The market for cognitive health products is growing with consumers becoming more aware of the risks of dementia and other cognitive disorders. As they become aware of these risks, more manufacturers are developing products claiming to boost cognitive health. The problem is that while some memory pills can be effective and even safe, others can be unsafe, ineffective, or of low quality.
The supplement industry is a growing part of the overall health and wellness market with a market value of over US $30 billion in 2017. However, while there are many studies out there on the benefits of various supplements, we just don’t know for sure what is truly effective.
However, there is evidence to suggest that some natural treatments can be useful in improving your mental faculties, and in some cases, these remedies can actually help to reduce the symptoms of memory problems. In this article, we’ll take a look at what memory pills are, the side effects associated with them, and the evidence surrounding their benefits and risks. We’ll also look at how you can keep your mind fit and healthy through diet and lifestyle.
What Are Memory Pills?
“Memory pills” is a term used to describe products and dietary supplements that support memory and cognition. They are sometimes referred to as “smart drugs” or “nootropics.” These terms are used interchangeably to describe products that can provide cognitive enhancement.
The term “nootropic” was coined by the scientist R. J. Rushton in the 1950s, and refers to the Greek word “nootropikos,” which means “to increase brain power.” Nootropics, as memory pills are often called, are commonly used to improve concentration and memory in people who are working on projects, studying, or doing work that requires them to focus on a task for a long period of time.
Of course, the actual effects of these products can vary. Some products claim to boost memory, while others claim to enhance brain power and improve focus and concentration. Further, the science of nootropics is still in its infancy. Some supplements have been shown to have benefits, while others have not been shown to work.
How Do They Work?
Brain supplements can be divided into two categories based on whether they target specific parts of the brain or boost overall brain health and functioning. Some pills contain amino acids that the body produces and others provide vitamins or minerals. They may also contain herbs and other substances to help brain health and memory function.
Memory pills are a class of prescription drugs that improve cognitive functioning. They act by boosting certain chemicals in the brain that influence thinking and remembering, so they can help people with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As with many natural supplements, research on memory pills is still limited. However, there is some scientific evidence that suggests certain nutrients have the potential to enhance memory. Some memory pills contain herbs or vitamin B, like vitamin B1 (thiamine) or vitamin B6. They also may include other ingredients, like magnesium, ginkgo biloba, coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone), and bacopa monnieri.
The Best Memory Pills
The following are some of the supplements that one will find in a lot of memory pills available in the market that are said to help memory and brain function:
Ginkgo biloba is a traditional herbal supplement used by cultures around the world for centuries. The active ingredients in the plant are antioxidant and protect the brain from free-radical damage. Manufacturers sell a supplement called EGb 761.
As noted in a 2014 study and a 2019 study, there is good evidence that Gingko biloba extract can improve cognitive function and overall health in patients with dementia. However, more research is needed to better understand what the best forms of this extract are and how they may differ for various forms of dementia.
Flavonoids, Cocoa, and Caffeine
A report on brain health released in 2019 concluded that currently, there is not enough evidence to recommend taking cocoa, flavanols, or resveratrol for brain health. It’s important to note that all of these foods and nutrients do contain a certain amount of antioxidants that may benefit your brain.
According to the authors, most of the studies on CBD have been industry-funded and could, therefore, contain bias. Still, the evidence shows that the supplement is a promising treatment for depression and other neurological conditions.
Caffeine is one of the most popular substances consumed today. But, as we know from a number of other studies, there is no “healthy” amount. The question is, is it good for you?
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin and mineral supplementation can support the health and function of your brain by preventing deficiencies of B-vitamins, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Research is inconclusive but if you are taking a supplement, consider your needs based on what you’re taking.
A 2018 Cochrane review evaluated the cognitive effects of taking vitamin and mineral supplements for at least three months. They found that there is not enough evidence to suggest that they improve the memory, attention or problem-solving skills in older adults.
A review of research on vitamin supplementation in healthy adults found that most studies were not conclusive and that some supplements might have beneficial effects. Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E seemed to have positive results, and the evidence was strong enough to recommend further study.
There was no evidence of any benefit from taking additional vitamins, oils, or mixed dietary supplements. In fact, some trials showed that they may even be harmful.
The authors note that the evidence that a Mediterranean or Scandinavian diet may help prevent cognitive decline isn’t yet definitive. The study also suggests that some people may become deficient in vitamins as they age due to absorption and dental issues, which may affect their brain health.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to improve brain function.
Besides the general health benefits of consuming them, the fatty acids are believed to be critical for memory and cognitive function.
In 2019, a study found that omega-3 supplements improved the memory and attention of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fish and seafood, like salmon and tuna. Another omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), is found in some fish and seafood, like salmon and tuna.
DHA and EPA are found in fish and seafood, like salmon and tuna. The researchers noted that the omega-3 fatty acids were used to make up a small portion of the diet in the study.
A 2017 review of studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids found that they can improve the memory and cognitive function of older adults.
Risks of Taking Memory Pills
There is no shortage of information on the internet about dietary supplements and their potential benefits. Indeed, typing ‘memory pills for students’ in your search bar will give you a ton of information about a variety of so-called ‘memory pills’. However, there are also some safety issues to consider if you choose to use them. This is especially true if you’re taking prescription medications or have cognitive impairment or dementia.
However, caregivers or healthcare professionals did not supervise the participants’ supplementation intake, which could potentially have interactions with other medications they were taking.
There is no doubt that some herbs, like ginkgo biloba, garlic and ginseng, can have side effects that can increase the risks of surgery for someone with cancer or that can interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. However, some herbal products can actually help someone to prevent the effects of these treatments.
People should always be mindful of the foods and other ingredients they are consuming. With this in mind, the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not validate dietary supplements for safety and quality adds an additional level of risk to this practice.
People who want to improve brain function and memory, or those with cognitive impairment or dementia may benefit from taking nutritional supplements and the best memory pills. The evidence we have so far suggests that these supplements can be beneficial.
Indeed, some research shows beneficial effects of supplements such as Ginkgo biloba or omega-3 fatty acids, despite other researchers claiming it is still inconclusive.
Needless to say, people should maintain a healthy lifestyle by making sure they get adequate nutrition from their food, exercise, and rest. Also, they need to avoid nutrient deficiencies that can affect brain health and memory.