July, 2022 - Science Nutrition Lab

Top 7 Best Supplements for Mental Fog

Do you feel fuzzy, tired, or just “off”? It could be mental fog.

Millions of people deal with mental fog every day.

Fortunately, the right supplements can help. Some supplements support cognition and mental wellness. Others energize the brain, boost focus, or even enhance memory formation.

Keep reading to discover the top 7 best supplements for targeting mental fog and supporting your brain.

Caffeine, Coffee, and Green Tea

Caffeine, when used in moderation, is one of the best ingredients for mental fog. In fact, some see caffeine as the world’s most popular nootropic (brain boosting) ingredient.

Caffeine is a stimulant that interacts with pathways in your brain involved with focus, memory formation, and attention.

Drink a cup of green tea daily. Green tea contains ingredients like L-theanine that nullify the negative side effects of caffeine. L-theanine may also have its own brain boosting properties.

Coffee and tea are also rich with antioxidants to support your brain. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in your brain, which could help clear up brain fog.

The combination of antioxidants, L-theanine, and caffeine could be a winning combination against your brain fog.

Of course, many people struggle with brain fog even with caffeine. For many people, a cup of coffee (or even a pot of coffee) has little impact on brain fog. In fact, some people experience worse brain fog with caffeine.

Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

We mentioned antioxidants above. However, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables could provide further defense against brain fog.

Fruits and vegetables are rich with natural antioxidants like anthocyanins that neutralize free radicals in your brain, helping with brain fog and mental wellness.

Vitamin C Supplements

Fruits and vegetables are also rich with vitamin C, one of nature’s best antioxidants. Vitamin C is known for its effects on immunity but it can also impact brain health.

In one 2019 study, researchers found people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood tended to score better on memory, attention, response time, and concentration tests than people with low levels of vitamin C.

One of the best ways to raise vitamin C levels in the bloodstream is to eat more fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, you can take a multivitamin or a vitamin C supplement.

B Complex Supplements

Low B-vitamin levels are among the most common causes of mental fog.

B-complex vitamins are crucial for physical and cognitive energy. If you have chronically low energy levels, then you may not be getting enough B vitamins in your diet.

Some of the most common symptoms of B vitamin deficiency are also common symptoms of mental fog, including:

  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of focus or poor cognition

Consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement to help with brain fog. In one study, researchers found a vitamin B12 supplement enhanced cognition in 84% of participants and improved memory and attention in 78% participants. The study involved 202 people with cognitive issues, mental fog, and low B-vitamin levels.

Vitamin D Supplements (or Sunshine)

Have you been outside in the sun lately? If not, you could be at a higher risk of experiencing mental fog.

Your body starts to produce vitamin D when sunlight touches your skin. Approximately 10 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure is enough to get your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D.

However, due to climate, latitude, and seasons, you may be unable to get your daily recommended sunlight exposure. In this situation, you may want to take a vitamin D supplement. A vitamin D supplement can deliver an equivalent dose of vitamin D to support cognition and overall health and wellness.

Multiple studies have linked vitamin D to cognition and mental fog. In this 2020 study, for example, researchers connected vitamin D deficiency to depression. Other studies have linked vitamin D to mental fog and other cognitive issues.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids are well-recognized for their effects on brain health. Many experts recommend getting omega-3 fatty acids daily for brain health and cognition.

In one study, researchers took a group of 176 people with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These people took 1.16 grams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA for six months. After six months, researchers observed significant improvements to episodic and working memory compared to a group that took a placebo.

Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is easy: eat more fatty fish. Or, buy a fish oil or krill oil supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for memory, cognition, and overall brain health.

Magnesium Supplements

If you don’t get enough magnesium in your diet, then you could experience mental fog.

Some of the symptoms of low magnesium include:

  • Brain fog
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Worse responses to stress

The most common food sources of magnesium include green and leafy vegetables like spinach along with legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Magnesium supplementation could be more important as you get older. In this study, researchers found a group of 2,466 adults over 60 performed better on cognitive function tests (including attention and memory tests) and had lower risk of cognitive impairment when they had higher magnesium levels compared to those with lower magnesium levels.

Other studies have connected magnesium to focus, attention, depression, and anxiety, among other cognitive conditions.

You can add more magnesium to your diet. Or, you can take a magnesium supplement.

Final Word

You don’t need to suffer with brain fog.

There are science-backed ways to target and relieve brain fog. The supplements listed above can support your body’s natural defense against brain fog, helping you support memory, cognition, focus, and more.

Take a Science Nutrition Lab at-home blood test today to discover your nutritional deficiencies – and discover the root cause of your brain fog.

Dietitian Versus Nutritionists: What’s the Difference?

Many people use “dietitian” and “nutritionist” interchangeably. However, they’re different professions.

Dietitians and nutritionists work in similar fields but have different backgrounds and certifications.

To help you get the best and most science-backed nutritional advice possible, here are some of the differences between dietitians and nutritionists.

Dietitians Must Be Certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

In the United States, all dietitians must be certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Otherwise, they cannot practice as a dietitian.

Once certified, a dietitian can recommend specific foods to treat various health conditions.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics certifies dietitians as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, or RDNs. An RDN is qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT), which means they recommend specific foods to take to manage certain health conditions.

After receiving RDN certification, dietitians may provide medical nutrition therapy in a private practice (say, by opening their own clinic or working for someone else). Or, they could work in a hospital, school, nursing home, food company, or public health office.

Nutritionists May or May Not Be Certified

Some nutritionists are certified, while others are not.

Unlike dietitians, nutritionists do not have a single, all-encompassing certification board like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Instead, some nutritionists are certified by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS).

Other nutritionists are certified clinical nutritionists (CCNs), which means they have been certified by the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board.

Some states require nutritionists to be certified by the BCNS, CCN, or other organizations.

However, other states require no certification for nutritionists whatsoever. Instead, it’s legal for anyone with any qualification not offer nutritional advice to another person, regardless of whether they have 20 years of experience or took a 20-minmute online course.

Nutritionists May Specialize in Certain Fields

To be clear, the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists is a legitimate and well-respected organization.

Nutritionists can specialize in different areas. They can learn how to use food to treat different disorders.

Some nutritionists specialize in areas like:

  • Sports nutrition
  • Digestive disorders
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Keto dieting
  • Weight loss

Other nutritionists are generalists: they provide general information about using food for health and wellness, weight loss, and other areas, for example.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Qualifications & Training

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics verifies dietitians have met certain qualifications before they can practice as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

To become an RDN and be certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification from a regionally accredited university or college in the United States
  • Receive approval for coursework from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Complete 1,200 hours of supervised practice via an ACEND-accredited program
  • Complete an exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Complete additional professional education requirements periodically to maintain registration

Nutritionist Qualifications & Training

Some nutritionists complete additional training, while others do not. Many nutritionists receive certification from the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (to become a CCN) or the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (to become a BCNS).

To begin training to become a CCN, the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board requires an individual to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a Bachelor of Science (BS), Masters (MS), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), or Doctor of Science (ScD) degree
  • Hold an advanced professional degree in another licensed healthcare field
  • If you meet these qualifications, then you must complete additional requirements to become a CCN. Specific requirements vary based on personal background and experience:
  • If you have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, then you must take a minimum of 3 course hours on topics like biochemistry, microbiology, and human physiology to become certified
  • If you have a more advanced degree, like a nursing degree or an ScD, then you can complete fewer training hours
  • Once training is complete, all CCNs must pass an exam
  • CCNs must complete ongoing training every 2 years to maintain their CCN designation

Once qualified, a CCN can provide personalized recommendations to clients for weight loss, exercise, supplements, and stress relief.

To become a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), meanwhile, nutritionists need to meet the following qualifications:

  • Hold an MS or doctoral degree in nutrition or a related field
  • Complete coursework from a regionally accredited institution
  • Complete 1,000 hours of documented, supervised practice
  • Complete a BCNS accredited exam
  • Maintain certification with continuing education credits every 5 years

Once these qualifications are complete, the BCNS recognizes the individual as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS).

Overall: Dietitians Versus Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists both provide recommendations on using food to treat various diseases and illnesses.

However, the two professions have different qualifications.

Check your nutritionist or dietitian’s qualifications to ensure you’re receiving the best advice possible from a registered, certified, and experienced professional.

Top 6 Most Overrated and Overpriced Nutritional Supplements

Some people spend thousands of dollars per year on useless supplements.

They buy supplements backed by zero scientific evidence, for example. Or, they take supplements when they’re already getting enough of a specific ingredient in their diet.

Today, we’re highlighting the top 6 most overrated and overhyped nutritional supplements.

Testosterone Boosters

You can find testosterone boosting supplements at bodybuilding stores, big box retailers, and even pharmacies.

Unfortunately, there’s little evidence these supplements actually raise testosterone.

Instead, many of these testosterone boosters work by increasing blood flow or sex drive, making it feel like you have higher levels of testosterone.

Meanwhile, some of the less reputable testosterone boosters contain dangerous ingredients, stimulants, and artificial chemicals that have other, less desirable effects on your body.

Instead of taking a testosterone booster, the best way to increase testosterone is by:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Limiting stress
  • Exercising in moderation, including strength training

If you can do these three things, then you’ll increase testosterone more than any testosterone booster on the market.

Fat Burners

Want to lose weight without dieting or exercising? Fat burner supplements claim to be an easy and instant solution.

These fat burners all work in a similar way:

  1. Take one or two capsules per day
  2. Avoid dieting or exercising
  3. Lose significant weight in days or weeks

That’s it!

As you might expect, there’s little science behind most fat burner supplements. The best way to lose weight is by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program – not by taking pills.

Fat burner supplements may contain some valuable ingredients – like caffeine, which is the world’s most popular fat burner. Studies show caffeine can induce thermogenesis, encouraging your body to burn fat.

Some fat burners also contain green tea, which is rich with an ingredient called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant linked to fat burning.

However, you don’t need an overpriced fat burner to get caffeine or green tea: just drink tea or coffee daily to enjoy similar fat burning benefits.

Metabolism Boosters

Some nutritional supplements claim to boost your metabolism.

These supplements are targeted to people who feel like they have a “slow metabolism.” You might struggle to lose weight, for example, because you have a slow metabolism.

It’s true: some people have a faster metabolism than others.

However, there’s no evidence that taking a dietary supplement can boost metabolism, increase your metabolic rate, or have a significant impact on the number of calories you burn per day.

Instead, the best and most proven way to boost metabolism is to exercise. Exercising increases the number of calories your body burns. Your body also continues to burn calories after the workout. If you want to maximize calorie burning, then exercise – don’t take a metabolism booster.

Nitric Oxide or Blood Flow Boosters

Many bodybuilders take nitric oxide boosters to raise blood flow before a workout.

These nitric oxide boosters claim to raise nitric oxide levels within your body, widening your blood vessels to improve blood flow. It gives you a better “pump” at the gym while boosting endurance.

Unfortunately, there’s little evidence that supplements can increase levels of nitric oxide in your blood.

Instead, many nitric oxide boosters contain stimulants like caffeine that trick you into thinking you have higher blood flow. You may feel better blood flow because of the stimulant, but it’s not because of higher nitric oxide levels in your body.

Instead, the best way to increase blood flow before a workout is to drink water before your workout. Staying hydrated will increase blood flow.

Garcinia Cambogia and Other Herbal Diet Pills

Garcinia cambogia has been one of the world’s most popular diet pill ingredients for the last decade. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence garcinia cambogia (and most other herbal diet pill ingredients) can help you lose weight.

The garcinia cambogia craze occurred after a single, small study linked garcinia cambogia to reduced appetite and better fat burning.

Today, supporters describe how garcinia cambogia is “rich” with natural fat burning ingredients like hydroxycitric acid (HCA). That may be true, but there’s no evidence that garcinia cambogia diet pills can block your appetite, activate fat burning, or make it easier to lose weight.

Instead, the best way to lose weight is to follow a healthy diet and exercise program. There are no herbal shortcuts to weight loss – no matter what garcinia cambogia supplement companies may try to tell you.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it plays a crucial role in muscle development, joint health, and overall health and wellness.

Unfortunately, taking a collagen supplement won’t help you look 10 years younger overnight, nor will it eliminate all joint pain and wrinkles.

In fact, most collagen supplements are useless because our bodies already produce enough collagen. If you follow a healthy diet, then your body is already getting the collagen it needs. Taking a collagen supplement doesn’t change that.

However, collagen supplements may be useful if you’re deficient in collagen, have a low-protein diet, or have other dietary deficiencies. In this 2019 study published in Nutrients, for example, researchers found a collagen supplement improved skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density in a randomized, placebo-controlled, blind setting.

Final Word: Buy the Right Supplements

A good supplement supports your body’s deficiencies to support optimal health.

A bad supplement does virtually nothing.

Buy the right supplements today to ensure you’re getting the best value.

A single Science Nutrition Lab blood test identifies deficiencies, making it easy to take the right supplements.

Take a simple, at-home test today to discover your optimal supplement regimen.


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