Do memory loss, multitasking difficulty and changes in attention span concern you? As our population ages, brain performance ages too; and the growing flood of seniors will want to keep sharp.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population age 65+ will surge from 49.2 million in 2010 to 99.5 million in 2050. As a result, preventing age-related cognitive decline will gain importance.
And the market for Senior-targeted brain-boosters is potentially even larger than expected. For many, cognitive decline begins sooner than age 65. A British Medical Journal study reports age-related cognitive decline is already evident in middle age (age 45-49). Savvy nutritional supplement and functional food and drink companies can try the promising supplements below to create a better cognitive future.
There are many “brain boosters” currently available, but it’s difficult to figure out which actually work. Few claims show proven results and research can burn hours or days. The supplements below show results backed by science.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your Scandinavian Grandma was right to chase you around the house with a spoonful of fish oil – or omega-3 fatty acid. Science shows that this oil is good for you. Fish oil, with its’ two primary fatty acids (EPA) and (DHA) is extracted from sardines, and other fatty fish. Many people don’t eat the recommended amount of fatty fish and can benefit from this supplement.
A 2012 study published in Neurology found that higher dietary intake of DHA and EPA resulted in reduced risk of dementia. The study also found that lower blood levels of DHA in older adults resulted in smaller brain size, signaling accelerated brain aging. Finally, a study published in The Alzheimer’s Association, stated that while DHA did not benefit Alzheimer’s patients or people with normal brain function, those showing mild declines in brain functions showed improvement. .
Europeans already commonly use this ancient Chinese medicine to treat dementia resulting from reduced blood flow, although Ginkgo doesn’t actually prevent dementia. The active ingredient in Ginkgo biloba (EGb) is extracted from the leaves of the maidenhair (or yin xing) tree, the oldest surviving tree species on Earth.
For centuries Ginkgo biloba has treated degenerative diseases. These include cerebrovascular and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although there is some conflicting research, most clinical studies show that ginkgo can improve memory, thinking speed and attention span in healthy adults. It also helps with Alzheimer’s symptoms and other dementias.
Vitamin E slows the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients with mild to moderate disease. It doesn’t prevent Alzheimer’s, but slowing the disease progression allows seniors to live high-quality lives for longer.
A study by the Ican School of Medicine, in partnership with VA medical centers, showed a 19% annual reduction in difficulty for Alzheimer’s patients performing daily activities, like bathing and dressing, when taking daily Vitamin E. Vitamin E presents a low-cost treatment option for Alzheimer’s patients. It can delay the need for expensive care facilities or full time in-home care, which prevents a caregiver from working.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is an amino acid (building block for protein) that helps energize the brain, and our peripheral nervous and immune systems. ALC occurs naturally in the body and in foods such as meat poultry and fish, and this supplement is available without prescription.
Many studies prove the anti-aging benefits of ACL. One Japanese Kagoshima University study, by the Facility of Medicine, that found ACL critical to youthful cellular function in the brain, heart, liver, peripheral nerves and immune system. No surprise that ACL benefits include improved mood, memory and cognition.
Aging brains will affect us all. As our senior population booms, brain-boosters using Omega-3, Ginkgo, Vitamin E and Acetyl-L-carnitine can offer solutions to aging woes. Forward-thinking natural product companies can use these ingredients to boost both brains and revenue.
Kendeyl Johansen, a tech geek and award-winning journalist, creates multimedia health and wellbeing content.