Top 5 Nutrients for Brain Health

How to Get Healthy Nutrients You Need Now

Vitamins, minerals, probiotics, essential fats – so many nutrients needed for your overall health.

Do you know the most important nutrients for your brain?

There are certain nutrients that improve and reduce the risk of dementia, development with a growing infant, mood improvement, and reduce risk of memory loss.

We will discuss the brain boosting benefits of probiotics, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, and Omega-3s.

OMEGA-3S

Arguably Omega – 3s is the most important nutrient for a healthy brain. Omega-3s is a essential fat.

Your brain is basically 60% fat if you take away the water weight. 25% of the fat is Omega-3s; particularly the omega-3 called “DHA” (docosahexaenoic acid).

Omega-3s have many different functions in the brain – such as — they help nerve cells insulate their electrical signals, stabilize membranes, and reduce inflammation.

When you are pregnant it is essential to get enough Omega-3s to help with the baby’s intelligence and reduce the risk of behavioural problems. This obviously is critical for baby’s brain development!

Having higher blood levels of Omega-3s people tend to be depressed. Several studies have shown that people with mood swings, anxiety and depression start taking Omega-3 supplements and some of their symptons improve.

Studies have shown – in terms of age-related decline that people with higher Omega-3 intakes have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

So – We get it – they are great for the Brain – how do I get enough omega-3s?

You can get enough of the recommended amount of omega-3s including DHA, by eating two servings of fatty fish each week.

SO that’s simple – eat a wild salmon one time and wild shrimp the next. Scallop tacos and possibly a Cod Salad another two servings for the week.

I know they now have Vegan (Non-Fish) oil supplements, too.

Fish oil supplements recommend 500 – 1000 mg per day – this should be good on a daily basis.

VITAMIN D

Another Vitally important brain nutrient is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is both a neurotrophic (helps nerve cells grow) and neuroprotective (protects nerve cells). There are Vitamin D receptors in areas of the brain involved with depression.

Prenatal vitamin D is suppose to have an important role in brain development, psychological function, cognitive function (ability to think). Children born of mothers who have low blood levels of vitamin D – studies have shown they have a higher level of schizophrenia later in life. This needs to be shared!

Low levels of Vitamin D in adults have been linked with multiple sclerosis, cognitive impairment, depression and Parkinson’s Disease.

So, how can you get enough vitamin D?

Obviously we all know that you can get sun exposure and have your skin make vitamin D. Then you need to be careful of not getting too much sun, type of clothes you have on, clouds, etc. Next is concern for skin cancer.

Supplementing your vitamin D might be the way to go.

You can get Vitamin D in a few foods such as liver, eggs, fatty fish. Being a Vegan – best source is mushrooms and/or a supplement.

It would be a good idea to include Vitamin D in your blood tests.

A safe recommendation taking a vitamin D supplement would be to read the label. Never take more than 10,000IU/day. If your Doctor tells you to take a different amount – always follow them.

B VITAMINS

B Vitamins are important for brain health and there are several essential Vitamin B’s – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12. It is a fact that Vitamin B deficiency is a leading cause of neurological impairment and disability throughout the world!

B Vitamins are important for your brain health because each one is actively transported across the blood brain-barrier. Your body has to spend energy to pull B Vitamins into the brain. Many of these vitamins are found in much higher concentrations than in the blood.

B Vitamins work together and with enzymes. These means they have roles in your brain health. Included in these are antioxidants, helping the nerve cells, maintain their structure and function, help the brain produce energy (your brain needs lots of energy). B vitamins are also necessary for production of essential neurochemicals as well.

Having chronic low levels of vitamin B is associated with depression, ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis), some psychiatric conditions, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Low levels of B12 in particular are associated with symptons of mental disorders, smaller brain size, and poor memory.

Some of the benefits of vitamin B on brain health seem to work with Omega-3s – so make sure you get enough of both.

We can get Vitamin B from plants, except for vitamin B12. Vegetables, fruits, leafy greens are great sources of Vitamin B. By eating animal products – those that ate plants – you will be getting some B vitamins. SOme foods even have Vitamin B added to them – see the labels.

Basically Vitamin B12 is found in algae, meat, fish and eggs.

You can purchase vitamin B supplements as individual or as a B complex. Some of the B complex may not contain Vitamin B12 – so read your labels. If you avoid animal products you may need to take a Vitamin B12 supplement.

MAGNESIUM

What do we need magnesium for? This essential mineral is used by our bodies for over 600 functions. Energy production, nerve function and blood presssure are some of these important functions.

When you body has a magnesium deficiency there have been associations with stroke, Alzheimer’s, depression, headaches, migraines and brain diseases.

Magnesium helps neurons control the flow of calcium into and out of the cells. If there is not enough magnesium – can cause nerve cell damage.

Having an efficient amount of magnesium has been shown to improve moods, can help with migraines and reduce other symptons.

Foods highest in magnesium are potatoes, legumes, nuts and spinach.

Magnesium supplements are available in many formats – best to take the ones without oxide because they are easily absorbed and cause less digestive disturbances. Magnesium comes as magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride, and magnesium sulfate.

PROBIOTICS

There has been new research about gut-brain connection, and this has great potential to help us all use food and supplements for optimal brain health. You do eat your cruciferous vegetable everyday?

There are friendly health-promoting microbes living in your gut. On the other hand, probiotics are similar microbes that you can eat and supplement with. These are what turn milk into yogurt, and cabbage into sauerkraut. They are great for your brain and gut as well.

Studies have shown that after a couple of weeks of feeding your body probiotic foods or supplements, healthy people’s sad moods reduce and negative thoughts disappear. More studies have shown that depression, stress, anxiety were improved after consuming probiotics. A recent study also showed that people diagnosed with depression took probiotic supplements and their symptoms improved as well.

Some studies have shown a reduction symptons of multiple sclerosis has been helped with probiotics.

SUMMARY

In summary overall there are several key nutrients for having optimal brain health. They are Omega-3s, vitamin D, B-vitamins, magnesium, and probiotics.

There are wide ranch brain benefits – such as helping a developing baby’s brain, improving moods, symptons of depression, MS, to reducing dimentia like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Much of these work together – important to keep a daily consistent balance.

Best to get a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally-processed foods to meet your daily needs and sometimes supplements will help.

For more information and resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26706022

http://physrev.physiology.org/content/95/1/1.full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19271419

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4019002/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046737/

http://physrev.physiology.org/content/95/1/1.full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16542786

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12656203

http://www.jabfm.org/content/28/2/249.long

What are you putting into your body?

What are you feeding your brain?

How much time do you plan to take time to care for your body? You have to live in it!

Are you part of the 1% that writes your goals and what you consume is part of this?

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