Have you looked at the lineup of soft drinks available at your grocery store lately? Dozens of new types of beverages claim to offer a myriad of health benefits. Some include ingredients such as nootropics and adaptogens, which claim to improve brain function.
In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Brent Bauer, a Mayo Clinic internist, explains what you should know about these supplements and if they really can help boost brain power.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:07) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
"Nootropics are generally thought of as things that help the brain. Fish oil falls in that category. A lot of people consider that something good for the brain," says Dr. Bauer. "Adaptogens are the herbs that are often thought of as kind of balancing effect. So if you're a little high on something, that lowers it. If you're a little low on something, that raises it."
While these ingredients are natural and sometimes found in supplements, Dr. Bauer says it doesn't mean they're safe for everyone.
"Being natural is not a guarantee in any way, shape or form of being safe," says Dr. Bauer.
As with any supplement, Dr. Bauer says people should check with their health care team to make sure brain boost drinks won't interfere with other medications.
And as far as what kind of health benefit these products can provide, he says don't expect a quick fix.
"Maybe in some select patients, there might be some that could be beneficial. But I think at this point, based on the evidence we have so far, the effects — if they're there — are pretty modest and probably not noticeable to the average person."
A better bet would be focusing on proven strategies to reduce risk of cognitive decline, like getting exercise, great nutrition and good sleep.
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