B vitamins have a lot of different roles in the brain, but most essentially provide the fuel that gives our brain cells the energy they need to do their work.
They do this through the making of cholesterol, amino acids, phospholipids, and fatty acids. Key players in controlling our emotions; having low levels of B vitamins can double the likelihood of developing a mood disorder like depression, as they impact production of serotonin and dopamine.
B vitamins are thought to prevent brain atrophy, which could help to keep the brain healthy in people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and reduce the risk of dementia and memory loss.
A clinical trial found that vitamin supplementation with folic acid, B6 and B12 slowed the shrinking of the brain in the areas associated with cognitive decline.
Fun fact: If you suffer from migraines, a deficiency in vitamin B2 could be to blame.
A study of migraine-sufferers showed that daily supplementation of vitamin B2 cut migraine frequency in half.
Extra benefits: Iron and B vitamins work together to form haemoglobin, so it’s important to consume both, either through diet or supplements.
They’re also essential for making sure the body uses folic acid effectively, so consuming them together makes sure this can happen.
B vitamins also protect the eyes from free radical damage, and help to release energy from food, as well as aiding with bowel function and the breakdown of fats.
How much to impact your brain?
The exact recommended daily amounts of B vitamins vary depending on age, sex, and condition, but they are needed every day.