Older adults have shown a strong interest in over-the-counter
"brain boosters," many of which are marketed with grand claims touting their benefits. There are sound biochemical reasons for expecting some of these nutrients to be effective. In a review of published research, we found studies showing that some of these substances had robustly enhanced memory in lab animals and occasionally produced impressive improvements in humans as well. Nevertheless, there are numerous questions about the sample sizes in the studies, the generality of the results across different memory tests and populations, and other aspects of the procedures and data. These problems, in conjunction with a general lack of research demonstrating that the results can be replicated, dampen enthusiasm for the effectiveness of these nutrients in substantially arresting or reversing memory loss. Here is an abbreviated summary of the findings for six kinds of nonprescription compounds that are claimed to be memory enhancers and treatments for age-related memory decline.