Top 5 Brain Nutrients Found Only In Animal Products
The human brain is extremely complex. While the heart enjoys all the attention, have you ever thought about your brain? It is the CPU of the human body. Compared to its weight, it consumes the most energy. It is just 2% of its body weight but utilizes 20% of the body’s energy.
Our brain, the most remarkable organ of the body has evolved over a period of millions of years. Ages ago we all were omnivores, that is, we ate plants as well as meat. Today some of us are pure vegetarians; some are omnivores while others are vegans. It is all a matter of preference today. But do you know that there are some nutrients that are extremely essential for the proper functioning of the brain? When people go vegan and avoid meat they develop a deficiency of the essential nutrients if they don’t consume supplements properly.
And the essential nutrients for the brain are as under:
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that the body cannot produce on its own and it is only through animal sources that you can get this essential vitamin. Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that is water soluble. It is takes part in the function of all cells in the body. It is essential in blood formation and brain function. The deficiency of vitamin B12 can result in a smaller brain, mental disorder symptoms, disrupted brain function, and anemia.
The good sources of vitamin B12 are meat, fish and eggs. People who avoid these foods generally develop the deficiency of this vitamin. 47% of the lacto-ovo vegetarians and 92% of the vegans have a deficiency of this brain nutrient.
Even if your levels of vitamin B12 are a little lower you can have depression, fatigue and poor memory. Deficiency in B12 can result in irreversible damage to your brain.
If you are a strict vegetarian, do ensure that you take vitamin B12 supplements. Even dairy products can be good sources of this vitamin.
If you are a fitness freak and a regular at the gym then you would know about creatine. Creatine supplements increase muscle mass and overall strength. Creatine forms energy reserve in the body. When you workout, a lot of energy is consumed in a short time duration. It is during this time that creatine comes to your rescue and provides you with more energy that lasts for long.
Around 95% of the creatine is stored in the body’s skeletal muscles. Concentration of creatine is also in the brain. Just like our muscles need energy to do work, our brain requires energy to think.
When vegetarians take creatine supplements there is an improvement in their cognitive ability and no difference was found in non-veg eaters. This clearly indicates that vegetarians are having a deficiency of creatine which is unfavourably affecting their brain’s functioning.
If you can’t eat meat, try supplementing yourself with creatine.
Vitamin D has been discussed on our blog here! The body produces vitamin d from sunlight. People are deficient in this vitamin because in some countries the sun is absent during a large part of the year and where there is ample sunshine, people slather on a lot of sunscreen.
When it comes to diet, vitamin D exists in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 comes from animals and vitamin D2 comes from plants. According to studies done, vitamin D3 is a lot more effective than the plant form. Cod fish liver oil is a good source of D3.
If you happen to be deficient in vitamin D, you can land up with several diseases that include cancer and cardiovascular disease. It can affect the brain also.
If you are able to get your dose of the vitamin from sunshine, it is good. Moreover in India, where you sunshine round the year you can get vitamin D from the early morning sun rays.
Carnosine, a less heard nutrient is only found in animal tissues. This means that the vegans/vegetarians don’t get much from their diet. Concentration of this nutrient is in the brain and muscle tissue.
It protects from degenerative processes in the body. It is also a good antioxidant and reduces the damage caused by raised blood sugar. It is also a popular anti-aging supplement. People diagonised with brain disorders have significantly lower levels of carnosine.
You would have heard a lot about DHA as a popular health drink ‘Bournvita Little Champs’ is strongly advertised as being fortified with DHA that helps the growth of the brain in young children.
DHA is actually one of the active forms of omega 3 fatty acids (the other form being EPA). You know how essential omega 3 is for the body and DHA is the most largely found omega 3 fatty acid in the brain. It is critical for the development of the brain just like how it is said in the TV commercial.
Those who don’t eat meat try to get DHA from flax seeds. Flax seeds are a rich source of ALA which is a plant form of Omega 3. ALA needs to be converted into DHA to be used by the body and studies show that this conversion process is not effective in humans. So, vegetarians are most likely to be deficient in this fatty acid.
If you don’t happen to eat meat at all ensure that you eat supplements of essential nutrients to keep your brain functioning properly. Try including eggs and fatty fish in your diet.
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