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Brain health: Can vitamins help with memory and cognitive function?

People often ask us if taking the right vitamins can help their brain function. Especially as we ourselves settle into “middle age” we start to wonder more and more what we can do to help preserve memory, cognition and our abilities to stay sharp.  Of course, our kids would say we have already lost our marbles, but that’s a story for another day…

So what can we do to help our brains? Can we take vitamins to help with memory and cognition? We have always known that certain vitamins can be helpful with brain health but recent data has helped to confirm what our years of experience and medical practice have shown us to be true. Vitamins are an important part of ways to keep your brain working its best as you age.

What vitamins have been shown to help?  Well the most recent data has shown that over three years participants who took multivitamins appeared to slow their cognitive aging by 60% compared to those taking placebo.  This study from the Journal of The Alzheimer’s Association showed not only better overall cognitive function but also benefits to memory and executive function.  Impressive results for sure. So what do we think makes taking a multivitamin help with memory and brain function?

First off, we know that some ingredients in common multivitamins are known to help with memory and cognition. Vitamin D, for example, which is found in most common multivitamins in differing amounts. Taking vitamin D has been associated with lower rates of dementia.  So what is the amount to take? That remains a great question. As physicians we know that we do not all have the same vitamin needs and our needs vary greatly depending on different aspects of our diets, lifestyle and health concerns. That being said, most Americans benefit from some vitamin D supplementation as we are largely deficient in this vitamin that comes from the sun.  However, taking too much can also be associated with worse outcomes. This is where a physician supervised approach to supplements is essential.

There are other nutrients that may also help with brain health. We have long known that vitamin B12 and several other B vitamins (thiamine, folic acid) play important roles in nerve function. They are essential in optimal nerve conduction. For patients who have dementia or trouble with memory and cognition, replacing B vitamins can often be the magic bullet that helps restore better function.

In addition to traditional components of a multivitamin there are other supplements that can be useful for brain health and cognition such as Omega 3 fatty acids. These can be in the form of fish oil or other vegan formulations made from seaweed.  Omega 3s are important antiinflammatories and serve to help brain function by allegedly smoothing nerve transmission.  Omega 3s are not typically included in a multivitamin as they are hard to chemically incorporate. However, at Vous Vitamin we offer omega 3s as an add on product to our personalized daily vitamins.

Taking the right vitamins can be an important part of brain preservation. There are also other lifestyle choices that are known to help. These include but are not limited to regular exercise, adequate sleep, a healthful diet (we recommend the Mediterranean diet) and regular mental stimulation.

Figuring out what vitamins to take can be challenging and confusing. We all want to find our best health. However, the answer is not the same for everyone. We all have different vitamin needs based on our own diet, lifestyle and health concerns. Taking the right vitamins takes expertise and experience. At Vous Vitamin our doctors create personalized daily vitamin blends based on our vitamin quiz.

 

Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health.  She is a mother of three teenagers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients.  After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take,  Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin quiz now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice.  The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment.  You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.

 

 

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