Choosing the right supplements for brain health can help improve your mood, concentration, memory and even prevent some diseases.
Now, speaking to Starts at 60, American dietician Lulu Cook has explained that research proves some supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals can actually provide energy and help prevent brain diseases.
Health experts have lauded the health benefits of omega-3 fats for years, and fish oil is one of the most widely used supplements in the world.
Omega-3 fatty acids help promote memory and cognition, Lulu said, adding: “No surprise, given that omega-3 fats are the building blocks of our brain cells, and also play key roles in reducing inflammation.”
Alternatively, omega-3 oils in fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardine, trout and snapper are ideal.
“[But] choosing a high-quality nutritional supplement can help ensure you’re getting enough of these beneficial fats,” she added.
Vitamin B12, crucial for cognition and cellular metabolism, is reduced in older adults, Lulu explained, adding: “In fact, studies that [sic] that elders who do not get enough are at increased risk of dementia.”
Therefore, supplementing it can improve cognition without pain or stress.
Read more: The best supplements for a healthier heart
“Zinc is another nutrient which may be poorly absorbed in older individuals,” she said.
It acts as a powerful antioxidant, reducing both cellular and DNA damage, as well as inflammation. The mineral is also found in red meats, poultry, beans and nuts.
“It’s possible to consume too much zinc, though, so be sure to check with a qualified dietitian or knowledgeable GP about whether supplementing may be right for you,” Lulu advised.
“The research linking gut health and cognitive health continues to make headlines around the world,” Lulu said.
She explained there’s a two-way communication channel between the brain and gut called the ‘vagus nerve’, adding: “If we want the messages going both ways to support brain health, it’s important to pay attention to consuming enough fermented foods (such as yoghurt and sauerkraut), and possibly taking a probiotic supplement that contains bifidobacterium and lactobacillus strains.”
If you suffer from a sensitive gut, Lulu recommended speaking with a health professional first.
Coenzyme Q10, shortened to CoQ10, is an enzyme that the body naturally produces. However, that natural production slows down as we age, so it’s a good idea to add the supplements to your diet.
“Whilst it is well-tolerated by many people, those who have heart failure, liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or take blood thinners or thyroid medications should check with their providers before considering a supplement,” Lulu said.