“Spend money on brain nutrients for aerobic exercise”
Dr. Gad Marshall of Brigham Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA. As head of Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment Center, he asserts that 25 percent of adults over 50 in the United States eat brain supplements to improve memory and prevent dementia, but have no scientific basis.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, brain supplements that can be bought at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription are mostly nutritional supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin B.
These ingredients are abundant in the so-called “Mediterranean diet,” which is made by the local people as brain nutrients, taking note that the brain is healthier than the rest of the world.
But little is known about how these ingredients affect brain health.
Harvard Health Publishing summarizes the scientific findings of the major components of brain nutrition.
◆ Omega 3 fatty acids = fatty acids such as mackerel and salmon. Helps to form brain cell membranes, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Eating a lot of fish has been shown to lower the risk of cognitive decline, but it has not been proven that a single ingredient, omega-3 fatty acids, has the same effect. “The positive effect came from eating a lot of fish, not omega-3 fatty acids,” Marshall said.
◆ Vitamin E = Nevertheless, the ingredients have been proven to be limited. A 2014 study found that high doses of vitamin E in patients with mild Alzheimer’s dementia had a short-term effect on maintaining the cognitive function necessary for daily living. However, vitamin E did not prevent or relieve symptoms, and high-dose medications had side effects that increased the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
◆Vitamin B = Unless you are malnourished or not eating properly, it is rare for the general public to be deficient in this ingredient. “There’s no scientific evidence that it’s good for brain health,” Marshall says.
◆ ginkgo biloba is extracted from ginkgo biloba leaves. A six-year follow-up study of 3,000 older people aged 79 or older found that this ingredient had no effect on slowing the progression of dementia. “If you’re trying to prevent and alleviate dementia, you don’t need to eat it,” Marshall said.
Despite this scientific explanation, people are still enthusiastic about brain nutrition. “It’s easier to eat nutrition than to change lifestyles,” Marshall said.
“If you have money for brain supplements, do aerobic exercise and maintain a vegetarian diet,” he said. “It’s a much better way to improve memory and brain health in the long run.”