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How Do I Choose the Best Memory Supplement?

Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 28 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing a memory supplement can be slightly daunting given the vast array of options available and the various claims made by manufacturers. The first step to doing so is to carefully read the labels of different supplements, ensuring that the item has some well-known ingredients and lacks anything that could be unsafe. Once you have a basic idea of what kind of memory supplement you want to try, talk to your doctor to determine if it is safe for your current medical situation and that it will not interact with any prescriptions that you are taking. Then, check with the government agency that oversees the marketing and distribution of these supplements to make sure that there are no current complaints about the product.

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Often, a memory supplement is full of a variety of herbs and vitamins that may or may not help to improve your memory, and could potentially contain something dangerous. In general, it is best to look for products that contain ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, ginseng, and omega-3 fatty acids, either alone or in a combination supplement. While research is limited as to the benefits of these ingredients as of 2011, these supplements tend to hold the most promise for improving memory. Once you have found a product that contains some or all of these elements, make sure that it does not contain bacopa or DHEA. Bacopa is well-known for interacting poorly with a variety of drugs, and DHEA can potentially increase your risk of cancer if taken long-term.

Once you have a good idea as to what memory supplement you would like to try, make an appointment to talk with your regular doctor. Prior to your appointment, print out a list of the ingredients in the supplement, typically available on the manufacturer’s website, and bring this with you. Your doctor should be able to tell you if the memory supplement will interact poorly with any other drugs that you are taking, or if they could have undesirable side effects due to your current health. Even if you are not taking any prescription medications, letting your doctor know that you are taking a memory supplement is essential to him or her providing you with optimal care in the future. If you do not have a doctor, a pharmacist with access to your current medication list may be able to help.

Checking with your government agency for information on any memory supplement that you plan to take is typically a good idea. Most jurisdictions have an overseeing agency that handles potential false claims by manufacturers of herbal supplements and takes claims from people who have had adverse reactions to the product. In the United States, the overseeing agency is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In Canada, the Health Products and Food Branch may be able to help, and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products can point those living in this area towards the necessary information.

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