Brain Health

  • Is a well-known herb commonly used in dietary supplement products.
  • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there isn’t enough evidence to support the claims.
  • Safety is relatively unknown for both short- and long-term use.
  • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about Bacopa monnieri.

  • Extract from its leaves is used as an ingredient in dietary supplements products.
  • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there isn’t enough evidence to support such claims.
  • Appears to be safe for most people, but unexplained bleeding after use has been reported.
  • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about Ginkgo biloba.

  • Is a plant; its root is widely used in dietary supplements, teas, and energy drinks.
  • Many types of ginseng exist, but the most popular are Panax ginseng (Korean) and Panax quinqefolius (American).
  • These two types might help healthy adults boost brain health when used in small amounts, short term.  
  • When used long-term, could be unsafe.
  • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about ginseng.

  • Is marketed in the U.S. as a dietary suppelement, commonly listed as “Huperzia serrata extract,” “HupA,” or “Chinese club moss.”
  • Is a drug in some other countries.
  • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there is no evidence to support the claims.
  • Lacks evidence of safety, especially when used long-term, and side effects have been reported.
  • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about huperzine A.

  • Are substances intended to improve mental performance.
  • Products fall into two general categories: dietary supplements and drugs.
  • Dietary supplements have been found to be tainted with drugs or other ingredients not approved by FDA.  
  • As dietary supplements are often marketed with questionable claims not supported by science.
  • Could contain ingredients prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about nootropics.

  • Help build brain cells and maintain brain function throughout your life.
  • EPA and DHA can’t be made by the body and must be obtained from foods.
  • Are marketed as dietary supplements, but it’s unclear if they can boost brain health or cognitive performance.
  • When taken as a dietary supplement might cause minor side effects.
  • Are not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Is sometimes found in dietary supplements promoted for sleep, stress reduction, and cognitive performance.
  • Is a synthetic substance that does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient according to FDA.
  • Is a drug in some other countries.
  • Is prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about phenibut.

  • Is a plant that has been used for centuries to enhance physical and mental performance and fight stress.
  • Is promoted to boost brain health, but there isn’t enough evidence to support the claims.
  • Appears to be safe, but the safety of its long-term use is unknown.
  • Is not prohibited for use by Military Service Members.

For more information, read the OPSS article about Rhodiola rosea.

  • Is sometimes found in dietary supplements promoted for brain health.
  • Is a synthetic substance that, according to the FDA, does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient.
  • Is a drug in some countries.  
  • Is prohibited for use by Military Service Members.
  • According to FDA, poses risks for women of childbearing age due to possible adverse reproductive effects.

For more information, read the OPSS article about vinpocetine.