You already know that a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains are necessary to stay healthy, but brain vitamins are just as important. According to the latest studies, there are certain types of vitamins that improve your memory, increases alertness levels, enhance your mood and even deters Alzheimer’s. According to several health experts, eating the healthiest foods and taking the right vitamins play big roles in keeping your brain healthy.
Vitamin E is one of the top vitamins for brain because it works as a protective antioxidant against brain disorders. Based on a detailed study conducted at the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y headed by Aimee Shunney, ND, it turns out that gamma tocopherol is even more important than alpha tocopherol when it comes to protecting your brain from damage.
Vitamin E is naturally found in whole grain flour, hazelnuts, sunflower oil, corn oil and green leafy vegetables. By consuming vitamin E your body receives gamma tocopherols and alpha tocopherols, both of which your brain needs. For optimum results, get vitamin E with mixed tocopherols and strive for 400 IU daily.
Considerable research has been done on vitamin E, and based on the reports it’s clear that the vitamin is an antioxidant which keeps your brain from being damaged by free radicals.
When it comes to vitamins for brain function you cannot ignore vitamin B because they help form brain chemicals like serotonin, epinephrine and dopamine, all of which are essential for improving your cognitive functions. In fact, each B vitamin has a specific role to play and together they form a coherent whole, which makes it essential for your brain.
Studies have shown that vitamin B is critical in early brain development and that together with other vitamins, improves metabolism. There are also new studies which demonstrate the link between vitamin B deficiency and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that the lack of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid is related to high homocysteine level, which makes you predisposed to a stroke or heart attack.
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the development of myelin, which creates a sheath or layers around the nerve fibers, effectively providing insulation. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in poultry, meats, lamb, pork, fish and veal, underscoring the need for a balanced diet.
By taking 3 to 100 micrograms of B12 a day, you won’t be vulnerable to memory loss, mental slowness, low moods and nerve damage. Vitamin B12 is especially good for older people as their ability to absorb vitamins slows down. In fact there is an increasing amount of evidence which shows that B12 may help prevent Alzheimer’s and other related disorders.
Folic acid or folate is one of the most essential vitamins for brain health because it works as a memory booster for your brain. Basically what folic acid does is increase your alertness level and second, improve your ability to focus. There is also a growing body of evidence which shows that folic acid improves your memory. Furthermore, folic acid also reduces homocysteine blood level, an amino acid that has been linked to brain damage.
Folic acid is available in different kinds of foods including whole wheat cereals, fruits, vegetables, lentils and beans. The ideal amount of folic acid is 400 micrograms a day.
Another one of those important vitamins for brain is B6, mainly because it turns 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5HTP) into serotonin, an important mood chemical. Furthermore, vitamin B6 stimulates the production of dopamine and together they improve your mood and increase alertness.
There are many sources of vitamin B6 including kale, mustard, tuna, cauliflower, turnip greens, and bell peppers among others. For the best results, make sure to take 2 to 10 micrograms a day.
Don’t be surprised to see vitamin C in vitamins for brain health, because it is a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radicals from getting to your brain and affecting its functions. For optimum results, you should get 500 micrograms of vitamin C once or twice daily. Aside from multivitamins and supplements, vitamin C is found in strawberries, potatoes, oranges, legumes and broccoli.
In a detailed study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, it was revealed that people who take vitamin C and E are 80% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, which is a testament to its importance in terms of cognitive functions.
Apart from vitamins for brain function, magnesium should be included in this list because it shields your brain from neurotoxins. Researchers have determined that magnesium has several elements that provide protection for your brain, and for optimum results you should aim for 300 mg of magnesium 1 to 3 times daily. Apart from supplements, magnesium is also available in whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts.
Omega 3 fish oil supplements have been subject to several clinical studies, and what they show is taking the supplement strongly reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and similar disorders. The herb ginkgo biloba is another one, as researchers have determined that it improves blood flow in your vital organs. Furthermore, clinical studies indicate that ginkgo biloba can be as effective in treating dementia as commercially available drugs.
Other minerals and herbs that provide a brain boost are Huperzine A or Chinese club moss and acetyl-L-carnitine, both of which show promise in terms of improving your memory. Furthermore, acetyl-L-carnitine also reduces your risk of developing a heart condition.
Finally, there’s Asian ginseng, which has been used extensively in alternative medicine to prevent fatigue. But now research shows that it could also be effective insofar as improving memory is concerned.
These brain vitamins are available in foods and in supplemental form. While it’s possible to get them in food with the right diet, multivitamin supplements is ideal because there are certain situations when you won’t be able to get the recommended daily dose from food. By using supplements, you’re assured of getting the right amount every day.