Best Supplements for Brain Health

Print Article

What if someone told you there are three simple things you could do now to help prevent cognitive decline as you age? The research is in on brain health supplements.

The Cooper Institute Senior Investigator Steve Farrell, PhD, FACSM, shares why your level of vitamin D, omega-3 and fitness matter when it comes to maintaining your brain.

Brain Health supplements for supporting optimal cognitive function

Improve Vitamin D Levels for Brain Health

A May 2018 study by The Cooper Institute looked at how blood levels of vitamin D affect cognitive function. More than 4,300 Cooper Clinic patients ages 55 and older were given a test of cognitive function for brain health called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). The test evaluates memory, concentration and language and scores on a 0-30 scale. A score of less than 25 indicates cognitive decline.

“Results showed patients with low vitamin D levels in their blood were significantly more likely to have cognitive impairment on their MoCA test,” says Farrell. “In fact, they were 26 percent more likely to score less than 25 on the test.”

Fitness Improves Brain Health

Researchers also looked at the relationship between a patient’s fitness level and cognitive impairment. They found for every two-minute improvement a patient had on the treadmill stress test, there was a 6 percent less chance he or she would score poorly on the MoCA.

“Part of healthy aging is maintaining cognitive function,” says Farrell. “These studies suggest having a normal level of vitamin D and a moderate to high level of fitness might help prevent cognitive decline as you age.”

Vitamin D Levels and Depression

Vitamin D can also help combat depression. The National Institute of Mental Health states major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

Researchers at The Cooper Institute, in conjunction with UT Southwestern Medical School, wanted to see if there was a relationship between blood levels of vitamin D and how people scored on The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), a scientific test used to determine if a person might be suffering from depression.

Researchers followed more than 12,000 Cooper Clinic patients and discovered those who were females over 50 years of age and were obese, smoked and didn’t exercise were more likely to score poorly on the CES-D.

The study also found for every 10 units higher of vitamin D found in the blood, there was an 8 percent less likely chance a person would score poorly on the CES-D.

“This shows there seems to be some relationship between your blood levels of vitamin D and cognitive function as well as depression,” says Farrell. “Scientists are now trying to figure out why.”

Cooper Clinic recommends a minimum of 50 mcg (2,000 IU) of Cooper Complete Vitamin D3 each day for adults.

Increase Cognitive Function with Omega-3

Most Americans don’t get enough omega-3 through their diet alone. Yet, omega-3 positively impacts cognitive function in studies.

One German study took 44 healthy older adults and split them into two groups. One group received 2.2 grams of omega-3 for six months while the other took a placebo pill. Before the study began, participants took a memory test.

After the six-month trial, participants retested. Results showed those who took omega-3 supplements scored significantly better on the memory test six months later compared to participants who received the placebo.

“There is a high concentration of omega-3 in the brain,” says Farrell. “Omega-3 can help different regions of the brain communicate with each other. So, a low omega-3 level can have an adverse effect on brain health.”

One serving of Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 softgels provides 1,200 mg combined of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), which is recommended by Cooper Clinic physicians.

When it comes to eating healthy, Cooper Clinic recommends a food-first philosophy. However, dietary restrictions and hectic lifestyles can often keep us from getting the nutrients our bodies need. That’s where supplementation can help.

Before you start a supplement routine, it’s important to have your blood levels tested first. Comprehensive lab analysis is part of Cooper Clinic’s preventive exam and includes omega-3 and vitamin D testing.

To shop the entire line of Cooper Complete products, visit

Convenient Vitamin Subscription Plan Saves Time and Money

To ensure you always have a supply of Cooper Complete multivitamins and mineral supplements, join our Vitamin Delivery Subscription Program. You choose how often you would like a shipment, with 30, 60, 90 and 120 day options. If you have two or more bottles (of the same product or mix and match among products) shipped at the same time, you get free shipping!

Vitamin Subscription Enrollment Is Easy

Display the production information for the first item you would like to add to your cart, and click on the blue “Get Started” button to create a subscription. From there, choose a shipping frequency of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or 120 days and the quantity desired, and add the item to your cart. Repeat this process for as many different products as you like, and choose a shipping frequency that best matches your use of that product. For example, you might want Advanced Omega-3 fatty acids and Joint Health supplement every 30-days, and a bottle of Basic One Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement every 60-days. Click here to start your subscription for Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3.

Learn More