Whether you suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or you simply have memory problems, certain vitamins and fatty acids have been said to slow or prevent memory loss. The long list of potential solutions includes vitamins like vitamin B-12, herbal supplements such as ginkgo biloba, and omega-3 fatty acids. But can a tablet really boost your memory?
Much of the evidence for the popular “cures” isn’t very strong. Here, we discuss what recent clinical studies have to say about vitamins and memory loss.
scientists have long been researching the relationship between low levels of B-12 (cobalamin) and memory loss. According to a Mayo Clinic expert, having enough B-12 in your diet can improve memory. However, if you get an adequate amount of B-12, there is no evidence that higher intake has positive effects. Promising research does show that B-12 can slow cognitive decline in people with early Alzheimer’s when taken together with omega-3 fatty acids.
B-12 deficiency is most common in people with bowel or stomach issues, or strict vegetarians. The diabetes drug metformin has also been shown to lower B-12 levels.
You should be able to get enough B-12 naturally, as it’s found in foods such as fish and poultry. Fortified breakfast cereal is a good option for vegetarians.
there is some evidence to suggest that vitamin E can benefit the mind and memory in older people. A 2014 studyTrusted Source in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association found that high amounts of vitamin E can help people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Participants took doses of 2,000 international units (IU) a day. However, this amount is unsafe, according to Dr. Gad Marshall of Harvard Medical School. Taking more than 1,000 IU a day is especially risky for people with cardiovascular disease, especially for those on blood thinners. It also increases the risk of prostate cancer.
Regardless of your age or condition, you should be able to get enough vitamin E from your food. Ask your doctor if you’re interested in additional amounts. Vitamin E deficiency is rare, although it may occur in people on low-fat diets.
The vitamin is found in:
nutsseedsdark-colored fruits, such as blueberries, avocados, and blackberriesvegetables, such as spinach and bell peppers
Lifestyle choices that harm memory
You can begin to take care of your brain by simply being more mindful of foods and habits that have been shown to damage it. Fried food has been linked to cardiovascular system damageTrusted Source, which affects the efficiency of the brain. Fried food also leads to high cholesterol levels, and research has connected dementia to high cholesterol.
Many Alzheimer’s risk factors, such as obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, are in your control. Even changing one of these risk factors has been shown toTrusted Source delay the onset of dementia.