Improve Focus & Cognitive Function With Vitamin B6, B12, and Choline

B6, B12 and choline for cognitive performance

Table of Contents

Guest post by Catherine Moore

With the demands of everyday life, it takes a lot to remain calm, focused, and prioritize. We sometimes forget to take care of ourselves as well as we should.

What’s more, unmet nutritional needs can leave us drained and unable to function optimally. Imbalanced nutrition can play a role in concentration, depression, anxiety, and even diagnoses of ADD and ADHD in children and adults.

An important part of the solution is boosting our intake of B6, B12 and choline — all linked to enhancing our sense of calm and mental acuity.1 With the help of the B6 and B12 vitamins and choline in combination with nutrients like magnesium, L-theanine and vitamins C and D, you can improve overall health and cognition, including mental focus. B vitamins work in conjunction with other nutrients to sustain our cognitive functions and memory.

It is important to note that if you suspect ADD/ADHD, a proper diagnosis is necessary. Appropriate therapy for ADD and ADHD may include continual supplementation, medication, and/or therapy. The causes of ADD have not been determined but research has connected ADD/ADHD to genetics, food sensitivities, environmental toxins and nutritional deficiencies.2  Some individuals diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have serious vitamin deficiencies and may not require prescription drugs to improve their ability to focus.3

When these deficiencies are addressed and treated with supplements B12, B6 and choline, mental acuity, cognitive performance, and memory may improve.

This is true for those with ADD/ADHD, but it’s also relevant to anyone who wants to improve mental focus and concentration.

A Closer Look: B6, B12, and Choline and Cognitive Functions

calm focused kids

B6 is found in a variety of foods including poultry, fish, starchy vegetables and fruit, and is essential in the functions of over 100 enzymes. Menopause and premenstrual symptom4, drinking too much alcohol or having kidney issues make it difficult to get enough B6.5

A lack of B6 has been linked to an inability to focus, depression, confusion, and dementia. These effects show up because B6 aids the production of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), all of which support overall brain functions.

When serotonin levels are low, we experience depression and inability to concentrate. GABA helps us remain focused and dopamine keeps us calm, regulates our ability to focus and reduces hyperactivity. Those with symptoms of depression often lack mental clarity and concentration; B6 plays a pivotal role in preventing these symptoms.6

B12 supports brain function while maintaining our nerves and red blood cells assisting in the creation of our DNA. A deficiency of B12 leads to anaemia, depression and lethargy and result in many neuropsychiatric disorders.

B12 is fundamental in the production of dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin, known regulators of mood.

We need B12, which works in conjunction with folic acid, to stimulate the brain and protect us from damage to the nervous system. Most people get enough B12, but older adults and vegetarians or vegans are especially prone to lacking B12.  Those on a plant-based diet who do not supplement are also at risk of pernicious anaemia, a condition often treated with B12 injections.7

Choline functions in relationship to vitamins B6 and B12. Otherwise known as B4, choline is produced in our bodies, but in amounts that would be insufficient without a healthy diet.8 Like B12, choline is found in meat, eggs, fish, and dairy. Nuts and cruciferous vegetables also contain some choline.

Choline aids in nerve cell function and carries fats from the liver so they do not build up. Cognitively, choline helps with ADD/ADHD, maintaining motor skills and, in the ageing population, choline helps with memory and Alzheimer’s.9

B6, Choline and B12 Work in Complement to Support Cognitive Performance

mental calm and focus whole family

Even in the absence of diagnosed ADD/ADHD, many of us find it challenging to stay focused or calm at times. We may experience unexplained anxiety, moodiness or depression.

While it is always important to consult a physician and evaluate the complete picture of your physical and mental health, supplements can help with mental calm and mood. Research shows that choline, B12 and B6 can support brain function.

Pair B12 with Magnesium for Added Cognitive Support

Choline, B12 and B6 work in concert with magnesium, a mineral that is essential to the health of your nervous system. Magnesium may play a role in supporting those with ADHD as well. One of the ways magnesium does so is by inhibiting excitatory neurotransmitter that can lead to, well, excitable behaviors.

Read our post on kids, ADHD, and magnesium to learn more.

If you need a highly-absorbable magnesium supplement, try Natural Calm. Many customers write in to tell us that Natural Calm has helped with their symptoms or their childrens’ symptoms of ADD or ADHD.

See the full range of Natural Calm magnesium citrate powders, gummies, and sleep products in the Natural Calm Canada online shop.

About the Author: Catherine Moore is a freelance writer in Toronto with a background teaching English and developing curriculum


  1. Smith, Alison, Ph.D., Dietary Supplements in Relation to Mental Focus and Memory, p.2
  6. Smith, Alison, Ph.D., Dietary Supplements in Relation to Mental Focus and Memory, p.3
  8. Smith, Alison, Ph.D., Dietary Supplements in Relation to Mental Focus and Memory, p.3

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