Focus on dietary supplements for brain health

JUNE 2023

What does the science say about dietary supplements for brain health and cognition? Recently published data on multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as an extensive report on B vitamins, indicate that supplementation can improve quality of life and reduce health care costs.


Daily multivitamin supplementation slowed decline of memory performance by the equivalent of three years of age-related memory change

New findings from a study conducted by Columbia University, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School) demonstrated that people who took daily multivitamins performed significantly better over time in remembering recent information compared to those who received the placebo. This improvement was seen after one year and sustained over three years. When researchers examined the impact on memory, they estimated that the multivitamins slowed down the memory decline that usually happens with age by 3.1 years. Learn more.

Supplementation with B vitamins can improve quality of life and reduce health care costs associated with cognitive decline

Three B vitamins—B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate or folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin)—have been extensively studied for their roles in cognitive health. The interest in these vitamins for reducing cognitive decline stems from their role in metabolizing the amino acid homocysteine, though mechanisms connecting homocysteine levels with cognitive decline are unknown, increased levels of serum homocysteine have been observed among individuals with cognitive decline which suggests a correlation. Using vitamin B dietary supplements by subjects with mild cognitive impairment and thus at risk of developing a more severe dementia disorder can result in improved quality of life and health care-related cost savings. Learn more.

Omega-3 fatty acids  may help reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline

According to a new study published in the American Society for Nutrition's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline.

By the numbers: 

  • 48 longitudinal studies involving 103,651 participants suggest that dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids could lower risk of all-cause dementia or cognitive decline by 20%, especially for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake.

  • Each increment of 0.1 g/d of DHA or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) intake was associated with an 8% lower risk of cognitive decline.

  • A 64% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease was exhibited in long-term users of omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Learn more about dietary supplement regimens for targeted groups that can improve quality of life and lower societal health care costs.