Vitamins to boost memory are big sellers today, and for good reason. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, one in 9 Americans aged 45 and older say they are experiencing memory loss.1
The good news is that having occasional or even frequent memory lapses does not necessarily lead to dementia. Rather, such lapses can be caused by nutritional deficiencies that can be addressed with brain-boosting vitamins.
Best Brain Supplements for Adults
Here are 4 vitamins proven to boost memory as you age.
Folate as a Best Brain Supplements for Adults
Folate or folic acid is a water-soluble B-vitamin. Folate (Vitamin-B-9) is crucial for proper brain function. Though commonly thought of as an important prenatal vitamin to reduce the risk of defects in the brain and spine, folic acid is important for proper functioning of the nervous system for all ages.2 In fact, numerous studies show a correlation between folate deficiency and mental symptoms, such as depression, cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s disease.3 , 4
Folate is present in a wide variety of foods, especially dark green leafy vegetables. Nuts, seafood, eggs, and liver, and dairy products also contain impressive amounts of folate. You can also get folate by taking folic acid supplements.
However, it can be difficult to get enough folate through diet, as food processing and cooking destroy most of the folate activity. Plus, many people lack the enzyme necessary to absorb folate. To get enough folate, you’ll need to find a vitamin supplement that contains the most absorbable form of folate on the market.
Best Brain Supplements For Adults & Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids shown to be crucial for brain health. The two types of Omega-3 fatty acids most closely associated with memory are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that taking 900 mg of DHA for 6 months may improve memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Another study in Neurology showed a correlation between low DHA levels and memory impairment in otherwise healthy adults without dementia. Further, low levels of DHA and all other omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA, have been linked to memory deficits. 5 , 6
The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring. You can also get omega-3 fatty acids by taking fish oil supplements.
Citicoline (CDP choline) is present in every cell in your body and is especially vital to brain health. You may have heard of the brain-boosting power of it’s dietary precursor choline. (That’s the reason eggs are considered a good “brain food.”) It’s probably not surprising, then, that citicoline’s main job is to boost levels of choline in the brain.
And having enough choline in your system is crucial for your brain. Among other benefits, choline is essential for the creation and release of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. (Acetylcholine is involved in memory storage.) Choline has been found to be so important for brain health that it is being considered for therapeutic use in traumatic brain injury!7
Foods highest in citicoline include liver, brain and other animal organs. Unfortunately, few people eat these foods regularly. To ensure you get enough citicoline, you’ll want to take a high quality vitamin supplement that contains Cognizin®. Studies show that Cognizin® may boost brain energy by a whopping 13.6%! This, of course, should improve memory. 8
L-carnitine and acetyl-l-carnitine are forms of carnitine known to improve brain health. Carnitine is an amino acid found in almost every cell of the body. Carnitine is the ONLY molecule in cells that can move fatty acids into the mitochondria to be used for energy. The supply of fatty acids L-carnitine brings to your brain cells may help improve your memory.
In addition, acetyl-L-carnitine mimics the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. As mentioned earlier, acetylcholine is crucial for memory and brain health! That’s because acetylcholine modulates the firing rate of neurons, which affect memory and learning. It also helps your brain stay mentally flexible. 9 , 10
The best sources of carnitine are animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. 11
Improve your Memory Today!
Taking these 4 vitamins, or getting them through your diet, can help support a sharp mind and memory for many years to come!
3- Reynolds EH. Benefits and risks of folic acid to the nervous system. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2002;72:567–571. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1737896/pdf/v072p00567.pdf
4- Clarke R, Smith AD, Jobst KA, Refsum H, Sutton L, Ueland PM. Folate, vitamin B12, and serum total homocysteine levels in confirmed Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol. 1998 Nov;55(11):1449-55. doi: 10.1001/archneur.55.11.1449. PMID: 9823829. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9823829/
5- Yurko-Mauro K, McCarthy, D, Rom D, Nelson EB, Ryan AS, Blackwell A, Salem, N,., Stedman M. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s and Dementia, 2010; 6 (6): 456 DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.013 https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.013
6- Tan, Z.Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fact Sheet. Neurology. American Academy of Neurology.WebMD Medical Reference. February 28, 2012. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/omega-3-fatty-acids-help-brain-age-better/
7- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutrition, Trauma, and the Brain; Erdman J, Oria M, Pillsbury L, editors. Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Subacute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011. 9, Choline. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209327/
8- Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, Jensen JE, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DA. Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008 Nov;21(10):1066-75. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1281. PMID: 18816480. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18816480/
9- Duke University Module. Content Background: Acetylcholine Neurotransmission in the Nervous System. Accessed online October 19, 2020. https://sites.duke.edu/thepepproject/module-4-military-pharmacology-it-takes-nerves/content-background-acetylcholine-neurotransmission-in-the-nervous-system/
10- Rasmusson DD. The role of acetylcholine in cortical synaptic plasticity. Behav Brain Res. 2000 Nov;115(2):205-18. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(00)00259-x. PMID: 11000421. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11000421/
11- National Institutes of Health. Carnitine Fact Sheet. Updated: October 10, 2017. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional