When you think of the B vitamins
most people think of vitamin B6 or B12 or b complex which makes up the whole
group. Vitamin B12 is the most widely known of the vitamin B group however B6
and b complex are starting to become well known due to the huge influx of
people with vitamin B deficiencies. On average 1 out of 31 adults above the age
of 51 have low vitamin B12.
Even though vitamin B12 deficiencies are largely seen in the elderly
populations, a study in 2002 found that 40% of healthy men and women had low
levels of B vitamins. There are likely a large number of people who go
undetected with vitamin B deficiencies.
The B vitamins are a group of
water-soluble vitamins that play a huge role in the body. The group of vitamin
B’s are essential nutrients to the body because they are involved in so much of
the bodies metabolism. The B vitamins are responsible for cellular
differentiation, transmission of nerve electricity, health of nerve cells,
heart pulse rate, muscular contraction, digestion, brain function, thought
processes, energy production, metabolism, maintenance of skin and muscle tone,
enhancing the immune and nervous system functions, promoting cell growth and
division, and DNA synthesis. Originally the B vitamins were thought to be one
vitamin but were later discovered to be a complex set of vitamins that coexist.
Although each individual vitamin
has its own set of functions they work in conjunction to maintain the health of
the human body. Each vitamin
although specifically categorized within the B group also has their own
chemical name ie. B12- cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin, B2- riboflavin, B9-
folic acid. B vitamins are found
in whole unprocessed foods such as meat, poultry, milk, eggs, and fish.
Additionally B vitamins can be found in whole grains, potatoes, bananas,
lentils, chili peppers, tempeh, beans, nutritional yeast and molasses. However,
B12 is the only one of the B group that cannot be found in plant products.
Lower levels of vitamin B can be found in processed sugars and flour, as well
as beers, and energy drinks, however the effects from these products can cancel
out the benefit of the B vitamins or even cause a net deficit of vitamin B
within the body.
Vegetarians make up a portion of
people with B12 deficiency due to the lack of eating meat. Because of the huge
number of people who are vitamin B deficient it is important to understand the
reasons behind vitamin B deficiencies. Most people who have low levels or are
deficient in vitamin B consume the proper amounts of the vitamin B’s. However,
their stomachs have trouble absorbing the vitamin because of reduced levels of
stomach acidity or intestinal disorders. In addition a disease called
pernicious anemia, destroys the stomach cells that absorbs vitamin B12.
Heartburn medicines and ulcer medicines also have this affect on the stomach as
well. Surgical procedures on the stomach or intestines can also lead to trouble
absorbing vitamin B12. Still there are other reasons for low levels or B
Stress plays a huge role on body
functioning and is known for causing physical reactions within the body. Stress
actually causes vitamin B levels to deplete within the body and the longer
stress is present the longer the body will be deficient of vitamin B. A poor
diet that is filled with processed foods and refined sugar leads to lower
levels of vitamin B. Ultimately a poor diet leads to malnutrition which can
lead to more severe health problems. Also all the food we eat is cooked, baked,
heated or fried which leads to the elimination of nutrients. Excessive heating
can destroy essential nutrients in the foods that we eat. By eating more raw
foods our body can get adequate amounts of all vitamins, minerals and
nutrients. In addition drugs, both
recreational and prescription medications deplete the levels of vitamin B.
Toxic poisons and chemicals not only in the environment but through personal
products can lead to lower levels of vitamin B.
has been discovered that initially there are no detectable signs that signify a
lowered level or deficiency in vitamin B. Lowered levels of vitamin B can cause
severe, debilitating problems within the body overtime. Unfortunately the first
signs of deficiency are ignored, misinterpreted or diagnosed as something else.
This includes signs of altered or diminished capacity such as fatigue,
weakness, low energy and poor health. Overtime as the body goes without vitamin
B more and more symptoms arise such as mental problems, heart palpitations,
heart arrhythmias, fibrillation, indigestion, chronic fatigue, chronic
exhaustion, paranoia, nervousness, feeling of uneasiness, easy agitation,
frustration, insomnia, restlessness, tingling in hands, fingers and toes,
rashes, crying spells, soreness all over, weight loss, cheilosis, sore throat,
aggression, dermatitis, mental confusion, diarrhea, acne, paresthesia, anemia,
depression, hypertension, impaired growth, peripheral neuropathy, memory loss,
and many more. In addition to physical symptomology, diseases and illnesses are
soon to appear including beriberi, scurvy, Wernicke's encephalopathy,
ariboflavinosis, pellagra, microcytic anemia, Multiple carboxylase deficiency,
and Pernicious anemia. Furthermore with the lack of vitamin B the adrenal
system goes into overdrive to produce energy within the body. If the adrenal
system continues to work overtime it can become worn out or impaired causing
the body even more severe problems.
you have been diagnosed with lowered levels of vitamin B or a vitamin B
deficiency then taking a vitamin B supplement is pertinent to avoiding problems
within the body. Although, eating foods that are rich in vitamin B are better
than taking a supplement in some cases supplementation is necessary. To raise
your vitamin B levels it is necessary to take in at least 1000 mcg a day, which
is near impossible to do with regular food. Dietary supplementation is
necessary and there are several B vitamin supplements on the market including
pills, tablets, capsules, and injections. If a medical doctor diagnoses you
with a vitamin B deficiency, they can prescribe B12 or vitamin B complex in
pharmaceutical grade. This is more potent than nutritional supplements because
it is regulated by the FDA and has to go through a rigorous approval process.
Vitamin B injections are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. They are
given once a week and are usually taken for the rest of your life. However
vitamin B pills are just as effective as vitamin B shots. Ask your doctor for
recommendations on a brand of nutritional supplementation for vitamin B.