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How B Vitamins Play a Role in Your Brain Health

5 minute read

19.05.2021

In these turbulent times, our brains are being bombarded like never before, from renewed COVID-19 lockdowns to rising unemployment to juggling the responsibilities of work and parenting. Research by the CDC suggests that up to 31 percent of American adults are experiencing anxiety, depression, or both.[1] Certain nutrients might not remove the stressors you’re experiencing but can help your body and brain buffer their impact. In this article, we’ll zero in on vitamins B3, B6, B9, and B12, and explore how they can boost your brain function and health.

Reducing the Impact of Stress with Vitamin B3

While you experience the impact of stress through the physical and emotional symptoms it creates, under the hood your body is constantly dealing with stressors at a cellular level. Vitamin B3 (niacin) is one of the micronutrients that can help your brain do so. Researchers from Keele University in the UK noted that several animal studies indicate niacin’s role in reducing oxidative stress in the brain. They also found that it supports DNA stability, protects your brain cells, and reduces the risk of degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.[2]

Vitamin B3 is also involved in the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan into the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin. This is likely why research – such as a review published in theJournal of Orthomolecular Medicine – supports the use of B3 to help treat depression.[3]

Enhancing Memory with Vitamin B6

B vitamins are utilized in hundreds of processes throughout your body, but some are found in greater concentrations in your brain. One of these is vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), the level of which is up to 100 times higher in your brain than in your bloodstream according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.[4] This indicates how important this particular B vitamin is to brain function, as demonstrated by a study released via Psychopharmacology, in which participants who supplemented with B6 improved both their

The authors of a paper published in Frontiers in Neurosciencecommented on the “beneficial effects of higher vitamin B6 levels on brain structure and cognition.” They went on to explain that B6 is essential for the growth of new neurons that transmit information between different regions of your brain, and that having sufficient B6 in your bloodstream helps preserve your brain’s structure as you age.[5] B6 also plays a part in regulating the amount of homocysteine, high levels of which are linked to cognitive decline.

Stabilizing Mood with Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) is always included in preA comprehensive review of the literature conducted by a trio of scientists from Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences in Iran noted that vitamin B9 might improve cognition by supporting vascular health in the brain, preventing free radical-related damage, and reducing inflammation.[6]

Writing in Nutrition Journal, Korean scientists supported these findings, noting that taking supplemental folic acid improved scores in several different cognitive tests.[7] Other studies have found that getting sufficient B9 daily can help stabilize your mood and combat depression, which may well be because of its involvement in triggering your brain to release neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine according to Psychology Today.[8]

Safeguarding Brain Health with Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is another micronutrient that plays a critical role in your brain function. It is required for the creation of red blood cells that transport oxygen to the various regions of your brain, helps ensure optimal nervous system function, and is involved in cell development and growth. It also plays a part in DNA and protein synthesis. A 2012 study found that getting insufficient B12 doesn’t merely have short-actually associated with cognitive decline that lasted as long as eight years among participants.[9]

Getting adequate B12 helps prevent anemia. It’s also crucial if you want your body to make use of the B9 you’re intaking, as the latter gets trapped in a usable form without enough of the former. Your brain needs enough B12 to convert homocysteine into methionine, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage from heavy metals and other toxins.[10] 

Augmenting Your B Vitamin Intake

While your body can store a certain amount of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (primarily in your liver), many more micronutrients are water-soluble and so are excreted daily. The B vitamins are among these, meaning that you need to replenish them continually. Eating certain foods can help increase your intake, but when you’re grabbing snacks and meals on the go, it can be difficult to get enough B vitamins consistently.

That’s why a supplement like Momentous Brain Drive can prove beneficial. Taking two capsules each morning provides therapeutic doses (i.e., the amount shown by clinical studies to make a positive difference in your body) of B3, B6, B9, and Bmood-boosting Bacopa monnieri, focus-promoting Cognizin citicoline, and stress-relieving tyrosine.[11] In addition, we added the amino acid acetyl-l-carnitine, which promotes the growth of new brain cells and elevates the release of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine that will help you think faster and more clearly.[12] 

Resources:

[1] Mark É. Czeisler et al, “Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 14, 2020, available online at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm#T1_down.

[2] Rosemary A Fricker et al, “The Influence of Nicotinamide on Health and Disease in the Central Nervous System,” International Journal of Tryptophan Research, May 2018, available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5966847/.

[3] Jonathan Prousky, “Vitamin B3 for Depression: Case Report and Review of the Literature,” Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, January 2010.

[4] Victoria J. Drake, “Cognitive Function In Depth,” Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, February 2011, available online at https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/cognitive-function.

[5] Kai Jannusch et al, “A Complex Interplay of Vitamin B1 and B6 Metabolism with Cognition, Brain Structure, and Functional Connectivity in Older Adults,” Frontiers in Neuroscience, October 27, 2017, available online at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2017.00596/full.

[6] Athena Enderami et al, “The Effects and Potential Mechanisms of Folic Acid on Cognitive Function: A Comprehensive Review,” June 2018, Neurological Sciences, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29936555/.

[7] Hyesook Kim et al, “Association Between Intake of B Vitamins and Cognitive Function in Elderly Koreans with Cognitive Impairment,” Nutrition Journal, December 17, 2014, available online at https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-118.

[8] Hara Estroff Marano, “The Folate Factor, Psychology Today, January 2, 2019, available online at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201901/the-folate-factor.

[9] MS Morris et al, “Vitamin B‐12 and Folate Status in Relation to Decline in Scores on the Mini‐Mental State Examination in the Framingham Heart Study,” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, July2012, available online at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04076.x.

[10] Lubna Mahmood, “The Metabolic Processes of Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Deficiency,” Journal of Health Research and Reviews in Developing Countries, October2014, available online at https://www.jhrr.org/article.asp?issn=2394-2010;year=2014;volume=1;issue=1;spage=5;epage=9;aulast=Mahmood.

[11] Erin McGlade et al, “The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males,” Journal of Attention Disorders, July 2015, available online at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054715593633.

[12] Giulia Di Stefano et al, “Acetyl-L-carnitine in Painful Peripheral Neuropathy: A Systematic Review,” Journal of Pain Research, April 2019, available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6498091/.


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