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Looking for some ways to fight brain fog or boost your thinking skills? Look no further than these 3 vitamins for the brain, guaranteed to give you more brainpower and mental clarity.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is one of the most essential nutrients for brain health. This “brain vitamin,” which occurs naturally in animal-based foods, is known sustain healthy brain mass in old age, as proven in a Finnish scientific study on Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have concluded that elderly individuals diagnosed with dementia who manage to maintain health vitamin B12 levels have more brain mass than those with vitamin B12 deficiency, and score better in cognitive testing, as well.
Without sufficient levels of vitamin B12, you may experience a decline in cognitive functioning skills, including:
Decreased ability to perform math calculations
Short attention span
To find out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood screening. Even if you eat a diet rich in B12-foods like beef, poultry, and fish, you may still be at risk, as a significant number of people are unable to absorb vitamin B12 from food sources.
Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Family history for pernicious anemia
Gastrointestinal disorders, including GERD and Crohn’s disease
Gastric bypass surgery
Vitamin D is proven to benefit your brain’s nerve cells, in addition to boosting your ability to perform thinking skills involving processing information, forming strategies, and building memories.
Most of us get enough vitamin D from the sun; other sources of vitamin D include vitamin supplements and fortified dairy products.
Pregnant moms-to-be and nursing mothers are advised to supplement with vitamin D for their baby’s cognitive development.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked with poor brain health, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include:
Living in areas with limited sunshine
Wearing full-body coverings outdoors
To make certain that you get enough vitamin D for brain health, do the following:
Go out in the sun every day
Visit a safe tanning salon, and take vitamin D3 supplements
Take 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D supplements per day
It’s no surprise that fatty acids like omega-3’s are such brain boosters- more than half of your brain’s matter is made up of fats. Specifically, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) accounts for 25% of the omega-3 fatty acids found in your brain.
DHA-type omega 3 fats are animal-based, meaning you can only find them in protein sources such as fish, liver, and organ meats. (All of which, by the way, are also rich sources of vitamin B12, another brain vitamin.)
Insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids may result in damage to the nervous system. Many researchers also suggest a link between omega-3 deficiency and brain disorders such as dementia and mental illness.
In a several studies, 800-900 mg of DHA supplements prescribed to elderly individuals with dementia resulted in a significant improvement in memory, learning, vocabulary, and other cognitive skills.
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A recent study on brain health proves that people who eat a diet rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B12, have healthy brain functioning, and are least likely to suffer from memory problems caused by aging. Here are the results of the study that focused on senior brain health in relation to diet and nutrition.
Eat this to avoid brain shrinkage…
According to a study published by Neurology, senior citizens in their 80’s who eat a combination of foods high in vitamins and nutrients have better cognitive skills and more brain volume than seniors who fail to meet the requirement. Blood tests indicated which senior citizens had the highest levels of vitamins like B12 and B6, and which elderly individuals had vitamin deficiency.
The study found that the following vitamins are conducive to good brain health:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid)
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Scientists also noted that foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for optimal brain health.
…and avoid eating this
Scientists also noted decreased cognitive functioning and less brain volume in senior citizens who ate foods high in trans fats, including fried foods, pizza, margarine, and high-fat packaged goods.
Which foods are highest in vitamin B12?
Here is a list of foods that contain brain-healthy vitamins such as B12, taken from Medline Plus:
Vitamin B1, Thiamine: yeast, cereal grains, beans, nuts, and meat
Vitamin B2, Riboflavin: milk, meat, eggs, nuts, enriched flour, and green vegetables
Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine: cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs
Vitamin B9, Folate: leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts
Vitamin B12, Cobalamin: meat, fish, and dairy products
Vitamin C, Ascorbic acid: fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and greens
Vitamin E: vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens
Vitamin D: egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver
How do I know I’m getting enough vitamin B12?
Even if you eat plenty of foods high in B12- lean beef, chicken, seafood, eggs, and cheese-, you are not immune from vitamin B12 deficiency. People who lack intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach to absorb B12 from food, cannot digest vitamin B12 and are at risk for developing pernicious anemia.
The following individuals must have their vitamin B12 levels checked regularly through blood testing:
Patients of gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
Anybody who has had a gastric bypass, or any other surgery involving the removal of the ileum
Diabetics on metformin
Acid reflux sufferers taking medication for chronic heartburn
If you feel tired all the time, then join the club- the vitamin B12 deficiency club, which is becoming the top cause of chronic fatigue allover. Vitamin B12 is crucial for brainhealth, and if you don’t get enough, you run the risk of suffering the red blood cell disease pernicious anemia- one of many vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
Why am I so tired all the time?
Fatigue causes you to feel sluggish, slow, confused, and constantly in a “brain fog.” You’re exhausted before you even step out of bed, and all day at work. On the drive home, you catch yourself several times nodding off at the wheel. By the time you’re ready to pack it up and call it a day, you’re almost too tired to change into your pajamas, sorely tempted to climb into bed, clothes, shoes, and all.
Why are you so tired all the time? Many conditions can cause chronic fatigue, and most of them begin with vitamin B12 deficiency.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is of the vitamin B complex vitamins, and occurs in foods like beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Some of the best sources of vitamin B12 are organ meat, lean turkey, crabmeat, halibut, and yogurt. Normally, sufficient amounts of B12 are stored in your liver, unless you are prone to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Tiredness is at the core of the most common symptoms of B12 deficiency: depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, short-term memory loss, disorientation, trouble concentrating or remembering words, painful numbness or tingling in hands and feet, loss of balance while walking, muscular feebleness, and insomnia.
Here are some illnesses and chronic conditions linked to vitamin B12 deficiency:
Sometimes, pernicious anemia is the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 helps your body produce healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen. With pernicious anemia, you have a shortage of vitamin B12, which leads to a shortage of red blood cells, which in turn causes a severe reduction in oxygen throughout your body, including the brain.
The resulting effect is overwhelming tiredness, lightheadedness, and an inability to concentrate.
Scientists found that a high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and sufferers of fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease that causes symptoms such as severe pain, skin sensitivity, sleep problems, and chronic fatigue.
People with gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis- have extreme difficulty absorbing vitamin B12. Symptoms such as sluggishness, diarrhea, and unexplainable exhaustion might be confused with IBD symptoms; in fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is a likely culprit that often is overlooked.
Vitamin B12 supports cognitive functioning- low B12 levels are common among people suffering from severe psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, clinical depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Tiredness is one of many complaints of people suffering from depression and anxiety.
Vitamin B12 helps your body regulate the amount of homocysteine in your blood. High levels of plasma homocysteine are strongly associated with heart disease and stroke. By breaking down homocysteine, and thus reducing the risk for heart disease or stroke, vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular health.
Treatment for B12 deficiency
A blood test is necessary in order to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency. Not all doctors screen for low B12, so you will need to request a plasma vitamin B12 test. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe B12 injections or sublingual B12.
We all know that following a healthy vitamin-rich diet is great for your cardio health, immune system health and a healthy complexion. But what about brain health? Here are 10 foods that make you smarter!
Foods that restore mental clarity, improve memory and maintain a healthy nervous system often contain high doses of vitamin B12.
Conversely, if you don’t get enough vitamin B12, you may start to feel sluggish, confused, and forgetful. Several studies have linked vitamin B12 deficiency with short-term memory loss, “brain fog” and age-related dementia.
Below is a list of the top 10 brain foods:
Shellfish are excellent brain foods, and some of the richest sources of vitamin B12. Oysters also contain zinc and iron, two ingredients that help with attention and memory retention. Besides oysters, other good B12-rich shellfish delicacies are shrimp, mussels and crab.
If you don’t enjoy shellfish, you might find fresh fish fillets more to your liking, which are also rich sources of brain-boosting vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids. The best catches for B12 are salmon, tuna and herring.
Dark green salads such as spinach and cabbage are high in vitamin B6, folate and iron, all of which are essential for producing red blood cells, supporting cardiovascular health, and maintaining cognitive integrity.
Black, red and blue-skinned berries are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and maintain a healthy response to inflammation.
Additionally, berries such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries contain flavonoids, an ingredient that enhances memory skills.
7) Nuts and seeds:
Whole, raw, unprocessed nuts and seeds contain essential nutrients such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6; these are excellent for cognitive functioning, boosting memory and balancing the mood.
Eaten in moderation, all species of nuts and seeds are healthful, such as almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
The ancient Chinese have always held that sipping steaming mugs of green or black tea throughout the day improves mental clarity and fights fatigue. Today, we attribute the benefits of tea leaves to catechins, a chemical which is valued for its ability to support brain functioning.
Wheat germ, bran, brown rice, oats and barley are all high in folate, which help the brain by improving blood flow. They are also high in vitamin B6, which is also helpful for maintaining memory retention in people with dementia.B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms
Ground cocoa is high in antioxidants, which are essential for brain health. Avoid fatty milk chocolate in favor of extra dark, 99% cocoa-rich bars, such as Lindt Excellence.