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Focus Factor fiction?

There's scant evidence the supplement will boost your memory

Last updated: May 2011

"Ever feel like your memory's in a fog?" asks the voice-over in a recent television ad for the memory supplement Focus Factor. Cue image of fog dissipating: "It's time to let Focus Factor be your memory-fog lifter." The ad says it's the best-selling memory supplement and is guaranteed to improve your memory in two weeks.

Factor Nutrition Labs, which makes Focus Factor, did not respond to our requests to see research showing that the product helps memory, concentration, and focus. So we reviewed the label, which lists more than 40 vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other ingredients. Many of them, such as vitamins C, D, E, and B vitamins, are the same nutrients you can find in a multivitamin for as little as $1 a month. Focus Factor can cost as much as $80 a month.

So what does the other $79 get you? The label lists 692 milligrams of a "synergistic" and "proprietary" blend that includes omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. But there's little or no scientific evidence that any of them can improve memory or concentration, and it has been shown that some of them actually don't help.

Even for the few ingredients that have shown promise for boosting cognition, the evidence is pretty meager, says Philip Gregory, Pharm.D., editor of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, which evaluates evidence on dietary supplements. Phosphatidylserine and huperzine A, for example, have been shown to temporarily improve memory and mental function. But the studies were small and conducted mainly in people with dementia. A couple of studies of the plant ingredient bacopa found that it boosted memory and learning in healthy adults, but more research is needed. And it's unlikely that any of the ingredients in Focus Factor are present in the quantities used in studies that looked at them individually. Nor have they been tested together.

Bottom line. Our experts recommend you forget this memory supplement—as well as Focus Factor for Kids, a formulation with even less evidence behind it.


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