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. According to their latest report, brain supplements are not a way to improve or maintain brain function – at least for most people.
Brain Supplements: Huge job
In the United States, about one in four adults over the age of 50 regularly uses nutritional supplements for the brain, hoping to preserve their cognitive abilities for 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 have not found scientifically sufficient evidence to justify the recommendation for such resources. Only a small study suggested that the intake of 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 cautious with 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. If there is a disadvantage that is not unusual in more than 50 years, B12 supplements can help brain health, experts say. 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), aarp.org
- Report: GCBH Recommendations for Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrition Supplements, June 2019 (Call: 30 June 2019), In the report