My last few posts have been focused on the stress and anxiety most everyone has been feeling during this time of uncertainty. Exercise, meditation, yoga and being with friends and family are all important tools in this anxious time. However, we can also use B vitamins to help strengthen the nervous system against anxiety and stress. The research is clear about the importance of all eight of the B vitamins in maintaining mood and mental health. These vitamins work together so ensuring you have adequate levels of all of them is important to maintain optimal neurological functioning. Here is a run down of the different B vitamins and their role in the body’s health.
- B1, Thiamine: helps the brain use glucose, make neurotransmitters and stabilize neuron’s cell membranes. A deficiency in B1 decreases energy for mental challenges.
- B2, Riboflavin: Helps with producing energy and turning tryptophan into niacin.
- B3, Niacin: repairs DNA, helps with signaling between nerve cells and helps with energy production.
- B5, Panthothenic Acid: Makes multiple neurotransmitters (important in mental health) and it helps maintain the structure of brain cells.
- B6, Pyridoxine: Important in the making of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and GABA and the hormone melatonin (the sleep hormone).
- B7, Biotin: Essential for cell signaling, breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins and fueling the brain.
- B9, Folate: Important for brain development and works with B12 to convert amino acids into neurotransmitters.
- B12, Cobalamin: Helps maintain memory, helps iron work more efficiently and helps regulate red blood cell production.
Research suggests that most of us are deficient in one or more of these important vitamins. Eating a well rounded diet is important to ensuring you are receiving enough of these vitamins.
Photo from flickr.