How B vitamins affect the brain

In 2007, Canadian researchers reviewed several studies that had explored the connection between nutrition and mental health. As part of their review, they summarized several specific vitamins and minerals that affect brain function.

Here is their summary of how four specific B vitamins affect the brain. 

Vitamin B1

Our bodies use vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine, to synthesize the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, GABA, and glutamate. In fact, vitamin B1 can mimic acetylcholine, which plays roles in arousal, reward, brain plasticity, alertness when we wake up, sustaining attention, learning, and memory. GABA has an inhibitory function in the brain, resulting in a relaxing, anti-anxiety effect. Nerve cells use glutamate, our most abundant neurotransmitter, to send signals to other cells. It actually accounts for over 90% of the brain’s synaptic connections.

Vitamin B6

Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 plays a basic role in synthesizing many neurotransmitters, and a deficiency of it tends to selectively reduce brain production of GABA, as well as serotonin, a neurotransmitter connected to happiness and our feeling of well-being.

Vitamin B9

Known popularly as folate or folic acid, vitamin B9 is involved in serotonin function: it can heighten serotonin function by slowing destruction of tryptophan and is a cofactor for enzymes that convert tryptophan into serotonin. It also helps in converting tyrosine into norepinephrine/noradrenalin, helps form compounds involved in brain energy metabolism, and is involved in synthesizing monoamine neurotransmitters.

Vitamin B12

The final B vitamin the researchers highlighted was vitamin B12, sometimes called cobalamin. Vitamin B12 helps synthesize monoamine neurotransmitters, helps maintain myelin sheaths on nerves for normal nerve conductance, and functions in folate metabolism.

Did you know that Truehope EMPowerplus Advanced contains all 4 of these B vitamins? EMPowerplus is an all-natural combination of 36 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants specifically formulated to support physical and mental well-being. Also, being the subject of over 30 clinical trials makes it the most independently researched micronutrient formula in the world.

Did you like this post? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to stay up to date on new posts.