What are the Most Important Vitamins & Minerals for the Brain?

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The brain is the human body is the biggest energy consumer. This organ is responsible for regulating all physical and cognitive processes and it only accounts for about 2% of the body’s weight and yet it uses up to 25% of its fuel supply. To function at its optimal efficiency the brain needs constant infusions of vitamins and minerals present in the bloodstream. When its nutritional needs aren’t being met, the signals sent between neurons may slow down; the membranes that protect brain cells from damage may deteriorate; and the result may be decline in both physical capability and mental acuity.

B-Complex Vitamins

The eight B vitamins, known as B-complex, are water-soluble, meaning that the body can’t store them so the supply to the bloodstream must be replenished daily. The brain needs these vitamins to metabolize fuel — glucose — and regulate levels of homocysteine. Elevated levels of this amino acid are linked to cardiovascular disease and, according to a 2002 study conducted by Boston University and Tufts University, high homocysteine also poses a “very significant risk factor” for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Most types of seaweed are high in essential amino acids and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are all good for your health.

It is valuable in meatless diets since it is a good source of vegetable protein. Like most land vegetables, seaweed contains vitamins A (beta carotene) and C. It is also rich in potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium, which are minerals concentrated in seawater.

Vitamins C and E

Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by nerve cells that allow impulses to be transmitted to other neurons. Vitamin C is both a potent antioxidant and key for the creation of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which affects emotions, learning, sleeping and dreaming. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, but green peppers, citrus fruits, leafy greens and strawberries are among the richest sources. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, vitamin E, another antioxidant, protects cell membranes and may guard against neurodegenerative diseases. Many types of nuts, vegetable oils and whole grains are excellent dietary sources.

Most types of seaweed are high in essential amino acids and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are all good for your health.

It is valuable in meatless diets since it is a good source of vegetable protein. Like most land vegetables, seaweed contains vitamins A (beta carotene) and C. It is also rich in potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium, which are minerals concentrated in seawater.

Calcium

Much of the research done by neuroscientist Frank Miskevich of Texas A & M University has focused on the critical role calcium plays in brain chemistry, especially during its dynamic interaction with proteins inside and around neurons (neurons are the cells in the brain). This process creates “signaling pathways” that activate genes and “change the proteins that the cell is making,” Miskevich says, which changes the characteristics of the cell itself.

Calcium signaling also influences the development of neural stem cells with the potential to grow into any kind of brain cell. By strengthening connections between neurons, calcium also boosts the stability of the brain’s internal wiring.

Woman touching her face

Woman touching her face

Iron, Copper and Zinc

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, iron, a component of hundreds of proteins and enzymes, is essential for the development of certain kinds of brain cells. Zinc also has important functions in brain cell metabolism and deficiencies may impair learning, memory and ability to concentrate. A study examining copper and brain function published in September 2006 in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” found that the mineral had a previously unappreciated importance in learning and memory. “We’ve found that copper modulates very critical events within the central nervous system that influence how well we think,” said senior author Jonathan Gitlin, a pediatrics professor at Washington University’s School of Medicine.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/458766-the-most-important-vitamins-minerals-for-the-brain/