April 22, 2013

You and Your Brain: Five Supplements That Will Turn The Lights Back On

Filed under: senior living guide — seniorlivingguide @ 11:39 am

Courtesy of Jayla Barnsen [jaylabarnsen@gmail.com]

Different supplements seem to be especially good at supporting different systems of the body. Some support the blood, or help regulate blood sugar or enzymes or contribute to other health of the eyes, bones or teeth. Here are five supplements that help support the health of the brain:

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an important supplement when it comes to keeping the brain healthy. Deficiencies in Vitamin B12 have been shown to cause psychological difficulties and changes in cognition. This deficiency might be one reason that older people seem confused and less alert than they use to be. Some older people can’t absorb vitamin B12 because their stomachs no longer make enough acid to absorb it. These people might need Vitamin B12 injections. Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal protein, including beef, pork, dairy products and fish. It’s especially abundant in liver and organ meats, though these shouldn’t be eaten frequently because of their high levels of cholesterol.

Folate

This is a B vitamin that’s involved in just about every biological process in the body. Again, elderly people are often lacking in folate or folic acid. The deficiencies can cause depression, irritability and even symptoms that resemble schizophrenia. Folate can be found in fresh, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ, oranges, rice, brewer’s yeast and liver.

You and Your Brain Five Supplements That Will Turn The Lights Back OnIron

Of course, iron helps make red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the brain and other organs. So an iron deficiency anemia can cause tiredness, listlessness, depression and apathy. It can also adversely affect a person’s short term memory and his or her attention span. This is especially true in young women, who are at risk for iron-deficiency anemia. In children, a lack of iron can cause learning problems. Iron can be readily found in red meats.

Magnesium

Magnesium is also necessary for many functions in the body, but a low magnesium level can affect the brain and lead to depression, confusion and irritability. Magnesium can be found in sunflower seeds and leafy green vegetables. It’s also found in hard water. Many homeowners dislike hard water because it clogs the plumbing pipes and their water-dependent appliances with scale. But there are benefits from drinking hard water, and magnesium is one of them.

Choline

Choline is a supplement that’s essential for the health of the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves. Without these sheaths, the nerves can’t properly relay signals. A deficiency of choline can lead to dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears and insomnia. It’s best source is lecithin, but it can also be found in egg yolk, liver, brewer’s yeast and wheat germ.

For more information on the brain, including brain disease click here.

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