This Vitamin Is the Real “Brain Food”
The B vitamins are often known as energy vitamins. They’re involved in almost every process related to producing energy. One of them – vitamin B12 – also helps you make red blood cells. It helps your nervous system run smoothly and it’s critical to making your “personal blueprint” – DNA.
B12 also helps regulate homocysteine levels. When you’re short on B12, your homocysteine levels can go way up. And so does your risk of heart trouble.
In other words, you don’t want to run short on B12. But lots of people – especially mature adults – have low levels of this important vitamin.
There are two reasons for this. First, as we get older, our ability to absorb B12 weakens. So even if you’re getting enough B12 in your diet, you may not be getting enough into your system.
The other problem is that B12 is only found in animal products. So if your diet doesn’t include enough lean protein from animal sources, you’re at risk.
Add these two risk factors together, and you could be in trouble. Especially in light of a new study linking B12 and thinking and memory problems.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center looked at people’s levels of vitamin B12 products – called “markers” – and several types of memory and thinking trouble.
They found that when these markers were low, problems were far more likely.
People low in 4 of the 5 markers – a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency – were more likely to score lower on tests of memory and cognitive skills. They were also more likely to experience brain shrinkage. And dangerous breaks in tiny blood vessels in their brain.1
In other words, low vitamin B12 levels may affect your memory and mental sharpness in several ways.
This study didn’t look at whether taking B vitamins could promote better memory and thinking ability. But other recent studies have.
A team at Britain’s Oxford University tested B vitamins – including B12 – on a group of people with mild cognition problems. 133 people were given daily B vitamins. A similar group received a placebo.
After 2 years, the vitamin B group had 30% lower homocysteine levels than the placebo group. They also showed better memory and reasoning skills.2
Taking a quality multivitamin with the Daily Value (DV) of B12 – 6 mcg – should help offset any absorption problems… or a diet low in B12.
This is especially important because B vitamins are water-soluble. That is, they dissolve in water, so your body can’t store them. Whatever you don’t need is quickly expelled from your body.
Even if you take a good multivitamin supplement, eating foods rich in B12 is helpful. Most are also rich in other vital nutrients.
Wild trout and salmon are two of the best sources of vitamin B12. Just 3 ounces of either will provide you with almost a full day’s requirement.
A cup of plain yogurt and 3 ounces of beef each contains about 25% of your B12. An ounce of Swiss cheese has 15%. And a large egg delivers 10% of your daily need.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Tangney, C.C., et al, “Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: A cross-sectional examination,” Neurology. Sep 27, 2011;77(13):1276-1282.
2 de Jager, C.A., et al, “Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial,” Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. July 21, 2011. doi: 10.1002/gps.2758. [Epub ahead of print]