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CNN: Brain Supplements Lack ProofCNN: Brain Supplements Lack Proof

April 27, 2010

1 Min Read
CNN: Brain Supplements Lack Proof

A CNN article said no hard evidence supports taking supplements and vitamins to prevent or slow cognitive decline. However, the writer Elizabeth Landau noted popular brain-enhancing supplements have been proved safe, barring drug interactions and other complications, so some doctors still recommend them.

Fish oil is one such popular dietary supplement. Landau said several observational studies found those who took fish oil experienced cognitive benefits including a reduced risk of dementia. However she said other studies showed mixed results and observational studies dont involve the scientific rigor of control group. One up-coming study, to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no benefit to cognitive health among 800 people, aged 70 to 79 who took fish oil for two years compared to placebo.

Gingko biloba has been touted for increasing blood flow to the brain and protecting nerve cell, which Landau said may help boost memory in those with dementia. However, she pointed to a six-year study of more than 3,000 people that found the herbal medicine did not improve memory, or delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease.

The antioxidant vitamin E is given to patients with Alzheimer's, at least by Dr. Alireza Atri, neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, reported Landau. Last year, Atri's presented findings suggesting a modest effect of vitamin E slowing cognitive decline, especially over time. However, the study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal and has not been updated since it was presented. Other studies have been mixed, with some showing vitamin E decreasing the risk of Alzheimers, but others have not found this effect.

In conclusion, Landau recommended consumers consult their doctors on vitamin supplementation.

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