Vitamins and minerals to keep the mind sharp
Good nutrition is imperative for normal brain function from a very young age and through every stage of life. Several vitamins and minerals play important roles in the brain and support cognitive processes such as memory and concentration.
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5 – Our brains need a constant supply of glucose to meet their energy needs. Glucose metabolism in the brain requires the presence of a number of vitamins including B1, B2, B3 and B5. Magnesium, manganese and iron are also involved in brain function.1
- Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 aids in the formation of several neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain, including serotonin, GABA and dopamine. It’s therefore important for the regulation of mental processes and mood.
- Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is required for healthy brain function and when deficient can result in cognitive changes such as poor memory and concentration.2
- Folic acid – Along with B6 and B12, folic acid is involved in the reduction of homocysteine, a compound that has been linked to cognitive decline when at elevated levels.1
- Choline – Choline is part of the B vitamin family and is needed to make acetylcholine, an important chemical messenger involved in a number of brain functions.
- Vitamin C – Nerve cells of the brain are especially high in vitamin C,1 and are involved in the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that’s important for learning and concentration. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and may help to reduce free radical damage to the body’s cells, including those found in the brain.
- Vitamin E – Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the integrity of brain cells.1
- Magnesium – Magnesium is required for over 300 metabolic reactions, many of which are important for normal brain health and function.1
Just as our body needs fuel, so does the brain. It’s therefore important to feed it a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A daily multivitamin can help top up your diet with the nutrients the body needs for a healthy brain.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
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Published June 13, 2014
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