I often see patients whose brain power is not what it used to be. It’s a common tale with mental illness–it can slow down and blur your thoughts. It’s also a common tale with aging, so brain health should be a topic on everyone’s minds.
There are supplements you can take which may help a bit with memory and cognition: fish oil, some B vitamins, curcumin, acetyl-L-carnitine, huperzine A, vinpocetine, and cocoa flavanols. Don’t go to them looking for a miracle, but you might see a slight boost.
For older people, some forms of choline may help enhance short-term memory and attention, while iron could improve learning and memory in girls with iron deficiency.
Be wary of other supplements boasting brain boosting power. Green tea, Gingko bilboa, and vitamin E have not been shown to be effective.
Beyond pills, there are plenty of things you can do for your brain. Psychology Today has a great article on that topic with links to relevant research. In summary, here’s their list:
- Physical Activity
- Openness to Experience
- Curiosity and Creativity
- Social Connections
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Brain-Training Games
- Get Enough Sleep
- Reduce Chronic Stress
Go here to read more about each of those suggestions.
A well-functioning brain is critical to good quality of life. Let’s all see what we can do to take better care of our minds!
Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.