4 Brain-Protecting Nutrients

Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
By Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS
Updated: 5/14/20242-4 minutes
striped cat

At Purina, we work day in and day out to find the most cutting edge solutions to problems that affect the quality of life of the pets we love. That’s why we’ve become a leader in using nutrition to promote cognitive health for pets. Our years of research have led us to a unique blend of 4 nutrients that can actually help maintain a healthy brain for cats.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

You’ve probably heard a lot about the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, often found in fish oil. These are crucial for proper functioning of the brain, in cats, dogs and humans alike. Two types of Omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. The first kind, EPA, is an anti-inflammatory nutrient that can be found in foods like salmon, sardines, seaweed and liver. The second kind, DHA, is a type of fat that makes up about 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain. DHA is found in foods like fish, seaweed and liver.

Adequate levels of these nutrients contribute to healthy brain function by helping maintain structural integrity.


Arginine is necessary for the production of nitric oxide (NO). NO relaxes the blood vessels and helps maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation. Beyond that, NO is crucial for the formation of memory in the brain. Arginine is found in meat, nuts, liver and other protein-rich foods.


The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that make up the brain are sensitive to oxidation, which is when free radicals cause cellular damage. Antioxidants are nature’s protection against these free radicals and they also help maintain healthy membrane integrity. For optimal brain protection, the antioxidants Vitamin E, Vitamin C and selenium are crucial.

Vitamin E is found in vegetable oil, nuts, green leafy veggies, eggs and meat. Selenium can be found in fish, red meat, eggs, chicken, liver, yeast and grains. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like oranges.

B Vitamins: 

B Vitamins are crucial to energy production and metabolism of carbohydrates. They also aid cellular maintenance and the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. B vitamins are found in a variety of foods including meats, liver, nuts, legumes, leafy vegetables, whole grains and more. Vitamin B12 is exclusively present in animal products, such as fish and shellfish, meat, liver, milk and milk products.

Working Together

These four nutrient types, when working in concert, help sustain a healthy brain throughout a pet’s life. At Purina, we know that positive effects don’t often come down to just one nutrient or ingredient, but to a smart blend that addresses the many components that make up healthy functioning. Learn more about our nutrition philosophy.

Your Cat’s Health, and Yours Too

Wondering if the nutrients we talked about here would be beneficial for you and your family as well? Good thinking. It’s never a bad idea to try to work these nutrients into your diet for your own brain protection! 

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