National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health

Follow NCCIH Subscribe to our email update Subscribe to the NCCIH RSS feed Follow NCCIH on FacebookRead our disclaimer about external links Follow NCCIH on TwitterRead our disclaimer about external links


National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

NCCIH Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

Dietary Supplements and Cognitive Function, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

December 2013
An older woman looks out the window. © iStock/fotostorm

Concerns about forgetfulness and whether it is the first sign of Alzheimer's disease are common, particularly among older patients. Your patients may also ask questions about use of dietary supplements, which are often marketed with claims that they enhance memory or improve brain function and health.

This issue of the digest summarizes current information on “what the science says” about several dietary supplements that have been studied for cognitive function, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research on several other dietary supplements to determine whether they have any effect on the progression of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease is ongoing. In addition, research on some mind and body practices such as music therapy and mental imagery, which have shown promise in treating some symptoms related to dementia, as well as alleviating stress among caregivers, is underway.

Time to Talk Tips: 5 Things To Know About Complementary Health Practices for Cognitive Function, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Read more about what the science says

Clinical Guidelines

Scientific Literature

* Note: PDF files require a viewer such as the free Adobe Reader.

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.



Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

Follow NCCIH on:

Twitter Twitter at

Facebook Facebook at

YouTube YouTube at