Best Vitamins For Brain Health
As we get older, our risk of cognitive decline increases. This happens for many reasons.
First, our cells are all aging and suffering the effects of oxidation.This includes our brain cells. Our cells are exposed to oxygen and gain energy, but also become damaged. Oxygenation causes the buildup of free radicals, agents which damage our cells and shorten their telomeres. Telomeres are regions at the ends of our chromosomes. They are like caps and they protect our chromosomes against damage. Whenever a cell divides it loses a few bases from the end, the telomere. The rest of the chromosome remains intact so the DNA is undamaged. As the telomeres shorten, our risk of cell damage and mutation grows. Mutations can result in ineffective cells, cell death, or cancer. As we grow older the number of cells with shortened telomeres increases. In our brain, this means our neurons don't function as well, and they are fewer in number. The result is cognitive decline.
Second, we tend to eat less as we grow older. That may limit the amount of fuel our brains have to work with. Although our caloric needs decrease as we get older, and our metabolism slows, sometimes we go overboard not consuming enough calories. We lose more weight than is healthy, and our brain ends up starved of glucose and ketones. This can put our brain in a permanent state of brain fog. This can also occur due to limited oxygenation. If our red blood cells, hemoglobin, or iron levels drop too low, our blood can't carry enough oxygen to our brains. We experience loss of energy and reduced cognitive abilities.
Finally, it's easy to end up in a mental rut, especially as we grow older. This is partly due to the radical changes in our sense of identity and belonging as we age. Some people find themselves feeling very isolated as they grow older, especially if, after retiring, they do not have many friends. Or they may lose friends or a partner to illness.
Many women after menopause lose some sense of self. Loss of fertility and the changes to their body shape can leave many women lacking in confidence and comfort. Many men experience sexual dysfunction around this age, and experience loss of self-worth and confidence. And becoming less active, going out less, getting less sunlight, doing fewer things, and seeing fewer people can all result in a sense of aimlessness. Together, these circumstances can cause a spike in depression and anxiety. Both contribute to cognitive decline.
Consuming the right vitamins can help us fight bad moods and mental degradation, reversing the effects of cognitive decline. Make sure your diet contains these vitamins...
Vitamin A is responsible for building up the connections between the eye and the brain, improving our eyesight. It is also essential for developing healthy skin, hair, and eyes, which is a great confidence boost as you come to terms with changes in your body. Furthermore, it is an antioxidant, fighting free radical damage and improving brain function.
B vitamins are all essential to maintaining proper cognitive function. B vitamins act by transforming ketones and glucose in our blood into ATP, the energy our cells need to function properly every day. If you gain weight easily but experience brain fog as though you were hardly eating, you may find that increasing your B vitamin intake will boost your energy without needing to eat more calories.
Vitamin C plays an interesting role in maintaining brain health. It has some direct impact as an antioxidant. It is also essential for the absorption and use of iron. Absorbing and using iron properly can increase the amount of oxygen your brain gets, improving your cognitive function. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C will help cancel out the free radical damage done by oxidation.
Vitamin D is more a hormone than a vitamin, as we make it ourselves inside our bodies. Vitamin D plays a vital role in balancing our hormones, resulting in an improved mood, reduced risk of mental illness, and slowed cognitive decline.