Consumer Reports has a recent article describing a supplement callled BrainStrong that touts itself as being “clinically shown to improve adult memory.” The kids version “helps support your child’s brain development.” They have a line of nutritional supplements with an algae-derived form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3-fatty acid found in fish. The company also makes a version for pregnant women, as well as one for toddlers. While DHA is crucial for adult brain function, as well as fetal and infant eye and nervous-system development, there is insufficient evidence that supplements with DHA improve cognitive development. When Consumer Reports contacted BrainStrong they were referred to an American Heart Association recommendation that adults who are not getting enough omega-3s from their diet should take a supplement. That advice however applies only to people with heart disease or high triglycerides… and in those situations there is evidence that omega-3 supplements can be beneficial.
You may see a TV ad for the supplement. It shows a woman wondering “what did I walk into this room for?” Her dog answers from the couch, “your sunglasses.” The narrator asks “need a memory boost?” “Now there’s BrainStrong.” “Nourish your brain.” The Consumer Reports article bottom lines it with the advice of saving your money. Most healthy people can get their needed DHA through two servings a week of low-mercury fatty fish, like wild salmon, mackerel and tilapia. Vegetarians can get their DHA through a different kind of omega-3 found in walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed. It’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking supplements, or giving them to children….. Consumer Reports September 2012
There were many comments from the recent posting of the quote “Today I have a headache.” It’s a good reminder that while it’s important to provide headache and wellness information, we need to sometimes just acknowledge that you do have headaches, and it can be quite challenging.