The teen years can be a trying time, and it’s no wonder when you look at how much teens change in a short period of time. Not only is the body rapidly growing, developing and maturing, but the brain is actually undergoing a series of transformations that will shape who they become as adults.
During childhood, children receive a plethora of information from their environment, school, peers, family, and more. During this time, the brain functions as a processing center, taking information and figuring out what to do with it. When puberty hits, there is a shift in brain function. Gray matter thins out and white matter forms. This translates into a different way of thinking and learning.
As white matter takes over, you will notice that cognitive skills soar. This is because the brain is cleaning house, organizing thoughts, and becoming more efficient, like defragmenting a computer. Girls will usually peak from age 12-14 and boys from 14-16 years of age. Parts of the brain that have never communicated before are now beginning to work together in harmony. New synapses are being formed at lightning speed and your teen may start to notice that they feel very smart. They may even begin to feel like they are grown or smarter than you. This very active stage of brain development also makes teens more susceptible to stress. Combined with hormone overload, being a teen can be a very volatile time.
However, the teen brain is still only about 80% developed. The higher areas of brain function will not be developed until adulthood. The last parts of the brain to develop are the areas that help you to use the information that you have gained to make judgments, develop reasoning skills, and plan for your future. We don’t gain a lot of our cognitive ability until we are well into our twenties; some people, usually men, aren’t done until their thirties. This explains how teens can be so sharp, and yet, so careless.
They are physically incapable of making good judgment calls or accurately imagining their futures. You may notice that many teens decide their major in college, get the degree, and then hate the job. It’s because they literally could not imagine what it would be like to work in their field until they experienced it for themselves. This is why many high schools now implement career choice planning, where teens get to actually go and experience jobs in a variety of fields. This way, they have some experience to base their decisions on.
So, now we need to think about how to take care of the developing teen brain and body. All of this growth and development is key to surviving as an adult. Things like alcohol and drugs can actually damage the developing brain in teens, causing permanent brain damage. Adults are a lot less likely to cause damage to their brains than teens. Giving the brain and body what it needs to develop and protect itself from external assaults is essential.
When you buy vitamins, make sure that you are getting the best. Antioxidants clear the brain of dangerous toxins that kill newly developing cells. Recommended is the best vitamin C, then vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol). Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) are actually necessary to form synapses responsible for regulating mood and judgment. B vitamins help to regulate stress and assist with memory skills. Making sure that your teen gets the best multivitamin and follows a healthy diet is essential for them to grow and develop properly.
About the Author: Phil Le Breton, the owner at Wholesale Nutrition, has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health with vitamins and supplements. Wholesale Nutrition has the best vitamin C powder on the market (C-Salts). Visit http://www.nutri.com to buy vitamins or buy supplements of the highest quality.