“Vitamins” for the Brain

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) publishes a newsletter “Healthy Years.” In a recent promo for the newsletter, the B Vitamins, especially B12, B6, and Folate are suggested for brain health, to improve mood and mental function, including depression and dementia and possibly late onset Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, antioxidants, especially E and C and omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA. A varied diet with “regular helpings of fish, plus a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds–all sources of brainy nutrients like folate, B Vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega=3 acids” is recommended. A second page mentions Acupuncture for problems of pain and stiffness related to osteoarthritis. They mention that the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture for many respiratory diseases, eye and mouth problems, orthopedic troubles, neurological disorders, and gastrointestinal ailments, and that the National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement on Acupuncture, to relieve nausea and vomiting that often comes with chemotherapy. They cite Neuroscience Letters for a suggestion that it may be helpful in Parkinson’s disease. Other uses have been regaining mobility after stroke, treating headaches, low back pain, tennis elbow and even substance abuse. To me, this promo sounds like one of the better health letters.

Vitamin supplementation is particularly important for those who are indoors most of the time (particularly vitamin D), or have a very poor appetite or are unable to eat much or absorb what they eat.

In today’s University United Methodist Church of Salina Health and Wellness meeting, spiritual health was discussed. Two suggestions were a bit unusual perhaps…one, that even if there is no one to lead a prayer service, the opportunity to sit, listen to music, read scripture and meditate is helpful to body, mind and spirit, and two, that songs learned in childhood can be spiritually uplifting to people who have various degrees of dementia. The songs can be used either at home or while they are in their favorite place of worship.

Because “vitamins”are so named because they are vital to health, we could say these practical practices for spiritual health are vitamins also.

Even though we might use vitamins or other supplements and EXERCISE for brain health, they will not necessarily make us wealthy or wise.

As discussed earlier, financial health is essential to physical, mental and social health. And being able to give to those who are less fortunate is helpful for psychological and spiritual health.

There is another source of wisdom you may not have heard about. The ‘graces’ or gifts of the Spirit are important in Christian life and teaching. In my next post will be a study on Gifts of the Spirit I was asked to develop for the Pathfinder Class at University United Methodist Church in Salina, Kansas, several years ago. Feel free to copy it and use it for one of your “vitamins” to supplement your personal well-being and especially your “brain” health.

 

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