Memory Supplements For Seniors: Fad Or Do They Work?

There are many different types of memory supplements available in the market that help boost your brain health. But do they work? Read on to know more.

The signs of losing memory such as misplacing keys, not remembering the street name, and any task you can’t remember seem scary and disturbing. As people grow older, they have a risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s

Around 25% of people over the age of 50 take some supplements that help improve their memory and brain health. Some reports have projected that by 2023, people will spend more than $5.8 billion on memory supplements.

Memory Supplements For Seniors Fad Or Do They Work

But the question is, do these memory supplements work? According to some research, there is no evidence of how well these memory pills work. 

Manufacturers are coming up with different memory supplements to boost memory and improve brain health. Many of these supplements can be ineffective, unsafe, and of low quality and are not very helpful in reducing dementia or other diseases.

Also, there is a lack of regulation as the government does not test and evaluate any of these supplements, making it challenging to choose quality supplements.

In this article, let us have a look at the memory supplements for seniors, in which we will cover:

  • Are memory supplements effective and safe to use?
  • Memory supplements that help improve brain health.
  • Risks Involved with these memory supplements.
  • Other ways to improve brain health

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Are Memory Supplements Effective And Safe To Use?

Memory supplements are pills that are used as dietary supplements to boost memory. Many manufacturers sell different types of memory supplements and claim to improve memory and cognitive performance. 

In the U.S., the FDA evaluates and tests the medications to ensure the doctor prescribes the safety and efficiency of these pills. But like prescribed medications, the FDA does not evaluate memory supplements. So this makes it difficult to know whether the memory supplements are effective or not and if they are safe to take.

The FDA has issued warning letters to companies and manufacturers selling more than 50 unapproved supplements as dietary supplements illegally and claiming it to prevent certain diseases and health conditions. 

Despite the lack of proof and evidence, many people believe that specific vitamins and memory supplements help boost the brain and improve cognitive performance. A lot of supplements even help reduce dementia. 

Memory Supplements For Seniors Fad Or Do They Work

Memory Supplements That Help Improve Brain Health

Let us look at the list of supplements researched and viewed by researchers that support brain function.

Ginkgo Biloba

It is the most popular herb that is known to improve cognitive health. Many practitioners and cultures have been using Biloba leaves in herbal medicines for a long time. 

The ingredients and compounds present in ginkgo Biloba help in blood circulation and act as antioxidants. As per some studies, it helps prevent the risk of dementia in older adults. But it may not be helpful for people who already suffer from it. 

Its benefits include:

  • Improved brain function and memory power.
  • Ability to perform daily tasks in a better way.
  • Good social behavior.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s is a healthy fat that is essential for body function. You will find these in fatty or oily fish (salmon, mackerel), shellfish, and plant sources such as flaxseed and walnuts. The omega-3 acids contain DHA, which helps improve cognitive performance and heart health, but researchers are still looking for evidence on how it helps improve memory.

However, these fatty acids help your body in many ways. But it’s still best to have these nutrients in the form of food rather than supplements. It helps prevent heart-related issues, improve brain and eye health, and helps in fetal development. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and helps improve brain health and reduce stress. As per some evidence, it is believed that people who consume a diet rich in vitamin E have fewer chances of developing dementia. Though consuming high doses of vitamin E supplements are harmful. 

Memory Supplements For Seniors Fad Or Do They Work

B Vitamins

Usually, the 3 B vitamins( B6, B9, and B12) are related to brain health. These vitamins help produce the energy required to grow new brain cells. Older adults have high chance of B12 deficiency. In this case, having a B12 supplement is essential as it can help benefit overall health, including brain health. 

It is advisable to consult your physician before consuming any such supplement. This is because consuming high doses of these supplements can increase the risk of dementia and other such diseases. However, most of us consume B vitamins in our diet, which we may not even know.

Having A Combination Of These Nutrients

Many memory supplements include a mix of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Many diets such as the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and MIND diet help in cognitive function. 

Many of these diets include specific vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that benefit overall health. 

Risks Involved With Memory Supplements

These are some risks involved when people take any dietary supplements to improve brain health, especially when people are already taking any prescribed medications or have dementia or any other impairment problem.

Also, people who already take medicines for heart, diabetes, or even blood thinners that affect their immune system should avoid taking any supplements without consulting their physician.

Some memory supplements that we discussed above, such as ginkgo Biloba, can have a negative effect on someone who recently had some surgery. So it is always advisable to consult a doctor before taking any health supplements.

If you consider taking memory supplements, you need to follow these steps to stay safe.

  • Check For The Right Label. Before buying any supplement, always look if it has been approved by the U.S. pharma or NSF international. If it has been approved, it is well-tested, well-manufactured, and does not consist of any harmful ingredients.
  • Check For Any Interaction Between Supplements And Medications. As people grow old, they may be taking certain medications for their health conditions. So it is essential to consult with your doctor and check for any interaction with the medications and supplements.
  • Try Taking Supplements Correctly. There are certain supplements such as vitamin D that are fat-soluble. This means that it is better to take these supplements with food. So always check your physician and find the right way to consume such supplements.
Memory Supplements For Seniors Fad Or Do They Work

Other Ways To Improve Brain Health

Although there is no guarantee when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia or memory loss, specific lifestyle changes and activities can benefit. Let us look at some other ways that will help improve memory and overall health.

Physical Activity

Doing some physical activity such as exercise, yoga, or just a walk can help increase the blood flow in the body, including your brain. Doing some physical exercise daily helps keep your memory sharp.

Staying Mentally Active 

Doing physical activity helps you be fit and keeps your body in shape. Similarly, some memory-boosting activities help keep your brain in shape and help prevent any memory loss. You can solve crossword puzzles, drive on alternative roads, or even learn some musical instruments to improve your memory. You can even learn a new language and enhance your reasoning and memory skills, which will help slow down memory loss.

Stay Organized

If you keep things cluttered and keep your notes unorganized, you may forget things. Try to note down tasks, appointments, and any special event in a well-organized notebook or planner. If you list down things in your smartphone, you can list down items and check them off when completed.

Socialize

Socializing with friends and relatives regularly keeps you happy, especially if you stay alone. Socializing helps improve cognitive function as people grow old, and it helps prevent depression and stress which can lead to memory loss.

Have A Good Sleep

It is essential to have a good sleep every day, and it helps your brain function well and consolidates your brain. So it would help if you made a habit of having at least 8 hours of sleep a priority. 

Memory Supplements For Seniors Fad Or Do They Work

Follow A Healthy Diet

Following a healthy diet is good for your heart and brain. Make sure to regularly have fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. Try to include low-fat ingredients like fish, beans, cereals in your diet. Also, it is essential to drink in moderation as consuming too much alcohol can lead to memory loss. 

Manage Chronic Health Conditions

You should consult your doctor if you suffer from heart disease, blood pressure, depression, diabetes, or obesity and get medications and treatment. If not treated properly, it can further lead to cognitive decline and dementia. Various medicines affect your memory and brain. 

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Thinking About Taking Memory Supplements?

So the question is still there with no evidence as to why people still purchase health supplements? This is because people still have this idea that it is much easier to take a supplement or pill to have healthy lifestyle changes. 

Doing some aerobic exercises and following a healthy diet is way better as it helps improve memory and brain health in the long term than any other memory supplement. There are no magic supplements, but having healthy lifestyle choices can make a lot of difference and benefit your brain. 

Memory Supplements For Seniors Fad Or Do They Work

We hope this article was able to answer most of your questions around the utility, effectiveness and benefits of memory supplements. For answers to more doubts and queries, please drop us a comment and we will get back to you.

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