The Top 10 Supplements for Brain Health
The human brain is a powerful organ, responsible for all our thoughts, actions, emotions, and bodily functions. Therefore, maintaining good brain health is crucial for overall well-being. While a balanced diet and regular exercise play significant roles in ensuring proper brain function, certain dietary supplements can also help optimize your brain health. This listicle rounds up the top 10 supplements you might consider incorporating into your lifestyle to support cognitive function.
Best Supplements for Brain Health
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats essential for various bodily functions, including brain health. DHA, a type of Omega-3, contributes to the structure of the brain and retina of the eye. On the other hand, EPA has anti-inflammatory effects that can protect the brain against damage and aging. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to slow cognitive decline and improve memory and processing speed. They also play a crucial role in mood regulation, potentially helping to prevent mood disorders like depression.
Best Food Sources: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Recommended Supplement: Look for supplements that provide both EPA and DHA, and aim for a daily intake of 250-500 mg. Oceanblue Omega-3 is a good option here. For vegans and vegetarians, algal oil is an excellent alternative.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that covers and protects brain cells and carries messages between them. Studies suggest that supplementing with phosphatidylserine could sharpen memory, increase mental flexibility, enhance learning and concentration, and protect against stress and age-related mental decline. Some studies even indicate its potential for Alzheimer's treatment.
Best Food Sources: Organ meats, white beans, egg yolks, soy lecithin, and chicken liver.
Recommended Supplement: 100 mg of Phosphatidylserine taken three times a day has been found beneficial. Example: SOLARAYs Phosphatidylserine Plus.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid naturally produced in the body, used to produce energy. It also promotes the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter vital for brain function relating to learning and memory. Evidence suggests that it could slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, relieve depression, and improve cognitive function and memory.
Best Food Sources: Red meat, especially beef and lamb, are rich in Acetyl-L-Carnitine, with smaller amounts found in fish, chicken, and dairy products.
Recommended Supplement: 500-2,000 mg per day, taken with meals. Example: Bucked Up Acetyl L-Carnitine.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba, one of the oldest tree species globally, has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Its leaves are full of antioxidants that combat harmful free radicals in the body. Studies show that it can increase blood flow to various parts of the body, including the brain, improving memory, cognitive speed, and attention in healthy and cognitively impaired individuals.
Best Food Sources: The leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree are used to make tea, extracts, and tablets.
Recommended Supplement: Dosage may vary, but generally, 120-500 mg per day, divided into several doses, is used for cognitive impairment. Bronsons bestseller Ginko Biloba 500mg is the best one here. Learn more about Ginko Biloba in this detailed article, The Incredible Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba.
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric, giving it its yellow color and associated health benefits. It's known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and has shown potential in protecting against Alzheimer's disease, depression, and age-related cognitive decline. It boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a type of growth hormone that promotes brain cell growth.
Best Food Sources: Turmeric, a common spice, is the primary food source of curcumin.
Recommended Supplement: Look for supplements with "enhanced absorption" such as those containing piperine, as curcumin is not easily absorbed. The general dosage is 500-2,250 mg per day. NatureWise Curcumin Turmeric 2250mg is a good choice.
You can learn more about the benefits of Curcumin in this article.
6. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri is a staple plant in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It's considered an adaptogen, which means it helps your body adapt to stress. Studies have found that it takes a while for Bacopa Monnieri to work, but it significantly improves memory, speed of visual information processing, and even reduces anxiety and depression.
Best Food Sources: Bacopa Monnieri is not typically consumed in the diet; it's more commonly consumed as a tea or extract.
Recommended Supplement: 300- 750g mg daily of Bacopa extract (standardized to 55% bacosides) appears to be optimal. Himalaya Organic Bacopa is the bestseller here.
Resveratrol is a natural compound found in red grape skin, peanuts, berries, and the Japanese knotweed plant. Animal studies suggest that it can improve brain function, memory, and brain connectivity in older adults. While promising, more research on humans is required to fully understand its effects.
Best Food Sources: Red grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and dark chocolate.
Recommended Supplement: The optimal dosage for resveratrol has not been established, but 200-1500 mg per day is typically used in research. PURELY beneficial RESVERATROL is the overall bestseller.
8. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen, helping the body effectively manage stress. Some research indicates that it can enhance cognitive function, improve mood, and increase the capacity for mental work under stressful conditions. It seems particularly effective at reducing mental fatigue and increasing feelings of well-being.
Best Food Sources: Rhodiola Rosea is not typically consumed in the diet; it's generally used as a root extract.
Recommended Supplement: Dosages vary based on the rosavin content, but generally, 300-600 mg per day of Rhodiola extract (standardized to 1% rosavin) is common.
Example: Bronson Rhodiola Rosea is a good choice.
Creatine is a substance that's found naturally in muscle cells. While commonly known for its muscle-boosting benefits, it also supports brain health. Your brain needs a significant amount of ATP (energy), and creatine can help with this process. Studies show that it can improve short-term memory and reasoning skills.
Best Food Sources: Meat, fish, and eggs. It's hard to get high amounts of creatine from diet alone.
Recommended Supplement: Look for micronized creatine monohydrate. A common protocol is a "loading phase" of around 20 g per day for 5-7 days, followed by a "maintenance phase" of 3-5 g per day. Cellucor Cor-Performance Creatine Monohydrate is a marked bestseller.
10. B Vitamins
B vitamins are vital for a fully functioning brain — they help slow brain atrophy, protect against neurodegenerative disease, and improve memory and cognition. B6, B9, and B12, in particular, have been shown to regulate homocysteine. High homocysteine levels can lead to brain atrophy, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's. B12 deficiency can lead to memory impairment, so supplementation can be especially beneficial for older individuals.
Best Food Sources: For B6, foods like chickpeas, tuna, and salmon. For B9, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and citrus fruits. For B12, fish, meat, eggs, milk, and fortified cereals.
Recommended Supplement: A high-quality B-complex supplement should contain all the B-vitamins. The recommended daily intake is 1.3 mg for B6, 400 mcg for B9, and 2.4 mcg for B12, but this may vary based on individual needs. Garden of Life Raw B Complex is a good choice here.
Summary: Remember, although these supplements can support brain health, they are not a magic bullet. A holistic lifestyle, incorporating a balanced diet, regular exercise, good sleep, and mental stimulation, will deliver the best results for optimal brain health. Always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen.
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