What are the best vitamins to keep your brain sharp? Have you been fogged over lately, in a cloud of fatigue? Had difficulty concentrating? Well, seeing as you are what you eat, the problem can probably be linked (at least in part) to your diet. In other words, you ain’t getting enough vitamins and minerals! So if you want to win that next game of Sudoku, check out some of these supplements the next time you’re at the grocery store or GNC.
(Disclaimer: talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet and stuff. He or she knows best!)
Vitamin A, also available as beta-carotene, has been linked through studies to increased bloodflow to the hippocampus. This is a part of the brain involved in learning. You want to learn stuff, don’t you? One caution I will give you about vitamin A is that it can be toxic in large doses, so you might want to try to get yours from food sources. Good choices are carrots and sweet potatoes.
They say vitamin B9 (folic acid) can improve your memory your alertness by breaking down homocysteine in the brain. Bad homocysteine!
And vitamin B12 protects nerve fibers from all those crazy electrical impulses going off in your brain by increasing the myelin in your brain. Good boy, myelin.
Vitamins C and E (Antioxidants)
Vitamins C and E don’t really sharpen your mind, per se, but as powerful antioxidants, they can help protect your brain against free radicals that might otherwise ravage that sexy brain of yours. They might help stave off dementia when you get older (but don’t quote me on that one).
It’s not just a brain vitamin. Vitamin D does all sorts of good stuff. For one thing, it can help prevent depression. Hard to think straight when you’re doing the Charlie Brown walk. Recent tests have also linked vitamin D deficiency with lower scores on tests of mental aptitude. In other words, if you’re not getting enough of the sunshine vitamin, it might explain why you failed that test! (Or maybe it was because you didn’t study, slacker.)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These aren’t actually vitamins, of course, but omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil, flax seeds, and walnuts, among others) have been linked with all sorts of brain benefits like increased memory, improved blood flow, and decreased risk for certain conditions like dementia.