Tuesday, May 10, 2011

B Vitamins

We all know that vitamins are an essential part of life.  They are micronutrients because our bodies require them in small amounts compared to things like carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water.  Vitamins are a significant part of our good health because they regulate metabolism and are part of how our processes our food to release the energy within it.  Vitamins are either soluble in water or fat.  Water-soluble vitamins must be brought into the body daily because they are not stored in the body but pass through the body within hours.  Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, usually in the body's fatty tissues.

B Vitamins
The B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that help to maintain the health of the nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver and mouth as well as healthy muscle tone and proper brain function.  Because B vitamins work together, a deficiency in one often indicates a deficiency in another.  The B vitamins are a team, which is why B Complex is a common supplement.
The eight B vitamins discussed below are
  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B12
  • Folic acid
These vitamins help the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. They also help form red blood cells. Not getting enough of certain B vitamins can cause diseases.  At the end of this entry you will find recommended food based supplements for your consideration. 

Vitamin B1  -  Thiamine
Thiamine enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism and in proper digestion.  Thiamine also optimizes cognitive activity and brain function.  It has a positive effect on energy, growth, normal appetite and learning capabilities as well as is important for proper muscle tone.  Thiamine deficiency can result in a form of dementia, congestive heart failure and cancers.
Antibiotics, phenytoin, sulfa drugs, oral contraceptives, heavy alcohol or caffeine consumption each decrease thiamine levels in the body. 

Vitamin B2  -  Riboflavin
Riboflavin is necessary for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration and growth.  It alleviates eye fatigue and is important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts.  It aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  Riboflavin facilitates the use of oxygen by the tissues of teh skin, nails, and hair; eliminates dandruff; and helps absorption of iron and vitamin B6.   Carpal tunnel syndrome may benefit from a treatment program that includes riboflavin and vitamin B6.  Deficiency symptoms include cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, skin lesions, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, stunted growth and slowed mental response.    

Vitamin B3  -  Niacin
Niacin is needed for proper circulation and healthy skin.  It aids in the functioning of the nervous system; in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; and the proper functioning of the digestive system.  Niacin lowers cholesterol levels and improves circulation, is helpful for mental illnesses and is a memory-enhancer.  Niacin has been found to help in the prevention of cancer, insulin dependent diabetes,   Niacin deficiency results in Pellagra, canker sores, dementia, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, halitosis, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, limb pains, loss of appetite, low blood sugar, muscular weakness, skin eruptions and inflammation. 

Vitamin B-  Panothenic Acid 
Panothenic Acid is known as the "antistress vitamin" because it plays a role in the production of the adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters, and formation of antibodies, aids in wound healing and vitamin utilization, and helps convert fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy.  Panothenic acid is required by every cell in the body.  Panothenic acid is also a stamina enhancer, and prevents certain forms of anemia, is needed for proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and adrenal glands, and is helpful in treating depression and anxiety.  A deficiency of panothenic acid may cause fatigue, headache, nausea, and tingling in the hands.  

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is involved in more bodily functions than almost any other single nutrient!  It affects both physical and mental health, promotes red cell formation, is necessary for production and absorption of nutrients, helps the body produce antibodies to fight diseases, maintain normal hormone, immune and nerve function.  Vitamin B6 is required for the synthesis of RNA and DNA in cellular reproduction and growth.  Vitamin B6plays a role in cancer immunity and aids in the prevention of arteriosclerosis, inhibits the formation of the toxic chemical homocystine which increases naturally with stress.  Vitamin B6 is a mild diuretic and may be useful in preventing kidney stones as well as treating allergies, arthritis and asthma.  A deficiency of Vitamin B6 can result in anemia, convulsions, headaches, nausea, flaky skin, a sore tongue, and vomiting.  Signs of deficiency are:  acne, anorexia, arthritis, conjunctivitis, cracks or sores on the mouth and lips, depression, dizziness, fatigue, hyperirritability, impaired wound healing, inflammation, learning difficulties, impaired memory or memory loss, hair loss, hearing problems, numbness, stunted growth and tingling sensations.  Antidepressants, estrogen therapy and oral contraceptives may increase the need for Vitamin B6.  Diuretics and cortisone drugs block the absorption of this vitamin by the body.

Vitamin B7  -  Biotin
Biotin aids in cell growth, in fatty acid production, in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; and in the utilization of other B-complex vitamins.  Sufficient quantities are needed for healthy hair and skin and prevents hair loss, promotes healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue and bone marrow.  It also helps to relieve muscle pain.  Biotin is formed in the intestines but when a deficiency does occur it can cause anemia, depression, hair loss, high blood sugar, inflammation or pallor of the skin and mucous membranes, insomnia, loss of appetite, muscular pain, nausea and soreness of the tongue.  Fats and oils that have been subjected to heat or exposed to the air for any length of time inhibit biotin absorption and antibiotics, sulfa drugs and saccharin also threaten the availability of biotin.

Vitamin B-  Folate or Folic Acid
Folic Acid is considered "brain food" and is needed for energy production and the formation of red blood cells.  It also strengthens immunity by aid in gin the proper formation and functioning of white blood cells.  Because it functions as a coenzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis, it is important for healthy cell division and replication.  It is involved in protein metabolism and has been used to treat and prevent folic acid anemia and in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia.  Folate may be the most important nutrient in regluating homocysteine levels.  Folate is also very important in pregnancy.  It helps to regulate late embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, which is vital for normal development.  Sings of folic acid deficiency are a red and sore tongue, anemia, apathy, digestive disturbances, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, insomnia and birth defects.  Oral contraceptives increase the need for folate and alcohol inhibits folate absorption.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is the most chemically complex of all of the vitamins and is the general name for a group of essential biologic compounds called cobalamins.  Cobalamins are similar to hemoglobin in the blood except that instead of iron, they contain cobalt.  Vitamin B12 is active in the growth and protection of the nervous system and our bodies require increasing quantities as we age.  Many elderly people take "vitamin B12 shots" but unfortunately this inexpensive synthetic form of this vitamin is difficult for the body to absorb and usually fails to find it's way to the cells where it is needed.  This is a prime example of synthetic vs natural supplementation.  This vitamin has been shown to prevent, slor or even reverse symptoms of Parkinson's disease, Bell's palsy, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological diseases.  Studies suggest that Vitamin B12 could increase the synthesis of certain proteins that help to regenerate nerves.  Vitamin B12 is essential in converting the toxic stress chemical homocystine into a form which is used to build protein making it necessary for cardiovascular function and health.  This vitamin is needed to prevent anemia, regulate the formation of blood cells and in the utilization of iron, it is required for proper digestion, absorption of foods, cell formation and longevity, prevents nerve damage, maintains fertility and promotes normal growth and development.  This vitamin is also linked to memory and learning abilities and has been shown to enhance sleep patterns.  Deficiency can cause abnormal gait, bone loss, chronic fatigue, constipation, depression, digestive disorders, dizziness, drowsiness, enlargement of the liver, eye disorders, hallucinations, headaches, inflammation, irritability, labored breathing, memory loss, moodiness, nervousness, neurological damage palpitations, pernicious anemia, ringing in the ears and spinal-cord degeneration.  Anitgout and anticoagulant drugs, and potassium supplements block the absorption of this vitamin.

Supplementation is important today because while we were created to get all the nutrients we need for healthy lives through our food, our commercialized food supply today does not provide the same volume of important nutrients that it once did.  Due to poor commercial farming practices, depleted soils and premature harvesting, our produce is not as nutritious as Grandma's produce was.  It is important that we supplement our diets with food based supplements because our bodies don't appreciate synthetic copy-cats.  

B-Complex provides all eight essential B vitamins necessary for converting the food we eat into energy. B vitamins are essential in the synthesis of DNA and new cells. The B vitamins (folic acid, B6, and B12) promote a healthy cardiovascular system by helping to lower homocysteine levels in the blood.  There are eight essential B vitamins, and they work best when they work together. Unfortunately, the typical Western diet doesn’t provide enough whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and fish needed to provide 100% of the Daily Value. Shaklee B-Complex provides all the B vitamins you may not be getting in your diet. The eight B vitamins, including biotin, work to: Promote healthy cardiovascular systems, Help metabolize energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein, Aid in the synthesis of DNA and new cells


1 comment:

  1. Vitamin B is really vital for protecting the body from many diseases. Not all of it is available in our normal food diet, so some supplements are necessary.