Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is involved in the formation of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), a compound needed for important chemical reactions including the methylation, synthesis, and repair of DNA. Such essential processes are required for proper brain function.

Furthermore, vitamin B-12 is known to stimulate the synthesis of neurotransmitters and supports formation of the protective myelin sheath, the insulating exterior that speeds up the transmission of electric impulses in neurons.

Cell membranes use methyl groups donated by vitamin B-12 for the conversion of phosphatidylethanolamine to phosphatidylcholine. This reaction is critical for mobilization of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from the liver, making it available for the brain cells.

In fact, the decreased mobilization of DHA from the liver into plasma and peripheral tissues in addition to high level of plasma homocysteine might be a contributing factor to cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative changes in the patients with Alzheimer’s.

Vitamin B-12 is popularly known as the “energy vitamin,” because its deficiency leads can lead to weakness, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. However, it seems B12’s “energy” benefits may apply far more to those who are deficient in the vitamin. As such, vitamin B-12 may have some nootropic benefit for elderly individuals by supporting healthy brain aging, and anyone else at risk of deficiency, including vegetarians and vegans. It is associated with energized thinking; evidence is far more supportive of overall brain health during the aging process.

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