Boosting the Brain: Are Brain Enhancing Supplements a Good Way of Preventing Dementia?

Powerful Brain

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Dear Dementia Solutions

“I’m curious about a drug called InteliGEN2 that aims to help boost cognitive functioning and has received lots of positive coverage online. Was wondering what your thoughts are on it—do you think it could be effective in preventing the onset of dementia and should consumers be concerned about possible side effects?”

 ~ A. Norman

 Dear A. Norman:

 As dementia rates rise and curiosity abounds about various forms of preventative action, questions, such as yours, about brain enhancing supplements are becoming increasingly common. Understandably, more and more people want to know, ‘What can I do to best protect myself against the risk of developing dementia, and are brain-enhancing supplements a good option?’

My response to this question is ‘proceed with caution.’ Amid the concern about dementia, there should also be concern about those hoping to cash in on the public’s fear by marketing products that don’t do as they promise and/or could be harmful. Any product that claims to fend off dementia should be examined closely. Reports containing glowing reviews may be unproven, and clinical trials cited may not be peer reviewed. This is why supplements are sometimes met with suspicion by health professionals—and for good reason.

Sure, not all supplements can be painted with the same brush, and in the case of InteliGEN I haven’t spoken to anyone who can attest to its effects. However, I did come across a few findings by doing some­ research of my own. First, I found that InteliGEN is not FDA approved, since it’s classified as a supplement instead of a drug. I also discovered online criticisms questioning the veracity of the claim that all ingredients are natural. Some online reports also point to a lack of scientific proof that InteliGEN actually increases intelligence, focus or memory.

When it comes to any supplement, as always it’s always best to consult with a doctor. Studies are showing that eating healthy foods and incorporating physical and cognitive exercises into a daily routine can make an impact. (Click here for more information on 10 healthy foods listed by the Mayo Clinic.)  Rather than turning towards products promising ‘quick fixes,’ you will likely reap more rewards from long-term lifestyle changes that keep you active and enhance well-being.

Read more Dear Dementia columns.

Sign up for CARP’s Advocacy News to learn about the advocacy group’s call-to-action for a fully-funded dementia strategy in Ontario.

 Do you have a specific question relating to dementia that you need answered? Please submit your questions by email to: [email protected]

 Karen Tyrell CDP, CPCA, is a Dementia Consultant, Educator & Author, and Founder of Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc. (www.dementiasolutions.ca). Karen offers her expertise on dementia care through speaking engagements, workshops and by working one-on-one with families and caregivers to provide emotional support and practical solutions.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this column are provided for information purposes only. They are not intended to replace clinical diagnosis or medical advice from a health professional. For any health related issue, always seek medical advice first from a trained medical professional.


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