The 2021 AARP Research poll indicates that almost a quarter of all Americans over the age of 50 are regularly taking dietary supplements for brain health; this is up from just a third in the last decade. Among elderly adults, in particular, taking dietary supplements for brain health has increased dramatically, with more than 20% reporting having taken such supplements in the past year alone.
Even younger people are taking such supplements. For example, a full quarter (nearly one in four) of high school students reported taking brain supplements at some point during the previous academic year fitness supplement. The results of this survey indicate that many younger people are using brain supplements to cope with symptoms of ADD & ADHD or aging.
Brain health may also be improved through the use of herbs and other botanicals. Herbal supplements, especially those rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, are increasingly popular for use in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The herb Ginkgo Biloba is used for dementia and Alzheimer’s, and research has indicated that it may also be beneficial for improving mood and memory in patients diagnosed with both disorders.
Similarly, the herb Artichoke was widely used by native peoples as a sleep aid before our modern medicine arrived on the scene. The herb St. John’s Wort is recognized for treating depression and sleep problems, and the herb Passion Flower (Citation Curcumin) is used to treat mood swings associated with inflammatory diseases.
Some of the most promising supplements for cognitive function are currently marketed as dietary supplements for brain nutrition. Some of these products are currently being marketed as mood enhancers, with the claims often being that they can cure clinical depression. Others have been marketed as food additives, with claims that they can enhance brain function and concentration.
Others are marketed for their claim to increase the absorption of nutrients by the body through the gastrointestinal tract. Common additives in brain nutrient formulations include taurine and L-carnitine, which are naturally occurring substances found in meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and red meat. While some studies have suggested that these additives may have some benefit in boosting cognitive function, there is no current evidence that they are effective for this purpose.