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Food supplements for the brain are mostly useless – there is one exception!

Experts warn: Brain supplements are a waste of money

The neurologist consortium and diet specialists recently released a report that uses nutritional supplements to preserve or improve memory. Deadly Verdict: The products do not generally apply to the plastic they are in.

Non-profit organization The Global Brain Health Council (GCBH) brings together renowned researchers and doctors to independently inform people of how to improve their brain health. However, according to their latest report, brain supplements are not a way to improve or maintain brain function for most people.

The Brain Association recently reported in a detailed report that taking the brain supplements is mostly ineffective. (Image: freshidea /

Bracket Supplements: Great job

In the United States, about one in four adults over the age of 50 used brain supplements regularly in hopes of preserving their cognitive abilities as long as possible. And in Germany, such products enjoy great popularity. Trade additions have long since become a billion dollar business – with an upward trend.

The same mass creates credibility

Nutritional supplements are not medicines and therefore do not require extensive examinations and studies. It is much easier for manufacturers to place such products on the market, even without evidence of effectiveness. "The market is now so great that dietary supplements can be without any efficacy documentation," says neurologist Ronald Petersen, Director of Alzheimer's Disease Center Research Center in Mayo.

No evidence of effectiveness

Researchers have analyzed recent studies on nutritional supplements supposedly stimulating knowledge. All common ingredients, from fish oil to apoaequorine derived from jellyfish, were tested. Experts did not find enough scientific evidence to justify the recommendation of such funds. Only a small study suggests that taking omega-3 fatty acids can favor those who already have mild cognitive impairment. However, the protective function could not prove it.

Accessories may be harmful to some people

In addition, researchers point out that in some people even negative effects may be a consequence of dietary supplements. For example, people who take blood thinners, heart medicines, steroids, and medicines that affect the immune system should generally be wary of taking dietary supplements. Since the supplements are also metabolised by the kidneys and the liver. This could affect the effectiveness of other drugs, an expert said. It was found, for example, that a sudden increase in vitamin K intake resulted in a reduced effect of Coumadin blood thinner.

Acidic acid is an important exception

An important exception is vitamin B12 or B9, also known as folic acid. If there is a lack of folic acid, which is not unusual for more than 50 years, B12 supplements may be useful for brain health, experts say. Folic acid deficiency can affect cognitive function and is associated with dementia development. With a blood test, such a disadvantage can be detected and corrected by plugs or syringes.

"Better spend your money on meaningful things"

"Nutritional supplements for brain health seem to be a huge waste of money," says Sarah Lenz Lock, Executive Director of GCBH. He advises to put money on a healthy diet, which has been shown to bring more positive effects on brain health. For example, some studies have shown that regular consumption of seafood is associated with a low risk of cognitive impairment. This effect could not be achieved by taking omega-3 supplements.

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Graduated Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Global Brain Health Council (GCBH): New Brain Health Supplement Report (downloaded: 30.06.2019),
  • Report: GCBH Recommendations for Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrition Supplements, June 2019 (Call: 30 June 2019), In the report

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