Despite popular use and advertisers’ claims, dietary supplements have no effect on brain health, cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, declares a new report by the Global Council on Brain Health, a collaborative convened by the AARP.

Brain health supplements such as multivitamins garner billions in sales each year, and 26% of adults age 50 and older report taking one or more to improve their functioning, the AARP states. To assess their effectiveness, the GCBH reviewed scientific evidence and source material from experts in multiple health disciplines. It noted that advertisers’ claims are not scientifically verified, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and more is not necessarily better; overuse of certain vitamin supplements may actually be harmful.

Older adults are more likely to see health benefits from a healthy diet and should consult their doctor before taking any brain health supplement, the group concludes.

“It’s tempting to think you can pop a pill and prevent dementia — but the science says that doesn’t work,” said Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP senior vice president for policy and executive director of the GCBH.

Read the report