Marketers are keen to tell you about the importance of anti-aging vitamins for your skin and hair, but did you know there are also vitamins you can take to keep your brain sharp?
A recent study, published in the journal Neurology, showed that vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, help older brains to function better.
People with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to perform better on cognitive tests and have healthier blood vessels in the brain. Omega 3 is found in relatively few foods; the main source is oily fish and very small amounts are also found in walnuts and flax seeds.
There are eight different varieties of B vitamins, all of which are essential for a healthy body and brain. Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9 (folate) and B12 are thought to promote cognitive function in older people.
B vitamins are found in many foods, including whole grain cereals, pork, liver and leafy green vegetables. However, it can be very difficult to get the correct balance of B vitamins from your diet. Taking a vitamin B supplement ensures that you get all the B vitamins you need in the correct ratios. You can get your Nature’s Way Vitamin B-100 Complex which includes 100 capsules for our daily use.
Found in fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits and tomatoes, vitamin C has long been associated with good health. The result of vitamin C deficiency is a condition known as scurvy, of which one of the common symptoms is depression. The minimum recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men, but some doctors suggest that smokers and the elderly take a higher dose of around 200 mg per day to keep the brain and central nervous system working well.
The body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun. If you spend less time outside or cover up more than you used to, your vitamin D levels may be dropping. Counter the drop by taking a daily vitamin D supplement containing at least 800 IU (20 micrograms). Vitamin D deficiency is known to be associated with seasonal depression, which suggests that it has a vital role in maintaining healthy brain function.
The antioxidant vitamin E protects the brain from damage by free radicals, which are responsible for many of the harmful effects of aging. Adults and the elderly should be getting at least 15 mg of vitamin E each day.
Vitamins for Older Adults
Older people, who are most in need of vitamins to protect brain health, are unfortunately the most likely to lack them. As digestive systems age, they become less effective at taking the nutrients we need from food. A daily vitamin supplement can help to compensate for this natural effect of aging and help the brain to stay sharp and alert.
Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging
Recommended daily amounts taken from NIH MedlinePlus website: