News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Monday, September 21, 2015

Focus Factor

Focus Factor is a cocktail of 40 ingredients, half of which can be found in any basic multivitamin/mineral pill and many in foods as well. 

Ingredients in Focus Factor include the following:

• Choline, a type of fat that is plentiful in foods. It is important for the brain and nervous system, but there is no evidence that consuming extra choline will do anything for memory.

• DMAE, a brain chemical that helps the body produce choline. As a supplement it is sold for everything from reducing facial wrinkles to making you smarter. But it’s very unlikely that DMAE can do any of this.

• DHA. This is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish. The idea that eating fish and its oil is good for the brain persists, and maybe there’s some truth in this.

• Vitamins, such as C, E, B6, B12, and folic acid. Elderly people with low blood levels of B vitamins are more likely to be mentally impaired. That may simply reflect their poor diets, as well as reduced absorption by the body. It’s unlikely that well-nourished people can improve their memory by taking vitamins.

• An herbal bouquet, including huperzine A, vinpocetine, and others. Huperzine is under study as a potential Alzheimer’s drug. There is no solid evidence that it works. It is sold for memory enhancement in Europe, but there’s no proof that it, or any of the other herbs in Focus Factor, is effective.

Claims, purported benefits: Improves memory and mental abilities.

Bottom line: This formulation is not backed by research. No product on the market will boost your memory. The manufacturer also sells a formulation for children. Children don’t need this product—it won’t smarten them up in school, and there’s no evidence it’s safe for them.

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