8 Best Natural Vitamins That Help Improve Memory and Increase Focus


Can Vitamins Help Improve Memory?

The nutrients and vitamins we put into our body have a drastic effect on our brain. As we age, our cognitive function begins to decline, making it harder to recall what we had for breakfast yesterday.

Thankfully, studies have shown that certain vitamins have a beneficial effect on brain function and can help improve memory, creativity, and overall cognitive function. Not only have some vitamins been proven to help improve current brain function and memory, but they also have been shown to help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

We have compiled a list of the the top vitamins that have been proven to improve memory and cognitive function in scientific studies. Whether you are attempting to get a “limitless” memory, or simply trying to reduce age-related declines in cognitive function – your best bet is to supplement with a combination of the following vitamins and supplements.

Top Vitamins That Help Improve Memory


Magnesium plays a crucial role in having a healthy brain and nervous system. Did you know only 32% of Americans get their recommended daily allowance of magnesium? A study published in Neuron magazine in 2010 by researchers from MIT and Tsinghua University found that increasing magnesium in the brain improves working memory, learning abilities, and short and long-term memory. Susumu Tonegawa, one of the authors of the study from MIT said, “This study not only highlights the importance of a diet with sufficient daily magnesium, but also suggests the usefulness of magnesium-based treatments for aging-associated memory decline.”

Another study suggested that increasing magnesium levels also increases brain plasticity. Brain plasticity, also know as neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt throughout life. The human brain is actually able to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells, and magnesium has been shown to help.

Magnesium can be found in dark chocolate, avocados, nuts and seeds, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. It is also a good idea to supplement with magnesium. But did you know that a small amount of magnesium found in your typical supplement actually gets into the brain? This is why you need to make sure your magnesium supplement contains magnesium l-threonate. By binding magnesium to l-threonate, the magnesium is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, allowing a much larger amount of absorption.

Recommended Magnesium Supplement: Dr. Mercola Magnesium L-Threonate 2,000 mg

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin that the brain and body NEEDS to work efficiently. If you go to the doctor for symptoms of memory loss, your doctor will likely test your B-12 levels. Vitamin B-12 deficiency, which is most common in older adults and vegetarians, can cause memory loss among other symptoms. In these cases, vitamin B-12 supplements can help improve memory.

Vitmain B-12 can be found in animal products such as meat, fish, and dairy. If you are deficient in B-12, it is best to consider a B-12 supplement – as you will likely not be able to get the amount you need through food.

Recommended Vitamin B-12 Supplement: Jarrow Formula’s Methyl B-12, 5,000 mcg

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A recent study showed that supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acid pills improved the working memory. The study, which was conducted in 2012 and published in PLoS ONE, found that the individuals in the study supplementing with Omega-3 were able to increase their working memory by up to 23%. There are multiple others studies that conclude the same – Omega-3 fatty acids improve memory and other mental abilities.

In the study, participants took 2,000 mg of omega-3 per day. Your body does not produce omega-3, and 2,000 mg is a high level of omega-3. It is recommended to take an omega-3 fish oil supplement, as you will likely not be able to consume 2000 mg through food.

Recommended Omega-3 Supplement: Dr. Tobias Omega-3 Fish Oil Triple Strength, Non-GMO, 180 count


Folate is another one of the B vitamins (vitamin B9), and plays a key role in producing healthy blood cells and maintaining healthy oxygen levels in the blood. Folate is also one of the main vitamins responsible for memory recall. Folate deficiency can result in memory problems.

In one study, folate deficiency was shown to be associated with depression and dementia, especially in older people. The study states:

“Folic acid is important in the nervous system at all ages, but in elderly people deficiency contributes to ageing brain processes, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia and, if critically severe, can lead to a reversible dementia.”

Based on multiple studies, folate deficiency can be associated with memory loss, increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even dementia. For our brain to function properly, we need to get about 400 micrograms of folate per day. Our bodies do not store folate, so it is best to ensure you are eating foods high in folate such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and eggs. Supplementation is a also a great way to increase folate levels.

Recommended Folate Supplement: Life Extension Optimized Folate, 100 count

Gingko Biloba

Gingko biloba extract is derived from the dried green leavess of the gingko biloba tree. Gingko biloba is one of the top-selling herbal supplements for memory aid. Gingko biloba is touted for treating memory loss, depression, anxiety, concentration problems, and much more.

Gingko biloba has broad health applications, which is why it is so popular. Gingko biloba contains high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids. These both have antioxidant properties, and are believed to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Ginkgo can also increase blood circulation. A study done in 2008 revealed an increase of blood flow to certain parts of the body in people with heart disease who supplemented with gingko biloba. The study found an average increase in nitric oxide of 12% in the participants, which is responsible for dilating blood vessels and promoting healthy blood flow.

The research on how effective gingko biloba is for improving memory is hit or miss. Some studies have shown an improvement in cognitive function, while others have either been inconclusive or did not show any improvement at all. Many people who take gingko biloba claim to notice an increase in focus and concentration, and there are more studies to be done. So as of now, gingko biloba is a great supplement – but be sure to do your own research if you decide to take it to improve your memory.

Recommended Gingko Biloba Supplement: Nutricost Gingko Biloba Extra Strength 120 mg, 240 capsules


Huperzine-A, a compound derived from the Chinese club moss Huperzia serrata native to India and Southeast Asia, is renowned for it’s benefits to the brain and memory. Huperzine-A is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and is also used as a supplement to improve memory.

Huperzine-A causes an increase in acetylcholine, which is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas of the body.

The results of one study done in 1999, showed an improvement in learning and memory among adolescent students who supplemented with huperzine-A versus a placebo group. If you want a cognitive boost, you may want to consider supplementing with huperzine-A.

Recommended Huperzine-A Supplement: Source Naturals Huperzine-A 200 mg


Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid that plays a crucial role in cellular energy production. It does this by assisting in the transport of fat into the mitochondria, where it is then oxidized and converted into ATP – or energy for the cell. Acetyl-L-carnitine protects and improves memory, and can be used as a treatment for depression and Alzheimer’s.

There have been many studies that have shown a relationship between memory improvement and supplementing with acetyl-l-carnitine, especially in older people and people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Acetyl-l-carnitine is extremely bio-available, with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.

According to the University of Michigan School of Medicine, several clinical trials suggest that acetyl-l-carntine delays onset of ARCD and improves overall cognitive function in the elderly. The school also says that acetyl-L-carnitine levels may decrease with advancing age.

So, based on numerous studies, acetyl-l-carnitine has been shown to increase memory and cognitive function, especially in older people. Most research on acetyl-l-carnitine has used 500mg capsules, three times per day.

Recommended Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplement: NOW Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 mg, 200 capsules

Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B-6 is a water-soluble vitamin that can be found in a wide range of foods, as well as being available as a dietary supplement. As with the rest of the B-vitamins, vitamin B-6 has a multitude of cognitive benefits. Vitamin B-6 plays an important role in regulating mood and preventing mental fatigue because B-6 is needed for your brain to produce serotonin.

The University of Oregon reported that according to a few studies, there is an association of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s and low vitamin B-6 levels. Some additional studies have linked having low vitamin B-6 levels to cognitive, but it hasn’t really been proven whether supplementing with B-6 improves memory in people without dementia and Alzheimer’s. Regardless, vitamin B-6 is an essential micro nutrient with a wide range of health benefits. Also, be sure to eat your bananas – one banana provides 34% of your daily vitamin B-6.

Recommended Vitamin B-6 Supplement: Life Extension Vitamin B-6, 250 mg