Supplements For Your Brain, Do They Really Help You?
Supplements to improve your brain function, cognition, and memory have been promoted by drug companies for years. The question is, do they really improve your brain health as promised? If so, why don’t these supplements have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? The absence of FDA approval speaks volumes. In fact, without FDA approval, there is no way to document the veracity and efficacy of their products.
Indeed, a recent report by the AARP-founded Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), says that brain supplements are worthless. They are a waste of money. The study found that adults — aged 50+, and specifically seniors, spend more than $93 million a month on these supplements This breaks down to $20 to $60 a month.
Supplements: Beware Harmful Side Affects
Beyond the risk of wasting money on something that does not work, supplements can contain potential product impurities and inaccurate ingredient labels.
Finally, the GCBH experts urge those with certain other health conditions, to think twice before taking these pills.
People with conditions listed below should consult with their doctor regarding these pills.
People on blood thinners. Blood thinners, heart medications, steroids and drugs that affect the immune system don’t mix with these supplements. For example, sudden increases in your vitamin K intake, for example, decrease the effect of the blood thinner Coumadin. In general, medications that need to be metabolized by organs like your kidneys and liver will compete for limited metabolic function. And therefore, it will affect the performance of the drugs you’re taking for serious illnesses.
Surgery candidates. The report cites warnings from the American College of Surgeons that herbal medications such as echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian can increase risks during your surgery.
People with cancer. Certain vitamins and supplements can make your condition worse. For example, antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins E and C may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Seniors with mild cognitive impairment. Studies show that cognitive impaired seniors who take melatonin increase their risks of falls and other adverse events.
The bottom line — don’t take these supplements without first consulting with your doctor.