This 1 Vitamin will keep your brain healthy and young
I always make it a point to keep a well-balanced diet because I’m a nutritional psychiatrist. Making sure I get all the necessary vitamins is a big part of that, especially because they’re crucial for preventing cognitive deterioration.
And knowing that neurological disorders become more likely as we age, one query I frequently get from patients is, “What is the best vitamin for safeguarding our aging brains?”
As our microbiomes are as unique as our thumbprints, the only diet that will actually work is one that is tailored specifically to the individual following it. However, the B vitamin family is the one I focus on the most in order to maintain a healthy and youthful brain.
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B vitamin advantages for the brain
Deficits in B vitamins have been linked to mental health issues like depression, dementia, and cognitive decline, according to research from the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
According to the study’s lead author, psychiatrist Rajaprabhakaran Rajarethinam, “a B12 vitamin deficiency as a cause of cognitive difficulties is more widespread than we thought,”, especially among the elderly who live alone and don’t eat correctly.
Each of the eight types of B vitamins has its own set of key health benefits:
1. Medicines are being metabolized.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, aids enzymes in cells that catalyze vital events in the body and brain.
It aids in cellular expansion, energy generation, fat metabolism, and the breakdown of exogenous elements like pharmaceuticals.
2. inflammation reduction.
Niacin, often known as vitamin B3, collaborates with more than 400 enzymes to manufacture the cholesterol and fat the body needs as well as to transform energy for all of our organ systems. In addition to being an antioxidant, niacin reduces inflammation.
3. supporting the general health of your brain.
For our body’s enzymes to generate and break down fatty acids for energy, coenzyme A, a chemical complex made from vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is necessary.
It also helps our cells synthesize acyl carrier proteins, which aids in the production of essential fats. Since fatty tissue makes up most of the brain, pantothenic acid is a crucial vitamin for maintaining brain function.
4. combat illness.
A healthy amount of vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, has been linked to a reduced risk of several different types of cancer, making it a prominent player in the fight against disease.
Pyridoxine also supports a number of biochemical processes in the body that maintain healthy immunological and cognitive functions.
5. improving cell communication
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is essential for proper cell signaling and timely, accurate communication throughout the body. It plays an essential role in the brain’s cellular signaling via neurotransmitters.
6. Keeping you in check.
Vitamin B9, often known as folate, is a popular supplement and an important vitamin for brain and neurological health, appropriate neurotransmitter activity, and psychological balance.
Another advantage is that it promotes cellular detoxification.
7. Taking care of your heart.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is required for the formation of red blood cells and DNA, as well as the development and operation of the neurological system.
B12 also aids in the breakdown of homocysteine, a protein that, in excess, can have a harmful impact on cardiovascular health and lead to dementia.
8. Enhancing your vitality.
Thiamin, often known as vitamin B1, is essential for the basic operation of our cells and the conversion of foods into energy.
The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in the body, thus it needs thiamin to prevent deficits that can lead to neurological issues in the future.
The best sources of vitamin B
Being a “food-first” advocate, I usually tell people to eat more of the foods that naturally contain these vitamins. Our diets are far from ideal, therefore there may be times when taking a supplement is beneficial. In that scenario, I would suggest that you “test, not guess” and instead make an appointment with a medical professional.
Fortunately, B vitamins are some of the most convenient to incorporate into your diet, as foods strong in one B vitamin typically contain many, if not all, of the B vitamins when ingested as whole meals.
- Salmon: There are several B vitamins in salmon, however, the most abundant ones are B2, B3, B6, and B12. Keep in mind that frozen or canned salmon can save you money if you’re watching your budget, and always consider the source of the seafood you eat.
- Sunflower seeds are a great plant-based source of vitamin B5, which is essential for proper brain function. Simply eating one ounce of these seeds can provide you with 20% of your daily vitamin needs.
- Leafy greens: Vitamin B9 is abundant in dark, leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, and cabbage.
The first thing I recommend to patients who are feeling blue is this meal
- Legumes: eating legumes like black beans, chickpeas, edamame, and lentils can improve your mental and emotional well-being. They contain a good amount of vitamin B9 and even trace levels of B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6.
- Yogurt: Natural probiotics and vitamins B2 and B12 can be found in abundance in yogurt, promoting both physical and mental well-being. Greek yogurt is one of my go-to snacks because of the high protein content in its simple form.
- Egg: In addition to a modest quantity of all of the other B vitamins, one egg provides a third of the daily intake for vitamin B7.
By Dr. Uma Naidoo a professor at Harvard Medical School and a specialist on the effects of nutrition on the brain.
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