These Two B Vitamins Are Essential for Brain Function

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There are two B vitamins that you really need to have adequate levels of, in order to ensure proper development and functioning of the brain. These are folic acid and B12.

Folic acid 

Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9, and is found in supplements (including nootropics such as BrainXP) and fortified foods. There is a large body of evidence illustrating that this vitamin plays a crucial role in brain function, and in conserving emotional and mental health.

A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience notes that folate deficiency is linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as stroke and dementia, as well as psychiatric disorders, including depression.

Another study, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that folic acid supplementation promotes improvement in cognitive functioning, particularly in terms of memory.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid for adults. And this is the amount that you will find in BrainXP.



Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in the formation of myelin – the sheaths that cover and protect nerve cells in the brain. The neurological problems caused by a deficiency in B12 result from the damage caused to the myelin sheath.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to psychiatric problems, including delusions, hallucinations, cognitive changes (such as memory decline) and depression.

Evidence suggests that B12 deficiency may affect cognition by reducing total brain volume. This shrinking of the brain is accelerated in neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. But supplementation of B12 can actually reduce the rate of brain shrinking in the elderly.

It is commonly thought that B12 deficiency is a problem specific to vegans, since the vitamin is found only in animal products, but not in plants.

However, findings show that 5% of the UK population suffers from a B12 deficiency, yet vegans make up less than 1% of people living in the UK. That said, since vegan sources of B12 come from supplements and fortified foods, it’s worth ensuring adequate intake by using BrainXP (don’t worry, it’s vegan).


About the author: Sam Woolfe @samwoolfe

I’m currently a Writer at The Canary, covering issues relating to the food industry, drugs, health, well-being and nutrition. I’m also a Blogger for Inspiring Interns, where I offer careers advice for graduates. If you have a story you want me to cover, drop me a message on Twitter (@samwoolfe). You can also check out my travel blog ( and personal blog ( to read my articles on philosophy, psychology, and more opinion-related content.


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