12 of the Best Supplements to Improve Brain Function
Everyone wants optimal brain function both now and as they age, and nutrition plays a larger role than many people think. Eating a healthy diet is key in overall wellness, but individuals today typically do not get enough of the nutrients they need solely through their diets. Taking high-quality nutritional supplements can help make up the difference and optimize health.
Not all supplements are created equally, so choosing supplements that have high-quality ingredients is important. The best supplements are formulated to contain the finest raw materials in forms that are well absorbed and assimilated into the body, and are 100% natural and hypoallergenic.
Brain function is important, and investing in high-quality supplements can help keep yours working at its best. The following guide explains some of the top supplements that benefit brain function – and as a bonus, eyesight, as well!
12 Supplements for Optimal Brain Function
Taking supplements is one of the easiest ways to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need for optimal brain function. High-quality supplements are important to support memory, vitality and overall health.
(Please note: It is best to consult a physician or nutritionist before beginning any supplement routines.)
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their ability to address brain inflammation and are abundant in salmon, mackerel, herring, caviar and oysters, as well as chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. They're important to consume because they have been linked to slowed aging of the brain, boosted memory, improved cognition and mental health, and preventing Alzheimer’s, among other positive brain functions.
Acetyl-L-carnitine/L-Carnitine occurs naturally in animal products like meat, fish, poultry and milk, and is known to benefit those who struggle with traumatic brain injuries, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Many studies have shown that people with cognitive impairments have experienced improved mental health and memory when supplementing with carnitine.
3. Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane is a mushroom that studies have shown may be helpful in promoting brain cell growth, memory retention, fighting degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, and minimizing cognitive impairment with age. The two compounds responsible for these brain health benefits are erinacines and hericenones, which may also improve nerve growth and help alleviate mood disorders like depression.
Creatine occurs naturally in meat, seafood and dairy products, and is known to increase energy levels. Research suggests it is also effective at improving brain functions like short-term memory and reasoning in healthy individuals, both of which are important as we age.
5. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, and several studies suggest it can help with memory problems for those who struggle with Alzheimer's and dementia. Ginkgo biloba is best taken in standardized supplement form for optimal benefits
Lutein is a beneficial antioxidant for eye health and is also linked to cognitive health, including maintaining long-term brain health and fighting Alzheimer's disease. It can be found naturally in kale, broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens.
Resveratrol is known for lowering risk of dementia and helping the body adapt to physical, environmental and chemical stresses. It occurs naturally in grape juice, peanuts, cocoa, blueberries and cranberries.
8. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is a flowering plant that has been used in medicine throughout Europe, Russia and Asia for centuries. Some research suggests it helps relieve mental fatigue and can alleviate symptoms of depression.
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that protects brain cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which can cause aging, tissue damage, and some diseases. Free radicals are produced from stressors like exposure to ultraviolet radiation or tobacco smoke. Reducing free radicals keeps your body – including your brain – working at its best. Vitamin E occurs naturally in leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, and is also important for eye and reproductive health, as well as blood chemistry.
Your brain requires a layer to protect it and ensure essential messages are properly sent throughout it. That layer is composed of a substance called phosphatidylserine, which some people take as a supplement to help improve memory, concentration and recall, as well as help prevent mental decline. It is also found naturally in organ meats (i.e., liver and kidney), white beans and soybeans, among other food sources
Stress can have huge impacts on body functions, including the brain. Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 can help relieve oxidative stress, an issue that can result in inflammation and declines in brain health. Prolonged oxidative stress can cause issues with memory and cognitive impairment, for example, but regularly taking a CoQ10 supplement may minimize the negative impacts. You can also see positive benefits by eating more CoQ10-rich foods, such as salmon, peanuts, broccoli and chicken.
Turmeric has well-known health properties that benefit the entire body. It has anti-inflammatory characteristics that help relieve chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cognitive issues, memory problems, focus or concentration issues and declines in neuroplasticity, as well chronic disease. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to relieve migraines and depression, mental fatigue, and even help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is a root that is often ground into a powder for culinary use, and can be added to smoothies, teas and more. Maintaining and boosting healthy brain function involves both physical and mental exercise. Keep your mind active through brain teasers like puzzles and crosswords, and be mindful of personal nutrition. It’s important to eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, but also consider taking supplements to ensure that any nutritional gaps are met. Consulting with a nutritionist or other health care professional can provide you with a personalized supplement plan to help keep your brain healthy.
Call our specialists for help with your health regimen!
If you’re ready to take your brain function to the next level, our Village Green Apothecary nutrition advisors are always ready to assist you in optimizing your health and wellness. Contact us to set up an in-person, virtual or phone-based private health consultation appointment today.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.