B Vitamins and Brain Benefits


B-complex supplements typically pack all eight B vitamins into one convenient pill. This includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin).

Here, the most important ones for those with a brain injury are perhaps B6, B9, and B12. B6 involves amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production, and the creation of neurotransmitters – extremely important functions for brain health.

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Vitamin B1

images (2)Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a potent antioxidant- which you probably remember as the first thing that fights damaging free radicals.  Thiamine helps the body use carbohydrates effectively, and it is essential for metabolism. In fact, thiamine is often used to treat problems with metabolism.  A serious deficiency in vitamin B1 can result in brain problems.  Brain problems associated with vitamin B1 deficiency include confusion, memory loss, and mood changes such as apathy.  Additionally, some evidence supports the belief thiamine can help increase energy and improve learning.  People who drink a lot of alcohol might have a high risk of B1 deficiency.  The recommended dietary allowance for adults is 1.1 mg per day for women and 1.2 mg a day for men. You can find vitamin B1 in the following:

  • Yeast

  • Meat

  • Nuts

  • Beans

  • Cereal grains such oats and rice

 

 

Vitamin B6

vitamin b6In regards of vitamin B6, ncbi says, Beyond its role as a necessary cofactor in the folate cycle…the role of vitamin B6 in amino acid metabolism makes it a rate limiting cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), noradrenaline and the hormone melatonin.”  Vitamin B6 assists  the brain perform properly as it regulates the body’s chemicals, makes the body more resistant to stress, supplies energy to the muscles by working with other vitamins and minerals, and it is an essential component of cell growth.  Furthermore, vitamin B6 contriubutes to the production of hormones that help improve brain injury side-effects such as unbalanced  mood, sleep.  depression, anxiety,  and more.

vitamin b6Another responsibility of vitamin B6 is to convert sugar into glucose, which is essentially fuel for your brain, And promote General circulation of the blood which can in turn help with memory.  Additionally, Mayo Clinic claims, “Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous system and immune system healthy.”  Vitamin B6 is neccessary for brain development and a healthy immune system, both of which are often times negatively affected and in need of repair after a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Spasticity is an example of a common TBI side-effect that is involved with the nervous system.  While vitamin B6 is no a cure for TBI, or spasticity, ample evidence points out that vitamin B6 is essential for brain healing and development and healing.

 

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Vitamin B6 is available in the form of supplements and often consumed balanced diet.  Below are examples of foods that are rich in vitamin B6.

  • Whole grains

  •  Chicken

  • Rice

  • Beef

  • Lentils

  • Liver

  • Bananas

  • Avocados

  • Beef

  • Fish

  • Carrots

  • Soybeans

vitamin b6

 

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Vitamin B9

B9, or “Folate,” is required for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells, and proper cell division.  Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, helps your brain get the blood it needs.  Studies also suggest that daily supplements of folic acid can reduce the likelihood of certain age related brain problems including dementia. Folic acids main role is to maintain the cell’s genetic code, its DNA for cell reproduction.  If your body is not getting enough folic acid you may suffer from forgetfulness, a common side-effect of TBI.

 

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Vitamin B12

zinc vitaminsFinally, B12, the well-known B vitamin, is vital for neurological function, DNA production, and red blood cell development. Be sure you do not lack any B vitamins during your recovery, and talk to your doctor about possible supplementation if you are.

While all B vitamins are important for brain health, B-12 is perhaps the most important. Unfortunately, it is also the most common B vitamin deficiency in western countries. B-12 deficiency has been linked to memory loss, cognitive decline, depression, decreased mobility, and fatigue.  B-12 is critical for the production of myelin sheaths, which surround nerve cells and are essential for efficient conduction of nerve signals [18].

 

 

B-12 is important for the production of energy within the body’s cells – as a result fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of B-12 insufficiency [18].  In fact, B-12 is so important for the brain that its deficiency has been linked to measurable brain atrophy [19].  When choosing a B-12 supplement, opt for the methyl form which is more stable and readily used by the body than its synthetic counterparts.  When you just want to get better, you want to take every opportunity you can to get you there quicker. These supplements might be the missing solution you need but always consult with a trusted practitioner prior to starting any.

 

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