Cognitive decline involves a decrease in your ability to remember things. These more severe memory deficits are common with increased age, with over 11 percent of older adults experiencing some level of cognitive deficits. Younger individuals may also occasionally experience impaired memory, sometimes finding it challenging to recall simple things on a daily basis. To enhance brain function, consider a healthy brain booster supplement.
Whether you are an older adult seeking to prevent cognitive decline or a healthy individual wanting to boost your memory – there are several supplements for mental health that you can utilize. Natural ingredients are shown to increase brain power include ashwagandha, lion’s mane, CoQ10, and others. This article will discuss these and other brain enhancement supplements that you can use to best support your memory.
Ginkgo biloba is a tree species known to treat several conditions, including headache, heart disease, mood disorders, and tinnitus. Its medicinal effects are due to ginkgo biloba’s powerful impact on the body. It increases blood flow, causing downstream neurological benefits such as increasing neuroplasticity, preventing brain edema, and providing neuroprotection. Such effects contribute to ginkgo biloba’s use in cognition.
One review analyzed studies on how ginkgo biloba affected several cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. Results indicated that ginkgo biloba treatment improved cognition, subjects’ ability to carry out daily activities, and neuropsychiatric symptoms (2). These findings prove that ginkgo biloba is a powerful brain performance supplement.
Ginseng is yet another traditional medicine known to boost memory capabilities. Ginseng activates the central nervous system, thus improving mental function via several mechanisms. Ginseng can increase learning and memory while minimizing forgetfulness and confusion, making it a brain power and memory supplement.
Animal models have studied these effects, one of which looked at Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models. Ginseng was found to reverse memory decline in Alzheimer’s mouse models via a reduction in β-amyloid, the main component of brain plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients (3). Other human studies have found that ginseng improves cognitive abilities in healthy individuals and patients with dementia. However, other studies show mixed results (4).
Lion’s mane, also known as Hericium erinaceus, is a medicinal mushroom that contains hericenones and erinacines, two of its main compounds. Preclinical research shows that lion’s mane increases brain cell growth via nerve growth factor (NGF). It supports neuronal projections, allowing neurons to grow and reach other neurons. This phenomenon makes the neuronal network more well-connected, allowing them to communicate better and increase memory formation (5). Incorporating lion’s mane as a supplement for brain power could promote neural connectivity.
Magnesium is one of many micronutrients essential to the human body, serving various functions and playing a critical role in several processes. A mounting body of evidence suggests that magnesium can help maintain and support cognition and neuroplasticity, making it integral to several brain enhancement supplements. One such study assessed the correlation between magnesium levels and academic performance in adolescent girls. The striking findings indicated that magnesium levels positively correlated with strong academic performance (6).
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggest low magnesium levels can impair memory function. They explain that magnesium supports the NMDA receptor, which is involved in neuroplasticity. Magnesium assists in NMDA receptor opening, thus amplifying meaningful input while drowning out background noise.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a chemical precursor to serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that helps communicate messages between brain cells. It is found in some dietary supplements to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin contributes to mood, sleep, appetite, anxiety, and pain.ё
In the context of 5-HTP and mood, 5-HTP is an important neurotransmitter implicated in depression. One study compared 5-HTP to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a standard antidepressant class of medications. 5-HTP demonstrated similar antidepressant effects to the SSRI. It is important to note that depression is associated with memory impairments and thus can affect cognition. One study suggests that such cognitive deficits can be mitigated by 5-HTP, making it a potential supplement for brain fog.
Tyrosine is an amino acid that is critical for creating neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain. It plays a role in producing dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These transmitters are how nerve cells communicate amongst themselves, and they can also affect mood. Some animal and human research support its use as a brain function supplement, indicating that tyrosine supplements may enhance memory and performance when experiencing psychological stress.
One study analyzed tyrosine’s effect on individuals’ working memory when placed in a multitasking environment. Results found that tyrosine treatment increased participants’ working memory compared with placebo when subjects had competing tasks.
L-methylfolate is a folic acid supplement that treats or prevents low folate levels. L-methylfolate plays an essential role in the production of monoamine transmitters, including norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Because of its link to neurotransmitters, researchers have hypothesized that l-methylfolate may play a role in conditions such as depression. Depression can be linked to memory loss, and thus, l-methylfolate could be of benefit to boost memory.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant produced naturally by your body. Several studies have investigated it as a supplement for cognitive health, as it can improve cognition, particularly learning and memory. In mouse models, CoQ10 supplementation improved learning and memory deficits in diabetic mice. Other studies are ongoing in humans to see if these results can be extrapolated to individuals experiencing a cognitive decline.
Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid created in the brain, kidney, and liver. Research suggests that acetyl L-carnitine may help slow cognitive decline in conditions such as Alzheimer’s; however, results are mixed. When used as a brain boosting supplement for adults, it may provide these neuroprotective effects by enhancing energy metabolism, restoring synaptic functioning, and protecting against toxins.
Whether your goal is to prevent cognitive decline with aging or enhance your memory to be less forgetful, numerous natural options exist that may help. Remedies such as ginseng, ashwagandha, lion’s mane, and CoQ10 are some of the many brain focus supplements available on the market that you can try.