If you’re looking for a way to boost your brain power, you may want to think twice before reaching for that bottle of supplements. According to a new study, one particular supplement may be doing more harm than good. This Is the Worst Supplement for Your Brain, New Study Says — Eat This Not That will provide you with the details of the study and offer some healthier alternatives to help you get the most out of your brain.
This Is the Worst Supplement for Your Brain, New Study Says — Eat This Not That
A new study has revealed that one particular supplement may be the worst for your brain health. According to the research, the supplement in question is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in fish oil supplements, and are thought to be beneficial for brain health.
However, the new study, which was published in the journal Neurology, found that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements was associated with a higher risk of developing a brain disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.
The study looked at data from over 1.7 million people in the United States and found that those who took omega-3 fatty acid supplements were more likely to develop ALS than those who did not take the supplements. The risk was even higher for those who took higher doses of the supplement.
The researchers concluded that omega-3 fatty acid supplements may not be beneficial for brain health after all, and that people should avoid taking them. Instead, they recommend eating foods that are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring.
So if you’re looking to improve your brain health, it’s best to avoid omega-3 fatty acid supplements and opt for foods that are naturally rich in these essential fatty acids.
Along with keeping up with healthy daily habits, sometimes in an attempt to help our bodies steer clear of the unwanted disease in the later years of our lives, doctors recommend taking a set of supplements for our health. However, a recent study found that the dietary supplement L-serine, an essential compound that influences brain functionality, may cause a cognitive decline in some adults.
L-serine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is made up within the body and is most necessary for producing Phosphatidylserine, or in other words, the main component that forms the membrane of brain cells (also known as neurons). There is one specific enzyme that is responsible for creating our body’s natural serine levels, it’s called PHGDH.
Research in the Cell Metabolism reported that increasing one’s serine levels (especially through a supplement) may end up contributing to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Head researcher Xu Chen and his team gathered genetic samples from the brains (post-mortem) of four groups, made up of 40 to 50 people ages 50 and older. The groups that were researched included patients with Alzheimer’s, subjects who showed early signs of Alzheimer’s-related signs, and people with healthy brains.
This study found that both the Alzheimer’s patients and people with early signs of Alzheimer’s showed an increase in PHGDH, compared to the subjects with healthy brains. Not only that, but the Alzheimer’s patients’ PHGDH levels became even higher as their condition worsened, and researchers equated these high PHGDH results to overstimulation within the brain caused by too much serine.
An extreme amount of stress on the brain (from overstimulation) can lead to a decreased number of neurons in the brain, and researchers believe that a metabolic-like cycle occurs to make up for the loss in brain activity. The body continues to create more and more PHGDH to increase serine levels and healthy brain cells. Unfortunately, when there is too much PHGDH in the brain, there is too much stress on the brain, and neurons/brain cells continue to die. The cycle repeats due to the brain trying to restore balance.
While this study is new, there have been other opposing research done on the contrary. For example, another study in Cell Metabolism back in 2020 claimed that many Alzheimer’s patients similarly had lower levels of PHGDH in their brains. The study supported the use of L-serine supplementation because serine is a key component of the body’s neuronal receptors—which control brain function.
Other studies and clinical trials have found L-serine to be a neuroprotective agent for a number of other neurological diseases and conditions (other than Alzheimer’s), according to Frontiers. The supplement has been seen to have a therapeutic effect on epilepsy, schizophrenia, and psychosis.
Overall, if you’re looking into supplementation to accommodate concerns regarding your future brain functionality and the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease, talk with your doctor. Research has fallen on both sides of the spectrum for whether or not it’s necessary or productive to feed your brain these compounds that your body forms naturally if there isn’t already an imbalance.