Vitamin B6 might be the most important of the B family of vitamins for brain function. This essential compound, also known as Pyridoxine, is utilized in energy metabolism processes in your cells as well as in the production of neurotransmitters. Low levels of Vitamin B6 in your diet can lead to decreased cognitive ability, lack of focus or energy, brain tissue shrinkage and even Alzheimer’s. Taking amounts of B6 above and beyond the typical recommended dietary intake may increase mental and physical energy levels, boost communication between brain cells and even prevent certain types of neuron damage due to aging. There are several different ways in which this supplement works in the body. Focusing first on the effects of B6 in your brain, we know that it is used to make several different neurotransmitters. These chemicals carry signals from one neuron to another, producing all of our thoughts, memories, feelings, and both conscious and unconscious movements. Vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters Acetylcholine, Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Melatonin. Acetylcholine particularly is involved in memory encoding, information consolidation and working memory functions. Dopamine, Serotonin and Norepinephrine are three catecholamines, responsible for regulating our mood, producing sensations of pleasure, and helping us to focus. Melatonin is responsible for our inner clock and the maintenance of healthy sleep habits. Finally, B6 is necessary for the conversion of the food we eat into energy that our cells can use to power their many activities. It is observed that deficiencies in this nutrient can lead to confusion, depression, memory loss, a faster rate of brain degeneration, difficulty paying attention, fatigue, and insomnia. If you increase your B6 consumption and take more than what is recommended, it can lead to heightened mental energy, motivation, clarity of thought, better memory formation, improved concentration and neuron health, as well better sleep quality. Vitamin B6 leads to higher levels of neurotransmitters related to mood and feelings of well-being such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, and GABA. GABA is also capable of helping to calm and relax the brain, leading to reductions in stress and anxiety. It is responsible for energy metabolism in your cells and can protect your brain from certain types of damage or shrinkage. Thus nutrient also is needed to synthesize neurotransmitters related to memory, learning, concentration, mood and sleep.
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