Vitamins and Supplements for Brain and Mitochondrial Health
The following is a list of Vitamins that support mitochondrial function and brain function. mitochondria are within every cell of the body and act as the energy producers within the cell and help optimize neural function.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamin supports mitochondrial function within the brain by aiding the production of ATP. Thaimin is also an important co-factor, along with vitamin B12 in helping the brain cells make myelin to insulate the nerve. As thiamin is excreted by the kidneys and is generally not stored in the body it is important to have a steady supply in your diet.
Dietary Sources: Tuna, Sunflower Seeds, Black Beans, Peas, Pinto Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Sesame Seeds
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin is part of the FADH complex of enzymes used by mitochondria to convert the energy stored in food to the energy stored in ATP to be used by the body. It is also a critical nutrient for the elimination of toxins.
Dietary Sources: almonds, fish, broccoli, asparagus. Most foods derived from plants or animals contain at least small quantities of riboflavin
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacinamide is an important nutrient for brain health. It is a key nutrient for mitochondria. An ample supply of niacinamide makes the generation of ATP more efficient and reduces the level of free radicals.
Dietary Sources: wheat germ, mushrooms, organ meats, tuna, salmon
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Vitamin B6 is involved in many aspects of neurological activity. It is very important in forming many neurotranmitters, including seritonin and GABA
Dietary Sources: garlic, tuna, cauliflower, mustard greens, bananas, celery, cabbage, crimini mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cod, chard.
Cobolamin (Vitamin B12)
The body requires cobolamin in order to make hemoglobin and is also necessary, along with vitamin B6, for brain cells to effectively make the protective sheath around nerve cells, myelin.
Dietary Sources: Liver, venison, shrimp, scallops, salmon, beef, kelp, algae (spirulina), yeast, fermented plant foods (miso, tofu)
Vitamin E, found in certain oils, nuts and spinach, functions as an antioxidant, reducing free radicals in the brain that would otherwise impede optimal function of neurons. Vitamin E has shown positive effects on memory performance in older people. An animal study demonstrated a correlation between the amount of vitamin E ingested and improved neurologic performance, survival, and brain mitochondrial function.
Folate is essential for normal brain function. It helps prevent hyperhomocysteinemia, which is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
Dietary Sources: green leafy vegetables, asparagus, citrus fruit juices, legumes, fortified cereals
Co-enzyme Q is an important ingredient in the mitochondrialprocess to generate ATP and it is a potent intracellular antioxidant.
Dietary Sources: wheat germ, dark green leafy vegetables like kale & spinach, organ meats
Several studies suggest that the use of alpha-lipoic acid may help reduce pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Dietary Sources: Spinach, broccoli, beef, yeast (esp. brewer’s yeast), kidney and heart organ meats
L-Carnitine is structurally related to the B vitamins and assists mitochondria in using fatty acids as an energy source. It also helps improve muscle strength in neuromuscular disorder affected individuals and has been associated with decreased oxidative stress and decreased aging in animal studies. L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid have been shown to be a potent combination, providing protection to mitochondria and reducing aging in animals.
Dietary Sources: dairy products, red meat (raw or very rare is best for absorption)
Creatine functions to increase the availablility of ATP. It acts by donating a phosphate ion during ATP production to incraese the availability of ATP. Several studies have shown that taking additional creatine has been neuroprotective to a variety of insults and has helped maintain and improve muscle strength in people with Parkinson’s and the frail elderly.
Dietary Sources: fish, red meat, wild game