Brain supplements are treatments that are intended to improve memory and/or prevent people from developing dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. While there are prescription drugs available, they tend to be expensive. Worse, their effects are only temporary, and they stop working altogether after a certain time.
What is Gingko Biloba?
Gingko biloba is a brain supplement made from the leaves of the tree of the same name. It has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia. People in the US take it to sharpen cognition and improve memory.
Studies have shown that gingko can act as an antioxidant and improve blood flow to the brain. It is especially effective at improving blood flow in the smaller vessels. It can, therefore, be successfully used to treat health problems caused by disorders of the circulatory system like atherosclerosis. In fact, it is often used to treat such disorders in Europe. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is not caused by such problems, so gingko can’t prevent it. There is some evidence that it can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, but researchers need to study this further. Some studies have also found that gingko can ease pain caused by blood clots in the legs.
Other Brain Supplements
Asian or Panax ginseng is an herb that is sometimes used in conjunction with gingko. It can help ease fatigue and improve energy. Studies regarding its effects as a memory booster have been ambiguous. The positive results have so far shown up in only one group of study participants. More research needs to be done to determine its effectiveness in improving memory.
Omega-3 fatty acid is believed to prevent Alzheimer’s. It can be taken as a supplement, often fish oil, or it can be found in foods like English walnuts or cold-water fish such as salmon. While some studies have indicated that a diet with lots of omega-3 reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, more research needs to be done.
Bacopa is an herb that has been used in Ayurvedic or traditional Indian medicine for millennia. Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid, and some studies indicate that it can improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients. It seems to be particularly helpful for people who have early-onset Alzheimer’s and/or have rapidly progressing symptoms. While Vitamin E can’t prevent Alzheimer’s, it might slow the disease’s development.
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