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Nutrients to support healthy brain function and development in kids

by Boris Teixeira |

The brain is a mass of wrinkly material that controls every single thing you will ever do. While a child is growing, the brain develops at a rapid pace, with over a million neuron ‘connections’ produced each second. In fact, the brain is said to be faster and more powerful than a supercomputer and it also generates enough electricity to power a lightbulb. It is therefore vital that we choose nutrient rich foods that nourish and protect this remarkable organ while it is developing. 

According to the research, boosting levels of particular minerals, vitamins and antioxidants have, for some children, helped to improve cognition, behaviour and even mood. These brain nutrients include:

 

Magnesium

This wonder nutrient can help to protect children against stress and help with learning and memory. Magnesium is important for calm moods and promotes relaxation in children. In 2011-12, the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that one in three Australians aged two years and over were not meeting their requirements for magnesium. Specifically, it showed that inadequate intakes of magnesium were more common in the nine years and over age group, suggesting that many schools aged children may be deficient in magnesium. A deficiency in magnesium can cause increases in anxiety, irritability, attention, hyperexcitability and aggression difficulties in children (4).

 

Vitamin B6

The mighty vitamin B6 is important for optimal brain development in kids as it is needed to make specific hormones and chemicals that help us to function well and cope with stress. These hormones and chemicals include:

  • Serotonin: a chemical that the body makes to regulate our mood 
  • Melatonin: a hormone that regulates our sleep cycles
  • Noradrenalin: a chemical that assists the body to cope with stress

Vitamin B6 has specifically been used to improve behaviour and attention and decrease anxiety in children who have attention deficit or hyperactivity symptoms (1, 5). 

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for memory and learning in children and low levels of this vitamin have been linked to difficulties in learning as well as behavioural problems. It is concerning that the South Australian Government has stated that vitamin D deficiency is re-emerging as a common health problem in Australian children (3).

 

Antioxidants 

In 2014, a study showed that the antioxidant compounds found in many berries have beneficial effects on the brain, including: 

  • Increasing plasticity, helping brain cells to form new connections, increasing learning and memory
  • Improving cell communication and signalling in the brain
  • Decreasing inflammation throughout the body (6)

A diet rich in antioxidants may reduce the risk of many diseases. Antioxidants are health promoting substances that scavenge free radicals from the body and reduce the risk of damage to important cells. 

Fortunately, there are some special foods we can easily access that are truly antioxidant powerhouses. The richest antioxidants foods studied for their potential to protect the brain include the berries acai, amla, goji, blackberry and blueberry and also the Kakadu Plum. In fact, the acai berry is said to contain up to ten times the level of antioxidants than red grapes. The Kakadu Plum is also a star antioxidant performer and contains the richest source of vitamin C in the world. Lastly, although not known by many here, the amla berry is recognised as the Indian Continents ‘super berry’ due to its potent antioxidant powers. 

 

Grow Up - supporting normal brain development

Grow Up Kids Superfood contains magnesium, vitamins D and B6 as well as an array of powerful antioxidants sourced from organic berries and Kakadu Plum. This all-in-one comprehensive powder is made from organic wholefoods, known for their nutritive and protective actions. This blend is scientifically formulated and may help to support healthy brain development and function in children.

 

WRITTEN BY: Tanya Kwiez


REFERENCES 

1. Nogovitsina OR, Levitina EV, (2006). Effect of MAGNE-B6 on the clinical and biochemical manifestations of the syndrome of attention deficit and hyperactivity in children. Eksp Klin Farmakol;69(1):74-7. 

2. Black LJ, Allen KL, Jacoby P, et al, (2015). Low dietary intake of magnesium is associated with increased externalising behaviours in adolescents. Public Health Nutr;18(10):1824-1830. 

3. Department of Health and Ageing, 2020, Vitamin D Deficiency in Children, Accessed 4/6/2021, available at: https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/cbc97f0040d0445297b1bf40b897efc8/Vitamin+D+Deficiency+in+Children_Paed_v3_1.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-cbc97f0040d0445297b1bf40b897efc8-nxyZfKY

4. ABS, 2015, Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, Accessed 1/6/2021, available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.008~2011-12~Main%20Features~Magnesium~406

5. Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP, (2006). Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res;19(1):46-52. PMID: 16846100.

6. Subash S, Essa MM, Al-Adawi S, Memon MA, Manivasagam T, Akbar M, (2014). Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regen Res;9(16):1557-1566. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.139483

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