The Best Vitamins for Brain Health

When it comes to keeping your brain healthy as you age, your diet plays a big role. Eating a variety of foods is critical to getting the vitamins and nutrients your brain needs to continue performing at its best.

“a Great collection of literature It was found that certain nutrients, flavonoids, trans fats, and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with slower cognitive decline and a reduced risk of dementia.” Pooja Agarwal, Ph.D.He is a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush College of Medicine in Chicago.

Eating whole foods is the best way to get those nutrients. Brain health supplements don’t work as well, but they may not be a helpful option in certain circumstances (more on that later). When you eat a well-balanced diet, the combination of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats (and more) helps your body better absorb the nutrients it needs.

“Foods and nutrients can certainly help support healthy brain function and may also be able to slow age-related decline in brain function,” Robin Vorotan, MS, RDNOccupational nutritionist. “We all want our brains to be age-resistant, so that’s great news.”

So, what vitamins support brain health? And what foods can you find in it? Ahead, experts share everything you need to know.

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Omega-3 fatty acids

If you’ve ever wondered why fatty fish like salmon and tuna are always prescribed as part of a healthy diet, here’s one reason: They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat that protects the brain. anti-inflammatory effect and he Brick of cell membranes in the brain.

Omega 3 also has has been linked To lower levels of beta-amyloid, a type of protein found in the brains of people with damage linked to Alzheimer’s disease. “Omega-3 fatty acids easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier and are essential for brain structure and functioning,” explains Dr. Agarwal.

Foroutan adds that there have been some Research It suggests that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids after a concussion or other brain injury may have protective effects on permanent damage.

where can I find him: Besides fatty fish, good sources of omega-3s include nuts, seeds, and some fortified foods like eggs and yogurt. If you don’t eat seafood a lot, talk to your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement if your blood test indicates you’re deficient. Mirella Diaz Santos, Ph.D., Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Research in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles Alzheimer’s women’s movement partner.

Vitamin E

This vitamin acts as an antioxidant in the body Protects cells from oxidative stress, a type of damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules in the body), even in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress, which increases during aging and is a major contributor to cognitive decline.

Furutan adds that vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory, which helps keep DNA healthy and reproduce properly while maintaining the structure of healthy brain cell membranes.

where can I find him: Vitamin E can be found in dark leafy greens, avocados, red peppers, asparagus, mangoes, pumpkin, nuts and seeds.

B vitamins

When it comes to brain health, focus on the three B elements: vitamins B6, B12, and B9 (folic acid). These three types of B vitamins are essential for normal brain functioningAnd any deficiency in it may increase the risk of memory loss and other forms of cognitive decline,” says Dr. Agarwal.

The reason: these vitamins help Increased production of neurotransmittersor brain chemicals, that transmit messages between the brain and the body.

Increasing your vitamin B12 by taking a supplement may also be helpful for memory loss as you age, as it is a very common nutrient for older adults to develop a deficiency in, he notes. Diaz Santos.

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Where do you find them: Beans are one of the best sources of B vitamins across the board. You can find vitamin B6 in bananas, oranges, papayas, cantaloupe, tuna, salmon, poultry, and dark leafy greens. Folic acid is found in broccoli, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B12 is only found in meat and fish products. For vegetarians and vegans, nutritional yeast is a good way to get your supplies. People who follow a vegan diet have a much higher risk of developing a true B12 deficiency, so talk to your doctor or dietitian about whether or not a B12 supplement is right for you.

Vitamin C

This antioxidant is known for its immune capabilities, but for vitamin C and other flavonoids too Brain Supportpossibly by taming the inflammation that destroys the brain.

in one studyAccording to Rush University researchers including Dr. Agarwal, people who ate vitamin C-rich strawberries at least once a week were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the roughly 20-year study period.

where can I find him: Get plenty of vitamin C from kiwis, red and green peppers, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes.

Brain Health Supplements

Overall, there is a lot of mixed research and sentiment among experts when it comes to taking supplements for brain health. Most experts agree that it’s always better to spend your money on nutritious foods, but there are exceptions.

DΓ­az-Santos says that if you’re someone who has an allergy or dislike to a wide range of foods (like seafood or dairy) or your doctor finds a deficiency during a blood test, you may want to consider taking a supplement. Otherwise, a good diet for the average person should suffice.

β€œIn general, supplementation is often not beneficial for brain health unless you are deficient in certain nutrients, which it does but is rare,” agrees. Jill Livingston, MDProfessor of Psychiatry at University College London whose research focuses on dementia prevention, intervention and care.

If you choose to take a brain health supplement, it’s important to work with a medical or nutritional professional who is well versed in supplementation, Foroutan suggests. Many of these products contain mixed research or fictional advertisements that make promises that the capsule can’t deliver and supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

If your doctor or dietitian decides a supplement is right for you, there are high-quality options available. Look for a seal of approval from a third-party certification program such as Consumer Lab, NSF International, or the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), which means the product has been tested for quality, purity, and potency β€” plus it actually contains the ingredients it claims.

If you do choose to opt for brain-boosting supplements, Forotan says there are a few categories to consider.

  • Supplements that can improve blood flow (such as ginkgo biloba).
  • Nutrients that support the building blocks of the brain (such as omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Nutrients that help the body build neurotransmitters (such as L-theanine).
  • Longevity nutrients help reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline (eg B vitamins, vitamin C, D, A, E, K).

In addition to the forms of brain health supplements we’ve already mentioned, some popular brain health supplements include:


This amino acid helps calm neurotransmitters, which is great for mood and stress. Since stress negatively affects brain function, this may be beneficial along with mindfulness techniques to lower stress levels, says Forotan. else Research It indicates that the supplement may improve cognitive performance.


Search Forotan says mitochondrial nutrients are known to improve cognition and neurotransmitter function.


Foroutan says some Research It is suggested that some mushrooms, such as Lion’s Maine, Reishi, and Chaga, have been linked to brain health. These supplements are believed to protect the brain from neurodegeneration and inflammation and may improve attention, focus, mood, memory and cognition.

Ginkgo biloba

This funny addon has been shown Memory improvementForoutan adds that it supports healthy blood flow to the brain for even more health benefits.


Sometimes called “smart drugs”, Nootropic It is said to boost mood, increase creativity, and improve mental ability, energy, and focus. There isn’t a specific ingredient that makes a supplement a nootropic other than providing brain-boosting benefits, so Forotan says only certain types can help, depending on the ingredients.


Foroutan loves this supplement for brain health because it encourages attention and focus.

bottom line

To keep your mind sharp, focus on eating healthy foods that are rich in nutrients. And remember: the diet is fair One piece of the puzzle. Keeping up with other healthy lifestyle habits β€” such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and staying socially active β€” will go a long way in improving cognitive function and lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Diaz Santos adds that you should Always Pay attention to your body, and if you think something is up, bring it to your healthcare provider and stand up for yourself.

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