When people think about taking supplements, they often think of the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy body, but what about a healthy mind? Brain health is just as important (if not more) to overall health, but it continues to be overlooked.
Of course, supplements that improve your skin, give you energy, or relieve joint pain can be beneficial, but we were curious about the best supplements to keep our brains fit as we age. We have Niket Sonpal, Dr Professor of Health Psychology at Princeton University.
Then don’t miss out on the best nutritional supplements to take on a daily basis, according to a nutritionist.
When it comes to keeping your brain sharp and improving overall mental health, omega-3 fatty acid supplements are the way to go.
“Omega-3 has been shown to improve functions in the brain such as memory and reaction time,” says Sonpal, adding that the fatty acids play an important role in the fight against the aging process of the brain.
As for mental health, this nutrient (found in oily fish) has been thoroughly studied for its ability to relieve symptoms of depression. However, Sell points out that quality over quantity is the number one priority to consider when choosing an omega-3 supplement.
“Omega-3 fatty acids have been well researched as anti-inflammatory agents,” says Sell. “What we now know is that inflammation is key in mental health.”
Bottom Line: Omega-3s are great for maintaining mental sharpness, fighting antiaging, and improving your mental health.
Not sure what to buy? Avena recommends Essential elements® omega-3 fish oil. “Essential Elements Omega-3 fish oil is high in omega-3s with powerful antioxidant benefits that support the immune system, heart and cognitive health,” she says.
While stocking up on omega-3s, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough B vitamins to support the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain that can help regulate your mood.
“B vitamins are often overlooked when it comes to brain health,” says Sell, adding that one B complex vitamin (which includes all eight B vitamins) is better than just one of the B vitamins To be taken alone. “Vitamins have a synergistic relationship, so a complex is usually better than using them individually,” she explains.
However, Sonpal points out that vitamin B12 is particularly important for improving mental health. “This vitamin plays an important role in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for stabilizing our mood and happiness,” he says. “Without vitamin B12, there are concerns about the risk of clinical depression.”
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Avena recommends two vitamin B supplements: Vitafusion Brain Food and Neuriva Plus. “Vitafusion makes a gummy bear that contains ashwagandha, phosphatidylserine, and B vitamins to help support brain nutrition, stress, and focus,” she says. Neuriva Plus, on the other hand, is a brain health supplement designed to help support six indicators of brain performance: focus, memory, learning, concentration, accuracy, and reasoning, Avena adds.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and can support overall brain health.
“Research suggests that vitamin E protects the brain from oxidative stress when the production and accumulation of oxygen in the brain are out of balance,” said Sonpal. “Some of the side effects of oxidative stress are fatigue, memory loss, and recurring headaches.”
For more information, check out the 9 most important vitamins you need in your diet, according to Yale experts.
Just because it’s last on the list doesn’t mean amino acids are any less important. In fact, Sell says amino acids are the most important supplement for brain health. However, be sure to consult your doctor before taking any amino acids to make sure they won’t interfere with other medications and supplements.
“Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters,” says Sell. For example, without the amino acid 5HTP, your brain could not produce serotonin, also known as the “feel good hormone,” which helps create feelings of well-being and happiness. The amino acid L-tyrosine is also the precursor of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that is responsible for influencing our mood and our feeling of reward and motivation.
For more information, check out the 5 Best Drinks for Brain Fog Elimination, According to Experts.