Amid post-debate cognitive concerns, doctor recommends 3 natural supplements to boost brain power


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As doctors continue to discuss President Joe Biden’s concerning speech patterns and behavior during Thursday night’s presidential debate, Dr. Nicole Saphier is focusing on natural remedies for cognitive function.

“Cognitive decline is a hot topic right now,” Saphier — who is an associate professor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and director of breast imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Monmouth, New Jersey — said during a Sunday appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”

A proponent of natural remedies and herbs for certain aspects of health, Saphier recommended a trio of supplements to help improve mental focus and prevent dementia.

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“When it comes to improving memory and reducing the risk of cognitive decline, my three favorites are Bacopa monnieri, ginkgo biloba and ginseng,” she told Rachel Campos-Duffy of Fox News Channel.

In studies with human participants, all three supplements have been shown to improve memory, improve visual recognition and potentially decrease the risk of cognitive decline, according to Saphier.

Nicole Saphier

Dr. Nicole Saphier appeared on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday to discuss natural remedies for optimizing cognitive function. (Fox News)

Some of the studies have even linked these supplements to a longer life span, she said.

“Now as we know, when it comes to dementia, oftentimes it only gets worse and doesn’t get better,” Saphier said. 

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“So you want to be eating healthy and leading a healthy life before it happens, to try and decrease your risk.”

Bacopa monnieri, ginkgo biloba and ginseng are all natural plants, Saphier emphasized.

“I like to take them in liquid nutraceutical forms, because that gets absorbed the best,” she recommended.

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Dr. Saphier, a Fox News medical contributor, recommended taking this trio of natural herbs to help boost brain power. (Fox News)

The doctor also pointed out that all supplements are not created equal.

“A lot of herbal supplements don’t really have positive benefits — they’re more of a marketing scheme,” she said.

“But there are some things that are backed by science, and that’s the only stuff I talk about.”

Here’s a deeper dive into the three she recommends. 

1. What is Bacopa monnieri?

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) — also referred to as Brahmi — is a plant that’s been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, according to WebMD.

The plant could help to increase chemicals in the brain that assist with learning, memory and other cognitive functions, the website stated.

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri can be added to hot water to make tea. (iStock)

It also could potentially serve as a protective mechanism against Alzheimer’s disease, per WebMD.

Bacopa is generally safe for adults to consume by mouth in doses of 300-600 mg daily for 12 weeks, and can be added to hot water to make tea.

WebMD recommends speaking with a doctor first to determine optimal dosage, potential side effects and interactions with other medications.

2. What is ginkgo biloba?

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is derived from an extract taken from the tree species’ fan-shaped leaves, according to Mayo Clinic’s website.

“While some evidence suggests that ginkgo extract might modestly improve memory in healthy adults, most studies indicate that ginkgo doesn’t improve memory, attention or brain function,” Mayo Clinic states.

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Gingko can be consumed in a pill, extract, capsule or tea.

“Don’t eat raw or roasted ginkgo seeds, which can be poisonous,” Mayo Clinic warns.

Gingko

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is derived from an extract taken from the tree species’ fan-shaped leaves. (iStock)

While gingko is generally safe for healthy adults to consume in “moderate amounts,” experts say it is best to consult your doctor about potential side effects and drug interactions.

3. What is ginseng?

A popular herbal medicine, ginseng is a plant that has long been used in medical treatments in Asia and North America, according to WebMD.

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Although more research is needed to confirm its benefits, some studies have linked ginseng to improved mental focus.

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“There’s some early evidence that ginseng might give a small, short-term boost to concentration and learning,” stated WebMD.

A popular herbal medicine, ginseng is a plant that has long been used in medical treatments in Asia and North America.

A popular herbal medicine, ginseng is a plant that has long been used in medical treatments in Asia and North America. (iStock)

“Some studies of mental performance have combined ginseng with extract from leaves of the ginkgo tree, another traditional remedy said to help with dementia. While these studies are intriguing, many experts feel we need more evidence.”

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Ginseng can be consumed in the form of dried herbs, tea, capsules or powder, per WebMD.

As with any supplement plans, it’s always best to talk early on with a doctor about dosage, side effects and drug interactions. 



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