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B Vitamins and Brain Health


Proper nutrition is essential for healthy brain development in children. B vitamins in particular play an important role in ensuring brain health in children. Deficiencies in B complex vitamins can cause delayed development or worsen symptoms related to learning differences and attention issues.

Symptoms of Vitamin B Deficiency

Common symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency are nausea, abdominal pain, bad breath, and indigestion. Mental symptoms are also very common in children like loss of alertness, moodiness and forgetfulness. Frequent headaches and unsteadiness are also signs that more vitamin B is needed.

8 Types of Vitamin B

There are eight types of B vitamins which are important for brain health and overall health. Since these vitamins are water-soluble and are not stored in the body, it’s important to get adequate amounts daily through food and supplementation (under care of a physician).

  • Thaimin: Also referred to as vitamin B1 or thiamine, thiamin is important to nerve function. Thiamin deficiency can lead to confusion, poor coordination and fatigue. Found in grains, nuts, seeds and pork, a vitamin B1 deficiency is generally only found in countries where the dietary staple is white rice.
  • Vitamin B12: Found in meat and dairy products, adequate intake of vitamin B12 ensures proper neural transmission speed and DNA replication. Without this essential nutrient, children may exhibit symptoms like reduced cognitive performance, fatigue and tingling in the hands and feet. Severe deficiency can lead to permanent damage like memory loss and dementia.
  • Folate: Vitamin B9, also known as folate, is naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables, beans and sunflower seeds. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate and is used to fortify many grains to ensure proper nutrition. Folate deficiency in children can slow growth rate, cause increased irritability and lead to behavioral disorders.
  • Riboflavin: A deficiency of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, can cause burning eyes and eye fatigue. As a result, a child may show resistance to reading because of visual disturbances from a vitamin B2 deficiency.  Riboflavin also calms and maintains a healthy nervous system. Milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, hard boiled eggs and spinach are great sources of riboflavin.
  • Niacin: Vitamin B3 or niacin is essential for skin health and overall support of nervous and digestive systems. Found in all protein-containing foods, niacin is heat stable and can withstand cooking. Dementia, diarrhea and dermatitis are all common symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency.
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5): A deficiency of pantothenic acid is extremely rare and not generally a concern for childhood brain development.
  • Biotin: Also called vitamin B7, biotin is needed for every metabolism. By eating foods rich in biotin like cauliflower, egg yolks, peanuts and mushrooms, a biotin deficiency can be avoided and thereby reduce the likelihood of symptoms like pale or dry skin, hallucinations, depression, scaly dermatitis and cracked, sore tongue.
  • Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 influences brain process and development by helping with the development of neurotransmitters. In some cases memory loss and ADHD can be improved through increased intake of vitamin B6 rich foods or supplementation (under a physician’s direct supervision). Good food sources of pyridoxine are bananas, brewer’s yeast, legumes, eggs and sunflower seeds.

Brain Balance and Nutrition

As part of The Brain Balance Program, we’ve designed a proprietary nutrition system that busy parents can easily follow to manage a child’s nutrition and optimize a balanced brain. The Balance 360 System is specifically designed to help children become healthy eaters. The stepped approach that is Balance 360 helps you move from unhealthy eating habits to extremely healthy eating habits. With Balance 360, health improves as does performance and behavior!

To learn why our whole-child approach is the most effective way to help your child overcome their learning, behavior, and social challenges, contact us online or find a center near you.

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.

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