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Can taking supplements boost your memory?

Whether you have memory problems or suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, there is a long list of minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and herbs that are said help improve memory.

These supplements include, herbs including ginkgo biloba and Curcumin and vitamins B-12 and vitamin E along with fish oil to name a few. But can a supplement really boost your memory?

The answer is, yes some can, particularly if dietary intake is lacking or metabolic processes, food combining or medications interfere with the absorption of these essential nutrients. Studies published in peer reviewed medical journals support this.

Some foods that interfere with absorption of vitamins and minerals.

Oxalates in green leafy vegetables and tea can bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed.

Phytates (phytic acid) in whole grains, seeds, legumes, some nut, can decrease the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.

Saponins in legumes, whole grains, can interfere with normal nutrient absorption.

B Vitamins and Memory

Long-term supplementation of daily folic acid and vitamin B-12 was found to promote improvements in cognitive functioning after 24 months, particularly in immediate and delayed memory performance (Walker, G, et al. Am J Clin NutrJanuary 2012 vol. 95 no. 1 194-203).


Vitamin B12 is important for memory and as we age and is often deficient .

The most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is inadequate absorption. The following conditions can cause absorption to be inadequate: Overgrowth of bacteria in part of the small intestine. Impaired absorption (malabsorption disorders such as celiac disease or certain pancreatic disorders)

Stomach acid and vitamin B-12

PPI's can interfere with the body's absorption of vitamin B-12 from food, as stomach acid is needed to separate the vitamin from food. PPIs can also interfere with calcium absorption in the body, which in turn means weaker bones.  

Because of these and other causes of inadequate levels or intake of some vitamins and minerals, supplements may be necessary.

For more information about memory and the evidence that supports lifestyle and dietary/supplementary changes plus herbal medicines that may help improve your memory is in the section, Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory, in my New book Get Well in the Golden Years with Natural Medicine. (see Russell's New Book)

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