If you want to maintain your brain health, there are specific vitamins you should prioritize, omega-3s, probiotics, and, perhaps most importantly the B vitamins.
The “B” in B vitamins might as well stand for brain health because your brain is in serious trouble without enough of these essential nutrients. B vitamins are a brain-saver. Many studies have shown how B vitamins help slow mental decline in older people with memory problems.
Thiamin or Benfotiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), biotin, vitamin B6 (also known as Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate in its best form), methylated folate, methylated vitamin B12 — all of these vitamins play a specific role in the health of your nervous system.
Vitamin B12, for example, helps maintain your body’s myelin sheath, the protective coverings that shield your nerves from harm and allow them to communicate. In addition, B12 prevents brain shrinkage. Folate (B9), B6, and B12 work together to help your body eliminate excess homocysteine, an amino acid that if elevated in the body can show a vitamin deficiency, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Unfortunately, this amino acid can be toxic to your nervous system and even lead to neurodegenerative diseases.
Then there’s vitamin B3 (also known as niacin). This B vitamin is involved in almost every aspect of brain cell function, including protecting your brain cells from oxidative stress and repairing your DNA.
That may explain why B3 has been shown to help repair brain damage caused by a stroke and reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk. It may also be why B3 could potentially fight another serious neurological disorder - Parkinson’s disease.
But B3 isn’t the only B vitamin linked to Parkinson’s. Deficiencies in B12 and B6 may also be connected to the disease. Eating more foods with B6, for example, reduces your risk of developing the disease. B12 levels tend to be lower in people with Parkinson’s than in the general population.
A deficiency of B1 (Thiamine) has also been shown to cause many autoimmune diseases. Thiamine is fundamental to our body to burn sugar; it acts as a “spark in the engine.”
Optimizing B-Vitamins For A Healthy Brain
Whether you’re looking to prevent Parkinson’s disease, improve your overall brain health, lower your risk for Alzheimer’s, help relieve pain from neuropathy, or lower your risk for heart disease, you must give your body the B vitamins necessary to maintain a healthy nervous system.
But first, you should make sure you’re not unknowingly robbing your body of B vitamins. The following factors could make you deficient:
- A high daily intake of sugar
- Refined and processed foods
- Medications, such as antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy, birth control, and hormone therapy
- A vegetarian diet
A study performed by University of Cape Town, Oslo, Oxford and the UAE has shown that B vitamins aren’t as effective in people with low levels of Omega-3. Without adequate Omega 3’s, B12 supplements have little to no effect. But for those with high baseline Omega-3 levels, B vitamins effectively prevented cognitive decline.
The foods highest in B vitamins tend to be animal products – fish, tuna, lamb, beef, and sardines.
It is also important to discuss methylation when discussing B vitamins. Methylation is the process of attaching methyl groups to a compound to produce other compounds or protect an existing compound from damage. This process is essential to good health and well-being as it contributes to a wide variety of bodily functions, such as:
- Production of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, vitamins, and cell membranes.
- Energy production, immune function, and detoxification.
- Repairing and building DNA, brain activity, and mood balancing.
- Healthy inflammatory response, homocysteine management, and neurological function.
- Folic acid and Vitamin B12 are essential cofactors in the methylation process.
About Folic Acid – The terms “folate” and “folic acid” are often used interchangeably. It is a member of the B vitamin family. It is necessary for methylation reactions in that it is required to donate or transfer methyl groups and donate its methyl group to homocysteine to produce methionine for producing SAMe, the principal methylating agent in the body. Folate is also required for the healthy development of cells, brain function, and protection from cell damage.
To learn more about how B vitamins can help you, call Doctor’s Nutrition today at 228-897-0070.
B12 5-MTHF: ~ The most stable, bioavailable, and active form of folate and Vitamin B12 ~ Recommended for methylation, cellular health, and child-bearing years/pregnancy* ~ A preferred form of folate for the support of homocysteine management, heart health, brain, and nerve function.
Also check out our Methyl Core. This formula goes beyond conventional usage and provides unparalleled methylation support.