplementation is not on the top of the hierarchy of things to do to maintain great brain function, a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep are obviously more important. Let’s say however, you are looking after yourself, all of the basics are already part of your daily routine and you want to see what this brain of yours can really do. What additional supplements have been shown to benefit cognitive function and performance?
The scientific evidence for some supplements may be limited at this stage, and more research is often needed. Here are a few supplements that have been studied and are looking promising:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
- Source: Fish oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, Capsules.
- Potential Benefits: Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, are essential for brain health. They play a role in the structure and function of brain cell membranes. Some studies suggest that omega-3 supplementation may have cognitive benefits, especially in older adults.
- Source: Meat, Yogurt, Protein Powder, Supplemental.
- Potential Benefits: L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that serves as a precursor to neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. These neurotransmitters play essential roles in cognitive functions, mood regulation, and stress response. Some studies suggest Tyrosine supplementation may be beneficial if stress and exercise volume are high. May assist with crash reduction from high stimulant pre-workout products.
- Source: The active compound in turmeric.
- Potential Benefits: Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some studies suggest it may have cognitive benefits and could potentially help in conditions like Alzheimer's disease. However, research is still in the early stages.
- Source: Nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, vegetable oils.
- Potential Benefits: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help protect cells, including those in the brain, from oxidative stress. Some studies have explored its potential role in cognitive function. Make sure to get a spectrum of all 8 Tocopherols and tocotrienols (Supplement forms don’t always have all 8 Isomers, food does though).
- Source: Coffee, tea, energy drinks, pre-workout formula.
- Potential Benefits: Caffeine is a stimulant that can improve alertness and concentration. Moderate caffeine intake has been associated with improved cognitive function and an improvement in sporting performance.
- Source: Found in small amounts in meat and fish; also available as a supplement.
- Potential Benefits: Creatine is involved in energy metabolism in the brain. New research suggests that creatine supplementation may have cognitive benefits, particularly in tasks that require short-term memory and reasoning. The serving size taken by athletes (5-6 grams daily) to improve strength is sufficient to fortify brain function.
The effectiveness of supplements can vary for different individuals depending on genetic variables and lifestyle factors such as regular exercise, stress management, and sufficient sleep play important roles in cognitive function.