Memory Supplements: Which Ones Actually Work?
Whether you’re a busy student, an older adult, or just someone who can never remember where they parked their car, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to boost your memory.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to sharpen your memory, one of which is taking memory supplements. But with so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which ones are the real deal and which are just a bunch of hooey. That’s where we come in!
In this article, we’ll share the best memory supplements and their research-backed benefits. When you’re done reading, you’ll be armed with the knowledge needed to choose the right memory supplements for you.
What are Memory Supplements?
Memory supplements, also known as cognitive enhancers or nootropics, are a type of dietary supplement that improve cognitive function, specifically memory.
Neurons are nerve cells that send electrochemical signals to each other. As a person processes an event, neurons in the brain pass information through synapses (tiny gaps between neurons). This causes surrounding neurons to start firing, creating a network of connections that form a memory.
Some memory supplements help keep neurons healthy, while others provide neurons with the nutrients and compounds needed to create memories.
It’s important to note that while these supplements are commonly referred to as “memory supplements,” they aren’t magic pills that will immediately improve your memory. Using them regularly is the key to seeing the potential benefits.
The Top Memory Supplements
There are a wide variety of supplements that are touted as “memory boosting,” however, they’re not all created equal. Let’s take a look at the most effective memory supplements available.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid known to support a wide range of bodily functions, including cognitive health. The two main types of omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids can be found in fish oil supplements and flaxseed oil.
One way omega-3 fatty acids offer memory support is by promoting the health of the brain’s cell membranes. The brain is made up of billions of cells, and the integrity of these cell membranes is crucial for optimal brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain the structural integrity of the cell membranes, which allows for better communication between cells and improved cognitive function.[*]
Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation has been linked to cognitive decline.[*] By reducing inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids may help to protect the brain against age-related decline.
Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including those related to the brain.
Magnesium is found in a variety of foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, almost 50 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t consume enough magnesium through diet alone.[*]
This mineral plays an important role in the function of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. It helps to regulate the release of neurotransmitters, such as glutamate and GABA, which are involved in memory and learning processes.[*]
One type of magnesium in particular—magnesium l-theronate—is making waves in the wellness world for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (the brain’s protective filter) and support neuroplasticity.[*] Also known as brain plasticity, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change, and is fundamental for memory and learning.
Lion’s mane mushroom is an edible mushroom that’s been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to improve cognitive function and overall health.
This mushroom contains compounds, including hericystin and erinacine, which have been shown to positively affect cognitive function, specifically memory.[*] These compounds are believed to work by promoting the growth and repair of nerve cells in the brain. This may help to improve the communication between nerve cells and, consequently, improve cognitive function.
Lion’s mane mushroom is also a rich source of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants, which can help to protect the brain against age-related decline and damage caused by free radicals.[*]
MCTs, also known as medium-chain triglycerides, are a type of saturated fat found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil.
MCTs have been found to positively affect memory by promoting the production of ketones—an alternative energy source for the brain that’s produced when glucose levels are low.[*]
Studies have found that MCTs can improve cognitive function, particularly memory and focus, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and may also be beneficial for people with other cognitive impairments.[*]
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against damage caused by free radicals. Some research shows that a high intake of vitamin E through diet and supplements reduces a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and associated memory loss.[*]
Additionally, vitamin E has been found to have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, which impacts brain health by preventing the formation of blood clots, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy blood flow.
Choline is a nutrient that’s been found to have a positive effect on memory by supporting the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.[*] Acetylcholine is involved in creating new memories and is also important for attention, learning, and decision making.[*]
Additionally, research shows that choline supports the formation of the phospholipid membrane that surrounds the cells of the brain, which is important for maintaining the proper brain function.[*]
How to Take These Brain Health Supplements
All of the above nutrients are available as individual supplements, making it easy to boost your intake.
Another option is to find a high-quality supplement or food product, such as IQBAR, that contains many of these nutrients. IQBAR is a vegan and keto protein bar formulated around key brain nutrients, including omega-3s, MCTs, lion’s mane, vitamin E, choline, and flavonoids.
Choose from flavors like Banana Nut, Almond Butter Chip, Chocolate Sea Salt, Lemon Blueberry, and Matcha Chai.
And don’t forget IQMIX! Available in delicious flavors, including Peach Mango, Lemon Lime, Blueberry Pomegranate, and Blood Orange, IQMIX is a sugar-free hydration mix formulated around four nutrients shown to improve hydration, cognitive performance, and mood. Each packet contains Magtein® (magnesium l-threonate), lion’s mane, sodium, and potassium.Supporting your memory and boosting your mental clarity just got a whole lot easier (and tastier!)