Supplements to Improve Memory and Concentration

One way to nourish and stimulate the mind is through supplements. This combination of vitamins and minerals can act as a favorable resource for mental acuity. Are they useful?
Supplements to Improve Memory and Concentration

Last update: 27 July, 2022

The passing of the years can deteriorate brain health. Helping this organ to work properly depends on a healthy diet, tools such as meditation, brain stimulation exercises, and, perhaps, the consumption of supplements to improve memory and concentration.

The intake of these formulas is somewhat controversial, as more studies are needed to prove their overall effectiveness on brain health.

However, according to the Bayer® laboratory, some research indicates that some vitamins play a key role in helping the brain reach its full potential, maintain daily concentration, and gain energy.

What are supplements to improve memory and concentration?

Dietary supplements provide nutrients that aren’t consumed in sufficient quantities, as explained by the European Food Information Council. The same is true for memory and concentration formulas.

Whether as tablets, pills, liquids or capsules, these mixtures are intended to increase concentration while decreasing mental and physical exhaustion.

Supplements for concentration and memory are even called nootropics, defined as drugs that improve memory processes in people with cognitive impairment.

Salud Colectiva mentions that nootropics represent safe and accessible substances to improve mental performance.

What are their effects?

These supplements could be advantageous when maximum concentration is demanded. In both young and old people, supplementation could enhance memory and develop sharper attention.

Other benefits attributed are the following:

  • Minimizing brain inflammation.
  • Increasing oxygenation in the brain.
  • Intervening in times of stress and intense mental effort.
  • Providing micronutrients and minerals suitable for cerebral blood flow.
  • Regulating and improving the activity of neurotransmitters, such as adenosine, acetylcholine and glutamate.

Main supplements for memory and concentration

On the market, you’ll find these complexes in individual concentrates or in compounds, under names such as Centrum ®, omega 3, Supradyn ®, Pharmaton ® or Memorex ®, among others. These combinations are made up of several of the ingredients presented below.

A tired woman.
Certain personal, work and study moments demand greater concentration and sharper attention.

Ginkgo biloba

The extract of this plant is related to the development of cognitive function, hearing and vision. Studies cited by the Western New York Urological Association link it to less mild memory loss in the elderly.

Coenzyme Q10

This is one of the coenzymes that provides the most energy to the brain. The U.S. National Library of Medicine noted in an article that oral Q10 could be an antioxidant strategy against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Coenzyme Q10 deficiency is linked to memory loss and varying degrees of mental retardation.

Magnesium

Magnesium is associated with learning and short- and long-term memory, notes the Journal of Neurology. The publication adds that increasing the concentration of this element in the brain also increases the number of functional synapses and activates the main signaling molecules.

B complex vitamins

All the vitamins that make up the B complex are essential for the organism. They support the work of the nervous system and metabolism, influencing the ability to memorize and concentrate.

Hospital Nutrition points out that, together with other micronutrients and minerals, vitamin B has neuroprotective effects that are beneficial for intellectual performance. Similarly, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that long-term supplementation of vitamin B12 and folic acid promotes cognitive functioning.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It protects the brain from damage caused by free radicals.

Most multivitamin supplements contain vitamin C. Manufacturers typically list it as ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate and mineral ascorbates.

Vitamin E

One of the attributes of vitamin E is its protective effect on the nervous system. Although further research is needed, it’s believed that high doses of this vitamin delay the progression of Alzheimer’s in a mild to moderate diagnosis, as reported by the Mayo Clinic.

Under the criterion of diversifying studies, the NIH comments on the analysis of this micronutrient as a collaborator in maintaining lucidity and delaying the decline of mental functions.

Zinc

Among the many effects of zinc in our body, its role in the maintenance of normal cognitive function, in the intervention in neuronal communication, and in a probable participation in the fixation of memories stands out.

The Latin American Archives of Nutrition connect the supplementation of this micronutrient with the potential development of knowledge. On the other hand, the Cuban Journal of Public Health published the results of an evaluation in which the group that received zinc obtained a significant improvement in recognition memory, reasoning and psychomotor function.

Omega 3

Some studies emphasize the protective role of omega 3 fatty acids against mild cognitive impairment, dementia and the risk and progression of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. This is mentioned in a text in Hospital Nutrition.

Omega 3 has docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA), with several benefits for attention and memory, as described in the Revista de las Sociedades Canarias de Pediatría.

Choline

This nutrient is related to the prevention of memory loss. It’s an ally that helps the nervous system regulate this function and mood, according to the NIH.

Likewise, other research suggests that, in the perinatal stage, choline intake is vital in order to guarantee cognitive development and avoid neural tube defects. In older adults and the elderly, the intake of this supplement boosts performance in some cognitive processes and reduces the incidence of dementia.

Ginseng

Ginseng root is touted for its properties as a stimulant for cognitive performance, stress relief, and improvements in blood circulation.

A clinical trial reported in the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy notes that it contributes positively to aspects of mental health and social functioning. However, they claim that these differences are attenuated with continued use of the supplement.

Ginseng root.
Ginseng is used in commercial drugs and in its root form, to prepare natural infusions.

Contraindications of supplements to improve memory and concentration

The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements alludes to the low probability of harm to health by taking multivitamins and minerals. However, they clarify that if you consume other dietary components, make sure that you don’t exceed the maximum intake limits.

The use of supplements is restricted for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children, unless authorized by a physician. In general, the doses of these formulas have to be professionally prescribed.

Without medical supervision, the supplements could have possible adverse reactions, such as:

  • Irritability
  • Palpitations
  • Allergic reactions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Alterations in blood pressure

Other ways to boost memory and concentration

Most of the components of a memory and concentration supplement are present in foods. One way to help these brain functions is by adopting a diet for mental agility.

It’s also a good idea to be intellectually active. Many experts recommend exercising the mind with simple daily dynamics.

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