Some micronutrients are essential for brain health. They help prevent dementia that can be caused by increasing inability to absorb them. The B vitamins are part of that select group. They are essential in maintaining brain neurons and pathways for the neurons.
B vitamins can be found in whole, unprocessed foods and are particularly concentrated in turkey and tuna, liver and meat products. Other good sources for essential B vitamins include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, tempeh (a whole soybean product), beans, nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast, and molasses. The elderly may need to supplement their intake of B12 and other B vitamins due to problems in absorption and increased needs for energy production.
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in cellular processes. It plays a key role in energy metabolism, and for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men is 1.3 mg/day and 1.1mg/day for women. Milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, liver, kidneys, legumes, yeast, mushrooms, and almonds are good sources.
B6 must be obtained from diet because humans can't synthesize it. The brain's synthesis of neurotransmitters, including serotonin (thought to be a regulator of mood and "happiness") is dependent on a B6 catalyst on enzymes. Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute recommends that older adults take a multivitamin/mineral supplement which provides at least 2.0 mg of vitamin B6 daily.
Other B vitamins include biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin and vitamin B12.
Good nutrition is important for proper brain development and maintenance. It's important to retain our normal cognitive function. We need our memories and the ability to think. Unique biological functions of the B vitamins work together with other micronutrients to affect brain function.
For the B vitamin group we can use a selection of whole unprocessed foods as well as vitamin supplements to maintain our brain. We just need to remember to eat the right kinds of food and remember to take our vitamin supplements.
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