Food for Thought: Support your Brain Tracks with Folate and Vitamins B6, B12

Posted on Posted in Brain Health, Food, Nourishment

Welcome to blogpost #9 in the 10-day Food for Thought series. I am writing this series for the Illinois Region of Phi Theta Kappa to promote healthy, focused, smart brains. Today’s post is focused on three critical nutrients that are required for brain communication.




The Mighty Methylators

Folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are what Dr. Mark Hyman calls the “Mighty Methylators.” You really need to make sure you get enough foods that are rich in these nutrients. This is critical. They support two of the most important biochemical pathways in your body. I won’t get too science-y on you, but these systems are intricately interconnected, and a “break in the tracks” can cause many illnesses.

The names of these two biological pathways are methylation and sulfation. Problems with these systems are involved in all neurological disorders and mental illness. This includes depression, autism, attention deficit disorder, dementia, Parkinson’s and others. When the sulfation and methylation pathways don’t work effectively, it can even be indicative of heart disease and cancer.

The efficiency of these two pathways is controlled primarily by genetics and nutrient status. Good genes and good nutrition lead to well-run systems. Bad genes, poor diet, and toxins lead to broken systems. Genetic testing can help to identify if you lack any genes essential to methylation and sulfation. Otherwise, give attention to the foods that are rich in vitamins B6 and vitamin B12, and folate.


The Mighty Methylators: What are the richest, high-quality sources?


Folate (vitamin B9)

Lentils and cowpeas (best source)

Pinto beans


Cooked spinach

Black beans

Cooked asparagus

Romaine lettuce


Wheat germ


Vitamin B6

Chickpeas (best source)

Yellowfin tuna

Wild, Sockeye salmon

Prune juice


Organic chicken breast


Vitamin B12





Wild, Sockeye salmon

Nutritional yeast


The Sulfation train needs sulfur:




Organic eggs

Sunflower seeds

Organic poultry