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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

NCCAM Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

Dietary Supplements and Cognitive Function, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

December 2013
An elderly woman looks out the window

Concerns about forgetfulness and whether it is the first sign of Alzheimer's disease are common, particularly among older patients. Your patients may also ask questions about use of dietary supplements, which are often marketed with claims that they enhance memory or improve brain function and health.

This issue of the digest summarizes current information on “what the science says” about several dietary supplements that have been studied for cognitive function, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research on several other dietary supplements to determine whether they have any effect on the progression of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease is ongoing. In addition, research on some mind and body practices such as music therapy and mental imagery, which have shown promise in treating some symptoms related to dementia, as well as alleviating stress among caregivers, is underway.

Time to Talk Tips: 5 Things To Know About Complementary Health Practices for Cognitive Function, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Read more about what the science says

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NCCAM Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, DHHS. NCCAM Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCAM-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov. NCCAM is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

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