The Problem with Brain Supplements

What brain supplements can and can’t do, according to a neuroscientist

As a neuroscientist, I see one glaring problem with these “full of promise” nootropic products. Most of the time, they don’t contain the base vitamins that you need to have a healthy, functioning brain. These supplements were designed with the assumption that their customers are already getting those base vitamins—whether it be from their diets or from multivitamins.

Look at it this way: “cognitive enhancers” won’t fill any of the nutritional gaps you might have that are fundamental to a healthy brain. Doctors have used modafinil and Adderall, for example, to treat narcolepsy and ADHD. Both have been touted as a “smart drug,” but they do little to enhance cognition. While they may make you seem more alert (and awake) in the short-term, nootropics aren’t making you any smarter.

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