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Judi Dench Takes Memory Supplements–Should You?

Do memory-enhancers really work?

The one question on the tip of the tongue of anyone considering taking a mind-amplifying supplement is, predictably, also the one that is most difficult to answer.

Numerous studies have hinted at the potential brain-boosting benefits of each of the aforementioned ingredients. However, inconsistent research methods and conflicting results have merely served to confuse scientists and laymen alike.

Only a select few memory supplement ingredients appear to have a legitimately positive effect on people with age-related cognitive decline, according to Perlmutter. “Despite various media claims, very few of these components, with the exception of phosphatidylsterine and DHA, have a dramatic effect on memory,” he says.

He cites a 2010 investigation, called the MIDAS study, which indicated that a 900mg daily dose of DHA, given to healthy older adults (age 55 and older) could have a positive impact on memory function.

But what about people in their 80s and 90s, who are suffering from chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s?

Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University recently attempted to determine whether or not the promising effects of DHA in spry aging adults, could also benefit people in the mild or moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Unfortunately, DHA had no apparent effect on the seniors in the study, leading study authors to conclude, “There is no basis for recommending DHA supplementation for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” They did, however, admit that further research was necessary to explore whether or not people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s could derive some benefit from DHA.

Could you benefit form a memory-boosting supplement?

Cognitively healthy adults may derive some benefit from memory-enhancing supplements, as Dench claims she does, but there’s no one-size-fits all approach to brain preservation.

No one should start taking a supplement of any kind without first talking to their doctor.

Perlmutter does recommend supplements to some of his patients. But, his suggestions always accompany a holistic approach to mental and physical health. “The cornerstone of our program focuses on a low-carbohydrate, high ‘good’ fat diet along with regular aerobic exercise,” he says.

Supplements can contribute to polypharmacy and cause dangerous drug interactions when mixed with prescription medications. They may also have a negative effect on individuals with certain health conditions.

Even after a physician gives the green light for you to try a new supplement, keep in mind that none of these products are regulated by the FDA. This means that it’s nearly impossible to determine how strong or safe a given product really is. This includes memory-boosters that are labeled as “all-natural,” such as Gingko biloba, ginseng and Chinese club moss.

Always exercise caution when adding a new supplement. And remember, if you have reservations, it’s always a good idea to seek a second opinion.

Related
Brain Training Tips from a Memory Champion
5 Healthy Foods Not to Mix With Medications
8 Easy Ways to Boost Brainpower

Read more: Health, Healthy Aging, , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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89 comments

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5:56PM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

How about nootropics? Has anyone had any experience with them? I've been taking piracetam and have been looking at nootropic blends like trubrain.com. I find that piracetam along with DHA and choline have always given me the best effects.

7:26PM PDT on Apr 14, 2013

I do need a memory-boosting, and I do hope someone find the cure for Alzheimer's. My mother died with this disease, and I'm very much afraid of it. Getting old freaks me out because of the possible damages on our brains.

2:17PM PDT on Apr 6, 2013

I admire her for not taking RX

8:10AM PDT on Apr 6, 2013

Everything depends on the person. Maybe some supplements are over-advertised...

3:38PM PDT on Apr 5, 2013

love Judi Dench! thanks for the article.

5:19AM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Reply to June T comment. Thank you for your good advice. Why take pills if you can eat proper brain food.

7:44AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Good nutrition is the success of all. In some cases special supplements are needed.

9:32PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

They might but i think that the balance in eating is one of the most important things but you cannot do anything with your inheritance, thanks!

12:19PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Thank-you.

1:27AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

if i could remember to take them sure!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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