“Brain health” supplements panned

Posted 04 January 2020

The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) has issued a 31-page report that summarizes 15 consensus statements; expert recommendations for individuals, health care providers, people with mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or other brain disorders; practical tips for consumers; a discussion of specific supplements promoted for brain health; issues in safety, efficacy, marketing, and regulation of dietary supplements; and this conclusion:

There is no convincing evidence to recommend dietary supplements for brain health in healthy older adults. The consensus statements and recommendations above are based on the current state of science as of May 2019. Supplements have not been demonstrated to delay the onset of dementia, nor can they prevent, treat or reverse Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological diseases that cause dementia. For most people, the best way to get your nutrients for brain health is from a healthy diet. Unless your health care provider has identified that you have a specific nutrient deficiency, there is not sufficient data to justify taking any dietary supplement for brain health. The GCBH does not endorse any ingredient, product or supplement formulation specifically sold for brain health. Because no government agency determines dietary supplements are safe or effective before they are sold, consumers should approach supplements claiming to improve or boost brain function with skepticism. Because dietary supplements can be sold without a government agency first determining that they are safe or and effective before they are sold, consumers should also be aware that in addition to being a waste of money, some supplements could physically harm them. Despite claims to the contrary, brain health supplements have not been established to maintain thinking skills or improve brain function. However, there are many other lifestyle habits such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, staying mentally active and being socially engaged that are recommended by the council. For evidenced-based strategies on what you can do to help maintain your brain health as you age, see the council’s other reports [available at]

GCBH is an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, scholars, and policy experts from around the world convened by AARP with support from Age UK to advise what older adults can do maintain and improve their brain health.

Reference: Global Council on Brain Health. The real deal on brain health supplements: GCBH Recommendations on vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. AARP Web site, 2019

Source: Consumer Health Digest #19-51, December 29, 2019

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.