As a dietary psychiatrist, I always aim to maintain a healthy diet. A lot of this has to do with making sure I get all the vitamins I need, especially when it comes to preventing cognitive decline.
Given that the risk of developing neurological diseases increases with age, I am often asked by my patients, “What is the best vitamin to protect our aging brain?”
Each of our microbiomes is like a fingerprint, so a truly effective nutrition plan is tailored to a person’s unique needs. But the group of vitamins I prioritize to keep my brain young and healthy is the B vitamins.
Benefits of vitamin B for the brain
Depression, dementia, and dementia are often associated with vitamin B deficiency. A study from the Wayne State University School of Medicine found.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common than we think as a cause of cognitive problems, especially in elderly people who live alone and are malnourished,” said Rajaprabhakaran Rajaretinam, a psychiatrist and lead author of the study.
There are eight different B vitamins, each with their own health benefits:
1. Increase your energy.
Vitamin B1or thiamine, the main function of our cells and is very important for the metabolism of nutrients for energy.
The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in your body, so it needs thiamine support to prevent deficiencies that can lead to neurological problems.
2. Grinding of medicines.
Vitamin B2or riboflavin, serves as a helper for enzymes in our cells that carry out important reactions in the body and brain.
It also helps cells grow, produce energy, and break down foreign materials such as fats and drugs.
3. Reduce inflammation.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, works with more than 400 enzymes to produce materials the body needs, such as cholesterol and fat, and to convert energy for all organ systems. Niacin is also an antioxidant that helps reduce excess inflammation.
4. Support overall brain health.
Vitamin B5or pantothenic acid is essential for making a molecular compound called coenzyme A, which helps enzymes in our bodies make and break down fatty acids for energy.
It also helps our cells produce essential fats and helps create acyl transporter proteins. The brain is primarily made up of fat, so pantothenic acid is one of the most important vitamins to support brain health.
5. Fighting diseases.
Vitamin B6or pyridoxine, is notable for its role in disease prevention, as proper levels of this vitamin reduce the risk of several cancers.
Additionally, pyridoxine helps with many chemical reactions in the body that support immune function and brain health.
6. Helping cells communicate better.
Vitamin B7, commonly known as biotin, is the most effective, regulating cell signals for rapid and communication in the body. In the brain, it is essential for cellular signaling through neurotransmitters.
7. Keeping you balanced.
Vitamin B9or folic acid is a popular supplement and essential vitamin for supporting brain and neurological health, optimal neurotransmitter function, and balanced psychological health.
Another benefit is that it helps detoxify the cells.
8. Help your heart.
vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an essential vitamin for the formation of red blood cells and DNA and for supporting the development and function of the nervous system.
B12 also supports the breakdown of homocysteine, which can adversely affect cardiovascular health and lead to dementia in excess.
Best Vitamin B Foods
I’m a “foodie first” person, so I encourage people to include foods that contain these vitamins in their diet. However, our diet is not perfect, so there may be times when supplements can help. If so, my simple advice is to “test, not guess” – and consult your doctor first.
Product News B vitamins are the easiest to add to your diet because single B vitamin-rich foods contain most, if not all, of the B vitamins when consumed as a whole food.
Here are six foods rich in B vitamins that I eat every day:
1. one egg Contains about a third of the recommended daily value of vitamin B7, while containing small amounts of most of the other B vitamins.
2. Yogurt High in vitamins B2 and B12, as well as natural probiotics that support gut health and mental health. I love plain Greek yogurt for extra protein.
3. Vegetables like black beans, chickpeas, edamame, and lentils can all help boost your mood and brain health. They are an excellent source of vitamin B9, and contain small amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5 and vitamin B6.
4. Salmon naturally rich in all B vitamins, especially vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Be mindful of the source of the seafood, and remember that frozen or canned salmon is also a budget-friendly option.
5. Sunflower seeds Vitamin B5 is one of the best plant sources. You can get 20% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin from just one ounce of seeds!
6. Leafy vegetables for example, spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are excellent sources of vitamin B9. This is the first food I recommend to patients who want to lift their spirits.
Dr. Naidoo nutritional psychiatrist, brain expert and faculty member Harvard Medical School. He is also the director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and a best-selling author. “This is Your Food Brain: The Essential Guide to Surprising Foods That Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More.” follow him twitter the and Instagram.