Essential Nutrients to Activate And Conserve Your Neurons
The brain is the most complex organ and is therefore probably the most vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies.
Shortages of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to degeneration, which can become serious over the years. In the short term, you may have memory failure, difficulty concentrating, tiredness or discouragement.
But don’t worry, none of this is inevitable. A series of scientific studies indicate the nutrients you must ensure to keep your brain in good condition for many years.
THE VITAMINS AND MINERALS THAT BOOST MEMORY AND CONCENTRATION
Many molecules are involved in the functioning of the brain. All the essential nutrients are necessary for its synthesis, but 6 stand out for their importance and their obtaining is not assured if the diet is neglected.
1. VITAMIN C: PREVENTING OXIDATION
Vitamin C not only strengthens the immune system, but also prevents cognitive impairment.
Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff, co-author of a study at Oregon University of Health Sciences in the United States, says that some neuronal receptors stop working when vitamin C is scarce.
The antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) prevent the receptors of neurons that allow their communication from degrading prematurely.
It is also necessary to synthesize the neurotransmitter dopamine, which controls the flow of information from different areas of the brain. Disorders affecting dopamine in the frontal lobes of the brain can cause alterations in memory, attention and problem-solving ability.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is between 60 and 100 mg. You can satisfy it with one kiwi or one orange a day. Other foods rich in vitamin C are raw red peppers, berries or cabbages.
2. VITAMIN B1: PROTECTING NEURONS
If you get enough thiamine (vitamin B1) you are increasing the protection on your brain. In fact, a study from the University of Oxford shows that taking thiamine supplements can improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.
One of the ways vitamin B1 protects the brain is by reducing levels of homocysteine – a metabolic product – in blood plasma.
The recommended dose is between 1,100 and 1,300 mcg daily. Vegetable foods rich in thiamine include brewer’s yeast, peanuts and other nuts, chickpeas and lentils.
It is important to mention that alcohol interferes with the absorption of this nutrient. Korsakoff syndrome, a memory and learning disorder caused by severe vitamin B1 deficiency, is common in alcoholics.
3. OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: IMPROVE CONNECTIONS
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential for the good condition of neuronal membranes and connections between brain cells.
Several studies have linked low omega-3 intake to an increased risk of age-related cognitive impairment.
The greatest benefits are associated with EPA and DHA acids. Both are found in abundance in fish, but the body can obtain them from the transformation in the liver and in the brain itself of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plant foods such as flax and chia seeds or nuts.
The recommended intake is about 1.5 g of ALA daily, found in 5 nuts or one teaspoon of flax oil.
4. CALCIUM: MESSAGES REACH NEURONS
Bones and teeth aren’t the only ones that need calcium. It is also essential for the health of the brain, where it participates in the transmission of signals between neurons. Therefore, low calcium intake can decrease brain function.
But at the same time, the accumulation of calcium within neurons causes their degeneration and death. In order for this not to happen, it is necessary to have adequate levels of certain “transporter proteins” that remove calcium from cells, according to a study by Temple University in Philadelphia.
An excess of free radicals can damage these enzymes, so it is desirable that we have sufficient levels of calcium and antioxidant agents – such as vitamin C – that control free radicals.