brain

Nutrients for Brain Health

How’s Your Brain?

How’s your memory? Do you forget things more often than you used to? It could be normal memory loss caused from brain shrinking that happens when you age. However, if you go through abnormal brain shrinkage, this can affect your mood, movement, and cognition. It can also lead to stroke.

Brain shrinkage can be contributed to by cardiovascular disease. In a study, it was found that coronary artery disease patients had significantly smaller amounts of grey matter, and performed worse on cognitive tests.

Contributing Factors

The condition can be worsened by obesity, stress, sleep disorders, and diabetes. Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, no exercise, cigarette smoking, and excessive drinking can also contribute.

Homocysteine, an amino acid linked with heart disease, can be regulated with B-complex vitamins. Dementia and brain shrinkage can be caused by excessive homocysteine, particularly when you’re B vitamin deficient.

How Can I Help It?

According to neuroscientists, brain shrinkage can be slowed with lifestyle changes. As well as improving diet and regular exercise, there are four nutrients you can take to help protect your brain.

In particular, B-12, B-9, and B-6 are effective in preserving brain volume.

You can find B-12, or cobalamin, in dairy, meat, and fish. The body uses it to metabolise fatty acids, which are an important for brain cells. B-12 deficiency can cause brain shrinkage 5 times faster than those with higher levels.

Folate, or vitamin B-9, is found in leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, and organ meats like beef liver. One study showed that higher folate levels reduced brain atrophy rates. Folate also increases the timespan in which dementia develops.

Pyridoxine, or vitamin B-6, helps your brain to produce neurotransmitters, and helps you absorb B-12. It is found in brown rice, some legumes, and in a range of animal products.

Research

In 2010, a controlled trial was conducted that involved adults over 70 years of age who had mild cognitive impairment. They were given folate, vitamin B-12, and a small amount of vitamin B-6 daily for two years. They experienced brain shrinkage 30 percent slower than the control group. The participants that had high levels of homocysteine at the beginning of the study experienced a 53 percent reduction in their brain shrinkage rate.

Here at Natures Naturals, we stock a range of supplements for brain function.