The benefits of vitamin supplements are incredibly far-reaching. They can help aid bodily functions such as digestion, metabolism, and immuno-response. Researchers continue to support the belief that vitamin supplements play a large role in longevity. When combined with a proper diet, adequate sleep patterns, and daily exercise, a noticeable impact on life quality can also be achieved with vitamin supplements.
So what about memory? Can these tablets really boost cognitive function? Well, yes and no. One of the most common symptoms of aging is memory loss. As of 2020, roughly an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s dementia. If scientists were able to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s with the use of vitamin supplements, over 200 thousand fewer seniors would be diagnosed per year. So, in that respect, vitamin supplements act as a preventive measure.
Five Supplements that Boost Memory
Researchers have studied the correlation between B-12 and B complex vitamins and cognitive function for a long while. They have found that having a B-12 deficiency could lead to troubles with memory in the future. According to the Mayo Clinic, having an adequate amount of B-12 can lead to improved memory. Still, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that higher intake leads to more benefits. However, there is evidence that regular B-12 consumption can slow the cognitive decline of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when combined with omega-3 fatty acids.
B-12 deficiency is most common in those with bowel or stomach issues, strict vegans, and diabetics. Getting enough B-12 should come naturally. Certain foods such as fish and poultry contain high levels of vitamin B-12. Dairy products and certain vegetables such as mushrooms also offer high levels of B-12.
If you do not eat foods rich in B12, you can supplement your diet with vitamin B12 in a jar and get the same benefits.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another supplement that has been shown to slow cognitive decline. Like vitamin B-12, this vitamin has proven to be more effective in older people since they are more at risk for memory loss. According to a 2014 study done by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMMA), “Among patients with mild to moderate [Alzheimer’s], 2000 IU/d of alpha-tocopherol [the vitamin E supplement] compared with placebo resulted in slower functional decline.”
Vitamin E deficiency is rare, but it does occur. It is most apparent in those whose diets lack fat. Good sources of vitamin E include foods such as:
- dark-colored fruits, such as blueberries, avocados, and blackberries
- vegetables, such as spinach and bell peppers
Whether you get your daily dose of vitamin E from your diet or a jar of supplements, make sure you do!
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for efficient brain function as well as for keeping our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. We obtain Vitamin D mainly through the sun’s rays. The vitamin isn’t found in many foods, but it is abundant in certain fatty fish such as trout, salmon, and tuna. Vitamin D supplements are great for everyone, but especially for those who spend a lot of their time working from inside. Being deficient in vitamin D can have negative effects such as raised anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue.
If you cannot get outside to obtain your daily dose of vitamin D, supplements are available.
4. Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are extracted directly from fatty fish like sardines and salmon. Fish oil can play a vital role in optimizing brain function. That’s because fish oil contains the same fatty acids found in the cell membranes of human brain cells. Preserving healthy brain cell membranes can have a massive impact on how our brain develops as we age. Not only is fish oil excellent for the mind but it is also great for muscle recovery as it decreases muscular pain and shortens recovery time after a workout.
Fish oil containing important omega-3 fatty acids is also available in supplement form if fish will never make it into your diet.
5. NAD+ Treatment
Yes, we know that NAD+ is not a vitamin, but its potential to optimize brain function is worth noting. NAD+ is a compound that is produced naturally in the body but as we age, our NAD+ levels decrease. The rate at which our NAD+ levels decrease is directly related to increasing biological age. So as we age, we lose NAD+ and we lose energy, our skin ages, and we experience some form of memory loss or mental fatigue. NAD+ supplements are available at certain vitamin shops, but one of the most effective methods is NAD+ treatment through an IV.
If IVs are not your thing, NAD+ is also available in supplement form. You have no excuse to avoid it!
Conclusions to Boost Your Brain
Though these nutrients are not the “end all and be all” for cognitive decline, having a consistent intake of the vitamin could slow symptoms, especially for seniors and those already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other mental diseases. The easiest way we can prevent the onset of these illnesses is to take care of our bodies. Good sleep patterns, a good diet including vitamins, and daily exercise are things we can do daily to increase our quality of life and longevity.
If you are not keen on introducing supplements to your diet, try incorporating foods that contain specific vitamins instead. That is my preferred way to achieve a healthy diet. I do so by concocting a variety of smoothies that contain healthy, fresh vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables. Make the choice based on your lifestyle, but be sure to incorporate the vitamins into your diet.