There are eight types of vitamins; B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), B12 (cobalamin). According to this article from Harvard, “These vitamins help a variety of enzymes do their jobs, ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body.” So, no wonder vitamin B is touted so highly.
Out of these eight vitamins, particularly interesting to those of us with MCI are B6 and B12 since they are said to be related to brain health.
The function of B6 is supposedly to maintain normal levels of homocysteine to control heart conditions and support immune function and brain health. If so, could taking a B6 supplement help people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)? Unfortunately according to this article, there is very little evidence to suggest that it helps alleviate the impairment. You might still like to take B6 for other reasons, but if your main interest is to improve your brain health, this does not seem to be the one.
If you would like to learn more about B6, you will find a lot of detailed information here.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-based foods. It is said to be a key player in the function and development of brain and nerve cells. Therefore, again you might think it will help with brain issues. Unfortunately according to this article by Mayo Clinic, numerous scientific studies show little correlation between the use of B12 and dementia or Alzheimer’s.
However, if B12 levels are too low, it does have a negative effect on brain health. Therefore, it is very important that we ensure that an optimum level is maintained – if your levels are found to be too low, it will be important to take a B12 supplement. This issue is particularly important for vegans and vegetarians because, without animal-based food, there is a good chance that they are not getting enough B12. There has even been a case of a very healthy athletic vegan who suddenly dropped dead due to B12 deficiency!
If you would like to learn more about B12, you will find comprehensive information here.