The Brain-Boosting Benefits of B6 for Year-End Studying

The Brain-Boosting Benefits of B6 for Year-End Studying

Article By: Dominica Dieffenbach, RDN

Dominica is a Registered Dietitian and mom of 2 kiddos currently specializing in the special needs pediatric population. She has over 15 years of experience as an RD, working with a wide variety of patients to provide them with individualized medical nutrition therapy and education.

With the end of each school year comes many mixed emotions... Kids often begin to experience a lack of motivation and interest in school amidst all the excitement for summer. For older kids in particular, the month of May brings stressful exams and large projects as grades are finalized for the year.

1) What are some strategies to keep kids focused at the end of the school year?

Below are 5 ways we can help kiddos improve their focus during this time. Pssssst... Their teachers will thank you!

  • Acknowledge that it is difficult to stay focused. Let children know this is something we all experience and that there are ways to work through it.
  • Help your child make a list of the big and little things that need to get done. Put those tasks on a calendar so they can see what they need to do each day.
  • Find ways to motivate your child. Plan a fun activity or non-food reward to encourage success.
  • Ensure kids are sticking to a bedtime routine, free from screen time to promote adequate sleep.

2) What is Vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6, otherwise known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in brain health. There is growing evidence to support Vitamin B6's involvement in increasing neurotransmitter production (norepinephrine, epinephrine, and GABA) and creating the "feel-good" hormones dopamine and serotonin. This in turn, can help to decrease hyperactivity and anxiety and improve mood, memory, and attention in school.

Vitamin B6 is found naturally occurring in many plant and animal foods such as tuna, salmon, poultry, chickpeas, bananas, cantaloupe, and spinach. For children who eat a varied diet, a B6 deficiency is not common. However, kids with ADHD and kids who are vegetarians, are extremely picky eaters, and/or are on a limited diet would especially benefit from supplementing with B6. Even if a deficiency is not present, B6 supplementation can still have positive outcomes. Since Vitamin B6 is water soluble, the body will excrete out what it doesn’t need in the urine.

3) How can Vitamin B6 help?

Getting good sleep is vital when it comes to healthy bodies and powerful minds, and adequate levels of B6 support the hormones and neurotransmitters needed to reduce brain activity to allow for restful sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s an important precursor to serotonin, which is then converted into the sleep hormone melatonin. Without sufficient B6 (which is necessary for this pathway), the body can’t convert tryptophan to serotonin or support melatonin production. Often melatonin is taken to help with sleep, however, supplementing with B6 instead may negate the need for taking melatonin. GABA is known as the “calming” neurotransmitter and may help relax the brain, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep.

Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.

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