What Vitamins And Minerals Are Good For The Brain?

  • By Performance Lab
  • 6 minute read
What Vitamins And Minerals Are Good For The Brain?

Supporting brain health is something everyone needs, regardless of age, but of course, as you get older, it becomes increasingly more critical.

Aside from the standard of eating healthy, exercising, managing stress, and every other “healthy” practice we’re advised to do, there’s a group of supplements explicitly tailored to your brain.

They’re called nootropics.

Never heard of them before?

This article will address everything you need to know about nootropics and help you understand the specific vitamins and minerals that support brain health.

What Are Nootropics?

Technically speaking, nootropics are a class of supplements, or really any substance, that can alter, improve, or augment cognitive performance, mainly through stimulating or inhibiting synthesis and release of specific neurotransmitters 1.

In doing so, they deliver everything you need to enhance mental performance. Nootropics have been shown to improve concentration and memory, as well as to potentiate cognitive function.

If you want to protect your brain, nootropics are a must—but so are specific vitamins and minerals.

What Can They Do?

The best nootropics are comprehensive. They fire from every angle to cover all of your bases: attention, memory, learning, energy, circulation, and everything else to unlock your brain’s maximum potential.

There are many supplements available that have a beneficial effect on the brain, but what exactly do they do?

  • Enhance memory
  • Prevent cognitive decline
  • Increase alertness
  • Prevent age-related memory loss
  • Enhance nerve signal transmission
  • Protect the brain from ROS

The Best Vitamins and Minerals For Brain Health

Want to up your brain game? Include these in your daily supplement regime.

Omega-3 fatty acids: for supporting overall cognition

EFAs, namely EPA and DHA, are the fundamental building blocks of every single cell membrane, especially those concentrated in your brain.

DHA comprises over 30% of the total phospholipid composition of plasma membranes in your brain, and there’s firm evidence to support adequate DHA intake can prevent cognitive decline 2.

During its conversion, DHA forms specific molecules called oxylipins, which are potent lipid mediators that offer neuroprotection.

Also, DHA can react with ROS to protect the brain against damage by free radicals 3.

DHA also enhances the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an essential neurotropic factor for regulating synaptic transmission.

Low levels of BDNF may be associated with increased oxidative stress and impaired learning 3.

Evidence suggests that inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids can also lead to improper development and function of the central nervous system.

And because the DHA found in the CNS cannot be synthesized endogenously, it must come from external supplementation.

In need of a good omega-3 supplement? Performance Lab Omega 3 is designed to supply the cleanest high potency DHA and EPA supplement on the market.

Derived from algae, the purest source of omega-3s, you don’t have to worry about toxins, contaminants, or by-products with this high-quality supplement.

Receive unique insights, advice and exclusive offers.
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Citicoline: for boosting mental energy

You’ve probably heard of choline before, but the name citicoline may be new to you. Citicoline is an intermediate formed during the transition of choline to phosphatidylcholine, which is an essential phospholipid of cell membranes.

By supplementing with citicoline, you essentially boost the available precursors to synthesize acetylcholine.

Citicoline also helps to maintain adequate levels of cardiolipin in mitochondrial membranes, which is a phospholipid essential for mitochondrial function; remember, mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of your body.

Levels of this may decline with age, so supplementing with citicoline helps to maintain adequate amounts.

But it does more. It also helps to restore mitochondrial ATPase activity, which is key to churning out ATP that makes the body run.

Research also suggests that citicoline is highly effective for stabilizing cell membranes and reducing the presence of free radicals, which if left unchecked, can cause substantial damage to cells 4.

It may do this by inhibiting the release of arachidonic acid. Increased oxidative stress is linked to impaired mitochondrial function and thus, impaired mental performance.

One specific study found that supplementing with 500mg of citicoline for six weeks enhanced ATP in the frontal lobe of the brain by 16% 5!

The same study also showed that citicoline supplementation significantly activated an area of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is responsible for cognitive functions like focus and attention.

Phosphatidylserine: best for improving memory

The brain is comprised largely of fat, so naturally, it only makes sense that to keep the brain healthy you would feed it with what it comprises.

Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that’s heavily concentrated in the brain, especially the myelin and the grey matter. Essentially, it’s the building blocks for the entire membrane system that makes cells work.

But aside from those two regions, it’s also a structural component of the endoplasmic reticulum, the nuclear envelopes, Golgi apparatus, inner leaflets of plasma membranes, outer mitochondrial membranes, and the myelin 6.

Basically, phosphatidylserine is the glue that holds your cells together.

Interestingly, incorporation of phosphatidylserine into membranes also influences the metabolism of several neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine 6—all of which play a critical role in mood regulation.

Research shows phosphatidylserine also protects cell membranes from oxidative damage via reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is a known contributor to cognitive impairment among other adverse health outcomes.

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin also appears to be the superman of all vitamins. It has a role in immunity, digestive health, calcium homeostasis, and pretty much everything else you can think of, including neurodevelopment and cognitive health.

Vitamin D receptors are widespread in brain tissue and the active form of vitamin D, D3, has been shown to exhibit neuroprotective effects.

Vitamin D has also been shown to modulate the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors, and receptors have been found throughout the CNS 7.

One specific study found that vitamin D regulates the release of nerve growth factor (NGF), an essential molecule required for the survival of hippocampal neurons, as well as cortical neurons 8.

And several studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s 7.

B-vitamins: for cognitive protection

Three B vitamins in particular are key to maintaining brain health: folate, B6, and B12. They work together to regulate levels of homocysteine in the body; homocysteine is a compound naturally produced from the breakdown of proteins.

Under normal circumstances, nutritional deficiencies aside, the body will break down homocysteine into methionine and cysteine.

This process, though, depends on adequate levels of B6, B12, folate, as they are needed as cofactors for the conversion of homocysteine to non-toxic amino acids 9.

However, in excess, homocysteine can be detrimental to your cardiovascular and cognitive health.

High homocysteine has been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and depression 10.

The Best Nootropic Stack

If you’re looking for the best cognitive support you can find, Performance Lab offers two of the highest quality supplements on the market.

NutriGenesis® Multi combined with Performance Lab Mind supplies everything your body and mind need to function at their best.

NutriGenesis® Multi supplies over 17 essential vitamins and minerals needed to restore missing nutrients and enhance overall health and performance.

Mind, on the other hand, is a combination of citicoline, phosphatidylserine, L-tyrosine, and maritime pine bark extract for a revolutionary, stim-free brain formula designed to promote peak human performance.

It combines multi-tasking nootropic ingredients in advanced forms for optimal neuro-nutrient delivery.

Taken daily, it’s designed to enhance full spectrum cognitive function, promote healthy recovery, and support sharper bounce-back.


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  2. C Stough, L Downey, B Silber, et al. The effects of 90-day supplementation with the omega-3 essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on cognitive function and visual acuity in a healthy aging population. Neurobiol Aging. 2012; 33(4): 824.e1-824.e8243.
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  7. I Anjum, SS Jaffery, M Fayyaz, Z Samoo, S Anjum. The Role of Vitamin D in Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review. Cureus. 2018; 10(7): e2960.
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