Do Concentration Vitamins Really Work?

Having trouble concentrating at work? If so, you may be thinking it's time to start taking vitamins to give your brain a boost. Vitamin supplements are often touted for their various benefits, including improved brain health, but before you run down to the local pharmacy to pick up a few bottles, do vitamin supplements really work to improve your concentration? If so, which vitamins should you be looking for?

According to Harvard Health Publishing, 25% of adults over 50 reportedly take supplements with the goal of enhancing their memory and focus, yet there is still no conclusive research that confirms that vitamins have a meaningful effect when it comes to improving brain health. "The main issue with all over-the-counter supplements is lack of regulation," says Dr. Gad Marshall, associate medical director at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Many brain supplements will incorporate certain combinations of vitamins because there is evidence that some diets containing these vitamins and minerals can improve brain health. "But what is not clear is whether it's the combination of nutrients in these diets that's beneficial, or whether it's specific ones or even certain amounts, or some other factors," Marshall says. "Still, this doesn't mean that the brain supplements may not work," says Dr. Marshall. "It's just that there is not much, if any, evidence from randomized clinical trials — the gold standard for research — on isolated vitamins or minerals and brain health."

Which vitamins might improve concentration?

If you're not able to get enough of your vitamins from food, then you should at least know which vitamin supplements to look for that can potentially address your concentration issues.

Vitamin B3, or niacin, tops Livestrong's list when it comes to vitamins that might improve concentration. This is because a deficiency in niacin can lead to neurological symptoms, such as poor concentration and memory loss. They also suggest vitamin C, which is associated with brain and nervous system health, and vitamin B6 because of its key role in producing several neurotransmitters. And B12 makes the list for the important role it plays in insulating the nervous system, which helps to ensure proper brain function. 

At the end of the day, though, you should not be relying entirely on vitamin supplements to improve your brain health. Dr. Marshall advises that you instead focus on eating a plant-based diet since food is the best source for vitamins, as well as keeping up with a regular exercise plan. Chances are that making these adjustments will be more effective, not only when it comes to improving your concentration, but also as a better long-term health practice.