Can Supplements Improve Your Memory?

May 15, 2023

Healthy YOU | Memory Care
Women helping with supplements

Around a quarter of U.S. adults over 50 take a supplement to improve their brain health. But can supplements strengthen your memory, focus and attention span? Researchers from Harvard say there’s no actual proof that these supplements do any good.

Brain-boosting supplements

“Most supplements that claim to improve your brain health include different combinations of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin B,” explains Tina Thomas, DHA, MSHP, CDP, CADDCT, Executive Director of The Martha W. Goodson Center. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, nuts and seeds.


Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B and E are abundant in various healthy meal plans, including the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Research shows these same diet plans help to improve brain function. So, it seems logical that taking supplements with these substances would also improve brain health, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.


Research continues, but scientists believe that only eating these vitamins and minerals in combination with a healthy diet plan will positively affect brain health. “As of now, no major research study has proven the link between taking supplements and improved brain health,” says Thomas.


What you can do to improve your brain health

Science hasn’t yet proven how supplements can boost your brain health. So, it’s better to rely on other ways to improve your cognitive function. Here are some research-backed ways that may improve your brain function and protect your memory for years to come:

  • Eat more fish, leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds
  • Exercise regularly – aim to get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week
  • Keep your brain active by completing complex puzzles and reading
  • Get enough sleep each night – aim for at least seven hours
  • Socialize regularly – either in-person or over video chat


Make an appointment

Take steps now to help your brain and memory stay in tip-top shape for years to come. Schedule an appointment with a Riverside Health System provider to make sure you’re doing all you can to stay healthy as you age.

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