The human body is absolutely amazing. The way in which all the various parts work in complete harmony and interact form the various functions that keep us moving, surviving, and thriving are a wonderful thing.
All of that begins with the brain. As the central command center of the body, everything works through the brain in order to create the movement and synergy that we see elsewhere.
That’s why it’s so important to keep the brain sharp and to do that, a select group of vitamins can be used to boost various cognitive functions.
Before you start popping pills, however, it’s important to remember three things:
– Every Vitamin Works Multiple Areas
There’s no such thing as a “super vitamin” that only boosts one area and nothing else. The body doesn’t work like that. Every part of your body is dependent on something else, which means every vitamin you take impacts several different things at the same time.
– No Vitamin Works Instantly
If you’re expecting to take a vitamin designed for memory improvement on Tuesday in order to ace a test that is coming up on Wednesday, think again (no pun intended). All vitamins are designed to filter into your system and create a compound effect that builds your body up and creates optimal performance. Only after a couple weeks will you begin to notice the effects, most likely.
– No Vitamin Can Replace a Healthy Diet
If you’re deficient in any of the areas listed below, a vitamin can and will help repair some of those functions, but nothing can replace the vitamins found in our foods. Try not only taking supplements but regulating your diet to help stabilize your system overall.
So what vitamins should you consider taking?
The simple answer is it depends on what area you want to work the most.
Here are some of the most popular and effective options.
1. Need to Be More Alert? Try B9
When you miss a meal, you get more than just a little cranky. You could actually be hindering your brain systems and decreasing levels of alertness and focus.
In order to counter this, make sure you’re eating regularly to keep your blood oxygen levels up.
If you’re still feeling a lack of energy, however, it could be that you have a folic acid deficiency. Folate helps with memory recall, so feeling distracted and tired are symptoms of a deficiency in this area. While you never want to overdose on Folate vitamins, taking enough to meet your daily 400mg requirement is not a bad idea.
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2. Need to Feel More Positive? Try B6
Along with B9, B6 makes up another vitamin in the fabulous B vitamin family. This one, in particular, increases the levels of serotonin  in the brain, which also impacts whether or not a memory moves from the short-term section of our mind to long-term storage. In addition, lower levels of serotonin are also linked to increased levels of depression.
Where B6 also shines is in its restorative power. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is responsible for destroying tissues that are already damaged, but too much of this amino acid can cause heart disease and memory loss, as well as fatigue. B6 is a natural supplement that can lower the levels of homocysteine , so if you want to protect your body in addition to keeping your brain sharp, try some B6.
3. Need to Increase Focus? Try Vitamin C
Recently, there has been an onslaught of children diagnosed with ADHD , ADD, and other cognitive issues. Vitamin C works in tandem with a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine to reduce distractive tendencies, control your attention and drive response actions. Not only that, but vitamin C helps fight against too much alcohol, medication, and stress that may have entered your system, as well as boosting your immune system.
4. Need to Improve Brain Health? Try Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If there is anything on this list that can rightfully be called a “super vitamin,” these are it. Omega-3 fatty acids help with all areas of the brain: increasing memory and speed of neural transfer, help produce a more efficient energy production, repair damaged neurotransmitters, increase the size of your brain, and even protect the heart.
Omega-3’s develop in the brain the quickest during the first few years of life, and children with the highest levels of omega-3’s normally perform better in school and have fewer issues with focus and concentration. At the other end of life, as omega-3’s begin to diminish, a lack of omega-3’s can also cause memory issues. Implementation of these fatty acids into people’s diets can potentially reverse this issue, with some even claiming it’s better than Prozac .
5. Need to Feel Clearer? Try B1
One of the first complex vitamins to be discovered was B1, or Thiamine. Though it appears in things such as yeast and cereal grains, the amount is comparatively low, meaning many people that suffer from memory loss or confusion sometimes have a B1 deficiency, although it can be rare.
People who suffer from Crohn’s disease, anorexia , or who have recently undergone kidney dialysis are usually the most common victims.
Though a thiamine supplement may not be a cure-all, it has been linked to lower levels of depression, better sleep, increased energy, and weight loss, making it an easy-to-include member of the supplement family.