Which Vitamins Are the Most Important For Your Brain Health?

Your brain works like a master computer, processing thousands of bits of information that your senses feed it all throughout the day and then sends messages back to the body in a feedback loop. As a result of all of the heavy lifting your brain does, the brain is the most metabolically active organ in your body, accounting for over 20% of the total energy your body expends.1 In order to keep your brain healthy, you need to feed it a steady flow of oxygen, glucose from digested foods to provide fuel, and a broad array of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Some of the most critical vitamins for the health of the brain are B vitamins. These essential vitamins support the health of the nervous system, allow the body to use and store energy from foods, and promote the ability of blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.1 Eight B vitamins make up the B complex, which includes thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Many of these B vitamins are naturally found in foods that you eat, (such as leafy greens, legumes, seeds, nuts, and fruits) but as many as 40% of Americans are deficient in at least one form of vitamin B12.4  

This family of vitamins can cross the blood brain barrier – this chemical barrier protects your brain by blocking undesirable compounds from reaching the brain while allowing other beneficial substances (such as B vitamins) to pass through.5 These vitamins serve several purposes in the body, including breaking down and releasing the energy from digested food, maintaining the health of the nervous system, supporting the formation of hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen in your blood), and promoting the healthy formation of red blood cells.

Memory, problem-solving, and sentence formation are all thought to have a positive link to adequate amounts of vitamins B6, B12, and B9.5 Additionally, some studies have linked a lower vitamin B12 status with decreased brain volume, age-related memory decline, and lower scores on tests that measure thinking, reasoning, and memory.6  

B vitamin supplements are also available in supplement forms. To add a B vitamin formula to your nutritional regimen, select a formula that provides all or most of the B vitamins, especially in fermented form. A high-quality, fermented complex B vitamin formula may help provide excellent support for whole-body health as well as the health of your brain. Is your master computer ready for a B-vitamin brain tune-up?  

References

  1. Raichle, Marcus E, and Debra A Gusnard. “Appraising the Brain's Energy Budget.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 6 Aug. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC124895/. 
  2. “How Does the Brain Work?” InformedHealth.org [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 31 Oct. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279302/. 
  3. “B Vitamins and Folic Acid.” NHS Choices, NHS, 2017, www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/. 
  4. “Your Genes May Include You In The 40% of Vitamin B12 Deficiency, But One Supplement Can Help.” EmaxHealth, www.emaxhealth.com/13955/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-genetic-link. 
  5. “Can Vitamin B Boost My Brain Power?” Empoweryouthealth.org, www.empoweryourhealth.org/magazine/vol10_issue1/can_vitamin_b_boost_my_brain_power. 
  6. Boyles, Salynn. “Low Vitamin B12 May Speed Brain Shrinkage.” WebMD, WebMD, 26 Sept. 2011, www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20110926/low-vitamin-b12-may-speed-brain-shrinkage#1.