Memory Vitamins - For a long time vitamin B12 languished in the medical literature as the vitamin that cures anemia. Since vitamin B12 was only associated with anemia, doctors and nutrition experts alike tend to ignore vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and no one even suspected it might be one of the most important vitamins for memory.
Recently, however, new information on vitamin B12 recommends it as one of the key memory vitamins for healthy people. These new studies show that getting enough B12:
Works with folic acid and vitamin B6 to protect the heart
Regenerates cells throughout the body
Boosts the immune system
Prevents senile dementia and
Relieves age-related memory loss.
The latest scientific information on vitamin B12 as one of the memory vitamins also indicates that it is also essential for maintaining the chemical reactions that create SAM-e, repair DNA, and prevent cancer. But what are the vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms that tell you that you need to start taking supplements?
The surest sign you need B12 is forgetfulness. Vitamin B12 is one of the most important memory vitamins.
The organ most dependent on vitamin B12 for normal functioning is the brain. That's why it should come as no surprise that people who suffer B12 deficiencies tend to develop mental disorders. Vitamin B12 is critical in the creation of the sleep hormone melatonin and the mood hormone serotonin.
Vitamin B12 is also essential to the survival of the nerves themselves. It's well known that this first of the memory vitamins is that it is essential in the kinds of chemical reactions that "turn on" detoxification mechanisms. These methylation reactions are especially important for detoxifying heavy metals such as arsenic, antimony, and lead.
When vitamin B 12 goes through its own methylation reaction it becomes methylcobalamin. This form of B12 is superior to other forms of the item in that it does not have to be activated before it starts its work.
Methylcobalamin is a super form of the B12 component in your memory vitamins. It protects the brain from the ill effects of aspartame, glutamate, and nitric oxide. It also saves the brain form the damaging effects of poor circulation and hypoglycemia.
Glutamate and nitric oxide toxicity are hallmarks of both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Poor circulation and the resulting low levels of oxygenation is a chronic problem after heart attack or stroke. Low blood sugar is a constant risk in well-treated diabetes.
Methylcobalamin also protects myelin, the "insulation" for cells throughout the central nervous system. Degeneration of the myelin layer is implicated in most cases of memory loss and progressive diseases like multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and degeneration of the spinal cord. The information on vitamin B12 recently discovered by French scientists is that the methylcobalamin form of the nutrient promotes regeneration of the insulating myelin and slows the progression of these diseases.
More key information on B12 is that this versatile vitamin assists brain function by lowering concentrations of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid.
By itself, homocysteine isn't bad. It's even part of the process the body uses to make its own SAM-e. But when concentrations of memory vitamins are low, homocysteine levels build up in the brain, they interfere with the methylation reactions that remove neural toxins.
Studies show that people with elevated levels of homocysteine have trouble remembering and thinking clearly. High levels of homocysteine caused by deficiencies in memory vitamins can cause a condition similar to Alzheimer?s disease.
And Alzheimer's disease itself is characterized by high levels of homocysteine, low levels of vitamin B12, and deficiencies of the key ingredient in methylation reactions, SAMe. German scientists have found that giving people with Alzheimer?s vitamin B12 reduces belligerence and disturbed behavior. It?s almost as if disturbed behavior uses up the neurons that otherwise would function for memory. Fortunately, B12 can both relieve disturbed behavior and enhance memory
All of this fails to overshadow the fact that B12 among other memory vitamins helps in neurological conditions occurring outside the brain. Bell's palsy is a temporary paralysis of the facial nerve, usually following a viral infection. People who have Bell's palsy may not be able to open one eye or to close one side of their mouths. Since this condition involves nerves, and vitamin B12 is a key nutrient for nerves, researchers tested vitamin B12 as a treatment.
Sixty people with Bell's palsy were divided into three groups. One group was given standard steroid therapy. The second group was given the form of vitamin B12 known as methylcobalamin plus steroid therapy. The third group was given vitamin B12 alone.
What information on vitamin B12 did the clinical study reveal? The Bell's palsy patients who were given steroids recovered in 2 to 9 weeks. The Bell's palsy patients who were given steroids plus vitamin B12 recovered in 2 to 9 days. The Bell's palsy patients who were given no steroids at all, just vitamin B12, recovered even faster.
What does this have to do with memory and memory vitamins?
Steroids are synthetic versions of stress hormones. Vitamin B12 and similar memory vitamins help the nervous system return to high functioning without the stress hormones.
High homocysteine levels also affect the heart. There's some evidence that high homocysteine levels may be even more damaging than high cholesterol levels, but taking vitamin B12 protects your heart. By helping the arteries produce an enzyme with the tongue-twisting name methylenetetrahydrofolatereductase, vitamin B12 helps the body convert harmful homocysteine into harmless methionine. The better your circulation, the better your brain function.
How much of the B-group memory vitamins do you need?
A clinical study in Poland found taking just 1000 micrograms "one thousandth of a gram" of vitamin B12 every week, along with 300 mg of vitamin B6 and 5 mg of folic acid every day for two months cut homocysteine levels in half. This cocktail of memory vitamins also reduced levels of thrombin, the clotting agent that sets the stage for a heart attack or stroke.
Are there any other memory vitamins?
In a word, no. However, carnitine, coenzyme Q10, DMAE, ginkgo, huperzine A, kava, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, and vinpocetine all have special uses in treating age-related memory loss.
There is another nutritional intervention in addition to the memory vitamins you may have never considered. It's making sure you eat enough.
Dietary protein, carbohydrate, and fat enhance memory performance in healthy persons with age-related memory loss. A rich supply of glucose in the bloodstream is especially necessary for healthy brain function.
Researchers used to think that keeping blood glucose levels up at 180 to 200 mg/dl was needed for declarative memory, the kind of memory used in conscious recollection of facts and events.
These sugars are, however, at diabetic levels. Keeping blood sugars at 180 to 200 mg/dl isn't good for the rest of the body.
The most recent research, however, has found that isn't high blood sugars that fuel the brain, what the brain needs is regular supply of carbohydrate. Slow-release sugars like those in whole grains (barley, for instance) are just as good for the brain as fast-release sugars like those in potatoes and sugar-sweetened soft drinks. The total ingestion of energy, rather blood sugar levels, is needed for optimal memory.
This means that you need not just vitamin B12, B6, and folic acid, you need all the nutrients that help in sugar regulation: chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper. Your best bet is a single balanced formula that you can remember to take every day, like Total Balance.
Total Balance is a balanced daily nutritional supplement contains vitamin B12, B6, and folic acid, and all the nutrients that help in sugar regulation: chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper, and many more nutrients your body needs. All in a single, easy-to-take blend with an enteric coating so you can take it anytime without food.
We take Total Balance ourselves and are very happy with the results. It is in covered it in detail in the "what we take tab" on the upper left hand portion of this page.