The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Optimized Mental Performance
Although we’ve grown up knowing vitamins as essentials for better digestion and immunity, the fact of the matter is that we also need vitamins for better cognitive health. The brain, just like any other part of the body requires a complex synergy of neurochemical processes. Maintaining just the right kind of balance provides an ambient environment for good mood, better reasoning and most importantly, excellent memory. The best brain vitamins and minerals for a healthy mind are ones capable of protecting against degenerative diseases, controlling excitatory and protecting cell membrane as follows.
Vitamin B is available in eight variants namely Vitamins B1 all the way to B7, B9 and B12. Vitamin is also known as Thiamine. Its main role is to convert the food we eat into an instant source of energy (glucose). Glucose is broken down to produce energy and enhance metabolism. Let’s also not forget that Thiamine is quite useful in streamlining the nervous system functions. In the womb,
Vitamin B1 is required to ensure the fetus’ brain develops properly. In life, the same vitamin plays a major role in ensuring the vast nervous system network receives and conveys information as expected. A healthy nervous is particularly important for the healthy functioning of the brain.
Vitamin B2 is particularly important for the brain because of its detoxifying abilities and ability to facilitate a healthy metabolism. Also known as Riboflavin, B2 plays an important role in the breakdown of carbohydrates into usable energy form which is also known as ATP. For this reason, Riboflavin deficiency is often associated with some serious side effects including brain fogging and lack of focus.
Vitamin B12 is one of those vitamins that can literary turn your mental capacity around. Not in a bad way. In fact, B12 does a pretty decent job of increasing your brain capacity particularly by enhancing the delivery of oxygen to brain cells. High levels of oxygen translate to a faster rate of energy breakdown in the mitochondria and that results in more brain energy.
While at it, B12 also helps mitigate chronic neuron-degenerating ailments including dementia, schizophrenia, and autism. Above all, this vitamin can help minimize oxidative stress. Balancing recovery and stress is an important part of enjoying better mental health and can even help slow down the aging process. Simply put, B12 is a super-vitamin that we all need to keep the brain conditioned to work at its utmost potential.
Vitamin B Complex
B-Complex is like a cocktail of vitamins and it, therefore, brings together the likes of Vitamins A, B, C, B6, B12, pantothenic acid and folic acid. As you would expect, this extensive combination of nutrients is quite effective in tackling diverse brain-related problems. For starters, we all need B-Complex to create new red blood cells. As you might expect, the more red blood cells we have, the higher the levels of oxygen is conveyed to the cells.
Insufficient levels of oxygen in the brain can lead to a myriad of issues including a partial shutdown. Therefore, by stocking up on this all-in-one vitamin, you can make a major step in restoring any damaged cells or neurons. Of course, continued taking of Vitamin B-Complex is often associated with better memory retention in the long-term.
Choline is one of those macronutrients you cannot afford to compromise on. Although it is naturally available as a complex compound known as phosphatidylcholine, it is eventually broken down into water-soluble choline. This is needed for normal development of the liver, muscle movement, and nerve function. Choline plays quite a few role in our well-being and ultimately in brain health. These include:
Choline is highly involved in the process of formulating new DNA strands, otherwise known as methylation. Methylation is further associated with better nerve signaling abilities. Simply put, methylation is that natural process that simply keeps our “software” updated. This is achieved through a complex process of gene transcription where choline is actively utilized.
(2) Acetylcholine Synthesizing
You should think of acetylcholine as your car’s transmission fluid. This chemical is heavily involved in the transfer of nerve signals from one nerve ending to another. Discovered in 1914, this chemical is associated with muscular contraction which further aids in the functioning of essential organs such as the cardiovascular system.
(3) Re-awakening Short-Term Memory
The more your acetylcholine levels decline, the higher the likelihood to be forgetful. In fact, most cases of Alzheimer’s disease are attributed to this phenomenon. What you need to know is that your nerve cells respond directly to your levels of choline. The lower these levels are, the faster your never cells die. This eventually leads to major disruptions in thought processing. So, as you can see, it is really important to stock up on choline.
Vitamin C is scientifically proven to dissolve toxic protein aggregates which are responsible for the buildup of the Alzheimer’s disease. Besides that, the vitamin which is also known as Ascorbate is important for the healthy functioning of the brain as it participates as a co-factor to facilitate various reactions. Indeed, this vitamin is a much sought-after catalyst in the regulation of HIF-1 alpha and collagen production. High levels of Ascorbate are required to prevent tumor metastasis, poor patient prognosis, and angiogenesis. Most importantly, this vitamin comes in handy in restoring dead brain cells by initiating the process of cell differentiation.
Magnesium proudly bears the title “mineral par excellence”. An interesting fact about it is that it is required in over 300 processes in the body. 50 of those processes are in the brain. That is to say, we can’t survive without this essential mineral. But beyond survival, having high concentrations of magnesium in your system can help a lot in improving neural plasticity. This is important in energy production. However, past research indicates that approximately 70 percent of the population is magnesium deficient. Are you one of them? Here’s how to tell if you need to stock up on this mineral.
(1) Poor Cognitive Processing
This is characterized by short buts of brain fog, memory issues, and poor concentration. This is mainly attributed to the fact that the brain’s mitochondria are heavily reliant on magnesium of energy production. High levels of magnesium are associated with improved learning and memory.
(2) Frequent Headaches
Frequent headaches are often associated with exotoxic effects on the brain cells. This happens when the brain is over-stimulated in order to sustain the required neural transmission rates due to inter-neural blockages caused by toxins. High levels of toxins play an essential role in nerve function, especially in neurotransmitter production.
(3) Other Symptoms of Magnesium Shortage in the Brain
You can always tell that you’re running low on this important mineral if you experience fatigue. Indeed, magnesium is involved in quite a number of enzymatic processes, and its deficiency leads to chronic stress and fatigue. Insomnia is yet another complaint amongst those suffering from magnesium shortages. This is because magnesium is directly involved in the production of a natural relaxant known as GABA. Shortage of this relaxant ultimately affects one’s sleep quality.
Ever heard the story that children who are brought up eating fish have higher IQ points than those who are brought up eating processed food diets? Well, as it turns out, that story could have some elements of truth in it. Consider this – fish are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Yet these fatty acids are all we need to build enhanced neural connections and further create a barrier protecting nerves throughout life. And that’s not all:
(1) Reduced Anxiety
These fatty acids come with natural anti-depressant properties which do a pretty decent job of ridding you of depression or anxiety. This further promotes mental clarity which boosts your productivity.
(2) Oiling Up the Brain
A well-oiled brain is an essential part of healthy development. In that regard, Omega-3 Fatty Acids come in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) both of which are well known for improving mental health. In addition, both EPA and DHA are associated with faster multiplication and renewal of brain cells. This slows down the process of brain aging among other detrimental effects on brain development.
Iron is definitely one of the most studies nutrients involved in brain development. But did you know that iron further regulates genes in the brain? To begin with, this mineral aids in the synthesis of Myelin. This is a fatty coating which covers nervous endings. Optimal levels of myelin are required to mediate in speed processing. Therefore, it goes without saying that taking adequate amounts of iron can help improve the rate at which you process information. But that’s not all.
(1) Iron Promotes “Feel Good Effect”
You need adequate dosages of iron to aid the production of Dopamine. If you’re familiar with nootropics and the entire biohacking stuff, chances are that you already have an idea what dopamine is. And yes, you need it to sustain a good mood throughout the day. Also, high levels of dopamine help keep you motivated all day long.
(2) Even Brain Development
The brain comprises of different sectors. Each sector plays a different role in our lives. Consistent levels of iron are required to ensure these different regions attain the required developmental trajectories. What’s more? Vulnerable regions of the brain if supplied with iron can develop better and cell degeneration can be minimized.
If there is one mineral that is critically needed in the brain – that has to be zinc. Scientists agree that zinc is important in axonal and synaptic transmission. Put simply, this mineral is so important in promoting metabolism and enhancing brain tubulin growth that we cannot survive without it. Lack of it usually leads to DNA impairment, in addition, to build up of toxins in the brain. And that’s not all – there is a myriad of complications from not taking zinc and these include:
(1) Poor Neurological Function
Low zinc levels are associated with diminishing attention spans. In fact, a study documented in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that providing at least half the recommended daily allowance of zinc can improve attention, significantly.
(2) Poor Transmission
Sure, magnesium is important for the transmission of nerve impulses, but you need zinc to expedite the process. Zinc impacts the basic structure of the Ion Channels, thereby increasing the levels of transmission and a steady heartbeat. This leads to better mental health, improved alertness and of course, better productivity.
Copper is one of the micro minerals that may sound unimportant but in reality, it calls for the shorts when it comes to wellness. Indeed, copper deficiency has a direct impact on metabolism. Did you know that shortage of copper can actually cause dementia? Without copy, your entire antioxidant system grinds to a halt. That leads to massive toxic build up which eventually slows down brain functions.
What’s more? Low levels of copper lead to faster degeneration of brain cells among other body organs. Unfortunately, despite its importance in the body, the body cannot process copper all by itself. That means you have to obtain it through supplements and copper-rich foods. Some benefits of optimal copper levels in the body include:
(1) Stable Energy Supplies
Fatigue is one of the symptoms of copper deficiency. Indeed, low copper levels are associated with an exponential increase in cholesterol levels and this causes a myriad of health risk including slowing down your metabolism. No doubt, copper plays an essential role in blood circulation.
Enhanced blood circulation leads to enhanced oxygen supplies and, therefore, higher rates of glucose oxidation. Long story, short, the more you indulge in copper-rich foods and supplements, the higher the likelihood you will remain active and focused all day long.
(2) Clear Mind
As we have already seen, copper deficiency leads to toxic buildup. This then slows down all other brain activities including energy breakdown. The end result is brain fogging, reduced focus and fatigue. Therefore, routinely stocking up on this essential mineral is important to ensure optimal operation of the brain.
A healthy mind equals a healthy life. Therefore, by taking proactive steps to replenish your basic supply of brain vitamins and minerals, there’s absolutely no reason why your productivity should dip. Remember, the brain remains the most important organ in the body. It controls all other activities in the body. In a modern world, an optimally performing brain is much-needed for better grades at scholar and stellar performance at work.
Each day that passes means we run out of one or two things we need to be at our level best. While it’s possible to regain any deficient minerals and vitamins through diet, that in itself is a lengthy process. Supplements offer a faster and much more effective way to rebuild especially when time is of the essence.