There are no chemical supplements that have been identified to repair the brain. However, a number of chemicals are known to be crucial to brain function because their deficiency in the diet can lead to profound neurological problems. Their deficiency is linked to problems in both the adult and fetal nervous systems. These chemicals are found commonly in the diet, and taking supplements can ensure that you meet daily required amounts to maintain a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6, commonly called pyridoximine is abundant in fish, poultry, meats, beans, vegetables, fruits and fortified cereals. A primary function of vitamin B6 is making serotonin and dopamine, which are important chemicals for nerve transmission. The NIH says there may be important links between vitamin B6 and the onset of Parkinson’s disease, seizures and chronic pain. If a person is lacking adequate vitamin B6, the result can be neuropathy, which is sensory loss and pain in the arms and legs. The RDA of vitamin B6 is 1.3 milligrams in adults ages 19 to 50. In men and women over age 50, the RDA is 1.7 milligrams and 1.5 milligrams, respectively.
Vitamin B12 occurs in several chemical forms known as cobalamins. They are abundant in meats, particularly beef liver, clams, some fish, poultry and fortified cereals. Vitamin B12 performs many chemical functions in the body. It is especially required to avert a number of central nervous system problems, including psychosis and dementia. Also, vitamin B12 helps to prevent problems with walking and weakness in the limbs. The NIH says the RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms in all adults.
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is a chemical concentrated in foods such as beef liver, beans, asparagus, spinach, rice, cowpeas, broccoli and fortified cereals. Taking folic acid is especially important for pregnant women because it helps the embryonic brain develop properly. The NIH says if the mother lacks folic acid, a birth defect called anencephaly can result, where the baby’s brain forms outside its skull. The RDA of folic acid in pregnant women is 600 micrograms per day.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of chemicals known as essential fatty acids because the body cannot make them and they must be obtained from the diet. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fish, especially salmon, as well as nuts and some plants. The University of Maryland Medical Center says omega-3 fatty acids may be important in memory and cognitive function. Embryos need omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers to develop a normal visual system. In adults, omega-3 fatty acids may be necessary to avert disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and ADHD. While there is no established RDA, the daily limit of omega 3-fatty acid supplements is 3 grams.
- NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folaterel="nofollow"
- NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B6rel="nofollow"
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acidsrel="nofollow"
- NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12rel="nofollow"
- Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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