Vitamins have long been promoted as an excellent way to prevent seniors from getting dementia and alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, billions of dollars are spent each year on vitamin supplements to ward off these fatal diseases. The question, however, is, do these supplements actually work?
The answer is an emphatic no as reported by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH). This group is composed of neurologists, nutritionists, and researchers. They report that these supplements are a waste of money — they do not boost memory and fail to prevent the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Vitamins: Seniors Spend Huge Amounts
Seniors spend huge amounts of money on these supplements, hoping to ward off dementia. For example, just six different supplements marketed for brain health can cost seniors more than $93 million a month. This breaks down to between $20 and $60 a month. These supplements, unlike prescription drugs, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for effectiveness.
Therefore, without FDA oversight, manufacturers do not have to spend money on scientific studies to back their claims. In addition, without FDA oversight, these supplements may contain product impurities and display inaccurate ingredient labels.
Vitamins: Some Can Even Make Your Health Worse
Not only do these vitamin supplements not help improve your memory and cognition, they may actually make your health worse.
As many seniors suffer from other health conditions, these supplements may make those conditions worse.
For example, these would be people on blood thinners, heart medications, steroids or drugs that affect the immune system. A supplement that increases your Vitamin K levels can decrease the effectiveness of the blood thinner Coumadin.
Or how about people about to have eye surgery? Herbal medications such as echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian can increase your risks during surgery.
For seniors receiving chemotherapy for cancer, antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins E and C can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Finally, the supplement melatonin which is recommended to seniors to help them sleep — can actually harm them. Several studies show that melatonin increases the risk of falls. For seniors, a fall can lead to serious physical injury, and in some cases, even death.