Each year, Americans spend more than $600 million on over-the-counter (OTC) “cognitive enhancement” supplements that make wild promises to improve your memory and mental focus overnight.
But we know very little about what actually goes into many of these products. In fact, Harvard researchers recently completed an in-depth investigation into some of these “brain booster” supplements. And what they found was quite alarming…
“Brain booster” pills contain unapproved prescription drugs
For this investigation, Harvard researchers searched two databases for brain enhancement products labeled as containing one of four related prescription drugs: omberacetam, aniracetam, phenylracetam, or oxiracetam.
These drugs belong to a class of drugs known as “racetams,” which supposedly help people feel more energized and focused. And they’re all analogs (or derivatives) of a drug developed in the 1950s and 60s called piracatem. Even though they’re approved for use in some other countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never approved any of them for use in the U.S., as they’ve been poorly researched and vary in potency.
Not to mention, these drugs can cause of range of serious side effects. In fact, research links some of them with agitation, increases or decreases in blood pressure, drug dependence, insomnia, hospitalization, and sedation. They also interact with some common prescription drugs, such as blood thinners.
Yet according to the Harvard investigation, 10 popular “brain booster” products sold on the open market in the U.S. contained at least one of these four unapproved drugs. Plus, upon further testing, they found that one product alone contained three unapproved drugs—and another contained four!
Worse yet, some products even contained three additional unapproved prescription drugs NOT listed on the label: phenibut, picamilon, and vinpocetine. In other words, when people took these products, they had absolutely no idea that they contained these substances!
And they certainly aren’t benign…
In fact, one of the unlisted drugs, phenibut, is used as an antiseizure medication. And we know it’s highly addictive and often misused as a recreational drug. Plus, the researchers found some serious dosing problems…
Up to four times higher than the “recommended” dose
When the researchers started to pinpoint exactly HOW MUCH of these drugs the supplements contained, they were really shocked…
Overall, for those products with drug quantities transparently declared on the label, a whopping 75 percent of them were inaccurate.
Plus, the dose per serving listed on the label was in some cases up to FOUR TIMES higher than the “recommended” dose prescribed by doctors in those other countries where the drug is actually approved. For example, some products contained up to 41 mg of omberacetam per dose, when the typical dose prescribed by doctors is only 10 mg.
Unfortunately, the Harvard researchers didn’t name the offending products. And that’s tragic—because, apparently, you can still find these products online and on shelves in retail stores. The easy solution is to skip them all!
So, until the FDA takes some action to get this junk off the market, make sure you avoid falling prey to these dangerous, gimmicky “brain boosters.” Instead, look for quality supplements from a trusted source that contain simple, time-tested, science-backed, natural ingredients that support the brain, such as:
- 500 mg berberine (from barberry)
- 12 mg lutein (carotenoid)
- 400 mg blueberry fruit, water-soluble powdered extract
- 600 mg grape plus wild blueberry extract
- 400 mg turmeric (curcumin)
- 5 mg pyridoxine (B6)
- 800 mcg folic acid (Folate)
- 20 mcg cyanocobalamin (B12)
- 2.5 mg thiamin
Studies show these natural ingredients work well to prevent and even reverse dementia and memory loss. In fact, blueberry extract seems to support long- and short-term memory in children and adults with or without dementia.
You can learn more about the many natural approaches to preventing and fighting dementia in my Complete Alzheimer’s Fighting Protocol. In this online learning protocol, I give you specifics on how natural approaches like drinking coffee, eating right, taking supplements, exercising, and incorporating mind-body techniques have been scientifically shown to fight AD in a whopping 90 percent of people. Click here to learn more, or to enroll, today.
“Five unapproved drugs found in cognitive enhancement supplements.” Neurology Clinical Practice (Journal of the American Academy of Neurology), 9/23/2020. doi.org/10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000960
“Brain-Boosting Supplements May Contain Unapproved Drugs.” Consumer Reports, 9/24/20. (consumerreports.org/dietary-supplements/brain-boosting-supplements-may-contain-unapproved-drugs/)