How to Improve Memory and Concentration with Vitamin Supplements

Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

Taking vitamin supplements in hopes of improving memory, concentration and other cognitive abilities has varied rates of success. The type of vitamin that offers the best results differs from one person to the next. Result variations may be attributed to differences in genetics, diet, overall health or natural mental ability. Individuals must eat a balanced diet, remain hydrated and get sufficient quantities of sleep to retain physical, emotional and mental health. However, certain vitamins have been known to enhance neuron function.

Antioxidants

Vitamins A, C and E belong to a group of nutrients known to have antioxidant capabilities. The vitamins are vital for having a healthy memory as they break down free radicals that travel through circulating blood. An abundance of free radicals poses a threat to cognitive function by damaging neurons. In addition to supplements, the vitamins are found in berries, citrus fruits, red tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, nuts and seeds.

B Complex Vitamins

Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 enhance memory by protecting neurons from the amino acid homocysteine, which has a toxic effect on delicate nerve cells. The B vitamins additionally assist in red blood cell production, which supply the brain with oxygen. Foods rich in B complex vitamins include asparagus, broccoli, dark leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, strawberries, beans, peas and leeks.

Magnesium L-Threonate

Studies suggest that increasing magnesium levels in the brain help improve memory and learning. However, conventional forms of the mineral cannot effectively pass through the blood-brain barrier. Magnesium T was specially developed by researchers for this purpose.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Though not vitamins, the healthy fat molecules are necessary for proper brain function. Omega-3s protect the brain from inflammatory processes and the effects of high cholesterol. The nutrient is commonly found in cold-water fish that include salmon and tuna along with flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts.

Acetyl L-Carnitine

The amino acid is popular with athletes desiring to build muscle. However, the substance successfully crosses the blood-brain barrier where it assists neurons with energy production, which is important for overall brain function. Acetyl L-Carnitine also possesses antioxidant properties that protect brain cells.

Alpha GPC

In addition to boosting a number of body processes, Alpha glycerophospocholine or Alpha GPC is a necessary building block for manufacturing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The compound is believed to have the ability to increase attention span, focus and various other brain functions. Research suggests that the compound helps cognitive ability in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, strokes and other vascular conditions that affect the brain. Alpha GPC may also speed the recovery process in people having cognitive disorders.

CoQ10

Ubiquinol or Coenzyme Q 10 is naturally manufactured in the body as a building block for ATP, which fuels body cells. The supplement boosts physical energy, which enhances blood circulation to the brain. Scientists believe that the compound also protects neurons from the age-related onset of memory loss.

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