By Sandra Miller
September 2, 2017
B Complex Group (part 1)
The B Complex GROUP of vitamins are cofactors that play really nice together. As a matter of fact, it is not really the best idea to take just one of them without the others. As the name indicates, a “C0-factor” does not work alone. B Complex vitamins work better together.
What is critical to understand is this: Although it is ideal to get our nutrients through food, I am going to show you that getting adequate amounts of all the B complex vitamins will be challenging without supplementation for several reasons. This guide will help you to pick the right B Complex vitamin and individual B’s that actually work as they should,and not cheap synthetic garbage. Cheap and synthetic forms are unusable by our bodies. It is too bad that most of us are taking this junk.
If you are reading this because you or someone you know is suffering from a mood disorder, you are probably not getting the right form of B Vitamins. Why? Because depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia and disorders that are similar are caused by defects in our neurotransmitter production for one reason or another.
They are a direct reflection that you are most likely not either getting enough, the correct form, are compromised with assimilation, have a defect in your methylation or all of the aforementioned. This can also be related to chronic inflammation. There is a gene associated with difficulty in the processsing of some of the B Complex Group. This article detail the all-importance of the B Complex group of co-factors.
A Silent Culprit
I will also describe a process called methylation (part two link below article) and why taking correct forms of certain B vitamins is critical. The link is at the bottom of the page. For those of you with any kind of depression, anxiety or other mood disorder, this mini training in the form of an article could be life changing.
You may never need to take mood altering medication again. I am putting it out in several parts because there is A LOT of information to cover. First I want to share a few thoughts on why anyone may be likely deficient even if you are taking a B Complex vitamin supplement currently.
B Complex Good-to-Knows
Even when you eat a good diet, high in B complex vitamins, the elements are the enemy. Heat, light, air and water can destroy certain B’s. Most all of the B Complex group are destroyed by cooking. They are not heat stable. This statement alone lets us know that even though we may be eating the right foods, cooking will destroy most B vitamins. This handy little guide will help you understand how to preserve your precious B vitamins. And precious they are!
The GENE link
Genetics may play a role in one’s inability to produce neurotransmitters. Take the wrong type of certain B vitamins along with a faulty gene and guess what? Your “happy hormone” production goes down the toilet. The fantastic news is that it is not difficult to improve your mood even with bad genetics, as long as you take the right forms of B complex vitamins.
Taking certain medications, gluten consumption and the amount of stomach acid you possess can all have effects on mood and memory and the making of neurotransmitters.
Even if you take quality supplements and eat a “good” diet, any of the above could cause a mal-absorption problem. If you are still eating gluten containing grains I will tell you right now, you probably don’t have much chance of getting better. You should go back to this article: Are You Eating For Optimal Health?
No vitamin in the world will help your depression if you are still eating grains that are heavily sprayed with pesticide. Sorry but I cannot work miracles. Even genetic issues can be overcome. I will help show you how mal-absorption may occur from eating gluten and GMO’s as sure as fire will burn you. These things destroy the gut. The gut is your gateway to your health. Or the doorway to hell.
Some of the symptoms of early deficiency of most B vitamins are similar. Mental or physical fatigue, anemia (due to low oxygen in the blood), memory or mood disorders, twitches, nerve pain or body pain, nervousness and perhaps even skin disorders. Here is another easy way to remember some of the more progressive symptoms. Think FOUR D’s.
Dermatitis, dementia, diarrhea and death. If you think to yourself “I take a multivitamin so I am not at risk of deficiency, think again.
Most people today who take B vitamins in supplement form are only giving themselves some very “expensive pee.” Before I delve into the vitamins themselves, let’s talk about how to optimize utilization of the B complex group. I will start with the most important ones first.
1) Adequate digestive enzymes /low stomach acid
If you read my article “Restoring Digestive Balance ” then you are well aware that many processes are dependent on adequate stomach acid and healthy gut bacteria. Digestive enzymes are also extremely important and should be supplemented. Ability to absorb B vitamins (especially B 12) requires adequate stomach acid. The flip side is that too much acid can also have an effect on absorption. If you take any form of acid blocker, even Tums ® or Rolaids ®, you may not be absorbing your B’s.
2) Intrinsic factor
Inside our gastric glands resided cells called “parietal cells” that produce a substance called” intrinsic factor.” These parietal cells secrete hydrochloric acid which helps break down foods. “Pernicious Anemia” is a conditon characterized by low production of intrinsic factor.
In the presence of low stomach acid, foods cannot be fully broken down. B 12 can then not be absorbed. This leads to low red blood cell formation and leads to anemia. It is categorized as an autoimmune condition.
Gluten consumption can be a key player in damage to the parietal cells. Have anemia? It pays to give a gluten free diet a try. GMO containing foods will also cause damage to the stomach and will affect production of intrinsic factor. MSG is another nasty one. Keep eating these foods and it’s not a question of IF, but rather when these foods will affect you.
Wording such as “natural flavor” might just be MSG. This is why for optimal health there is very little that should be eaten from a box with the exception of some brown rice or quinoa. MSG hides under more than 12 different names.
3) Poor quality supplements/ inactive forms of supplements
A personal pet peeve of mine. Being a supplement specialist, I have steered countless people away from the Centrum and One -A Day- shelves. And don’t even get me started on kid’s vitamins. I understand how tough it can be to get kids to take vitamins but quality DOES matter. New to the market is one gummy that I can give at least one thumbs up on. It’s called SMARTY PANTS.
It does contain one active forms of the B’s which you are about to learn more about. Supplements are the easiest bio hack you can make next to clean eating, but food comes first. Even for your kids.
The B complex group
This grouping collectively has some similar functions. I will be not only be covering some common B vitamins, but a few others that you need to be aware of and I would be remiss to exclude them. You may never have even heard of them. The importance of some of these will surprise you.
What is more surprising is that the importance of some of these vitamins is not only hushed, but it is not legal to add these certain B’s to your daily multivitamin formulation. They have been banned by the FDA. This means that they have probably been proven to have extreme value in human health. Really! The drug companies cannot patent them so their powers are kept secret.
B 1 -Thiamine
B Complex superstar #1 is Thiamine. Severe thiamine deficiency is not as common today as it once was but some of the causes of depletion may lead you to rethink your diet. Liver and kidney dysfunction are commonly known for causing low thiamine but it you are a crash dieter, eat too many carbs like most Americans, and have a diet high in sweet treats/soda/processed foods and the like, you may be staring deficiency in the face.
Digestive disorders (especially constipation), depression/emotional issues, irritability, slow heart rate, muscular weakness/pain/leg cramps may be linked to a thiamine deficiency. Depression hurts. Have you heard that commercial? When you don’t have the right amount of thiamine and other B’s you will experience body pain. Deficiency in thiamine is seen commonly in those who eat lots white rice or refined white flour products.
This would include anything made from white rice flour. A lot of gluten-free foods contain white rice flour. An occasional indulgence is fine, especially if you are supplementing with thiamine. Nuts and oats are a good source. Beef liver, pork and eggs as well. Legumes and oranges have some thiamine as well.
Get the little ones off to a good start
Interestingly enough, rice cereal is one of the first cereals fed to our babies. Are we starting our young ones off in a deficient state? Perhaps. Lack of adequate thiamine effects blood formation and carbohydrate metabolism. Severe deficiency leads to diseased states. You can check out more details on this deficiency here:
Enriched products are a leading source of cheap synthetic nutrients and lead to THE PROBLEM WE ARE TRYING TO FIX. For someone like me, supplementation of thiamine is a must. An average adult requires 2-3 grams of Vitamin B1 daily and to supplement correctly you would want to use a free form type called thiamin pyrophosphate TPP. I love the BULK SUPPLEMENTS brand of powders.
As with all of their powder supplements, you are getting pure vitamins with no fillers. If you wanted to take it in capsule form I would suggest purchasing vegetable capsules that are empty and fill them yourself with this product.
I get mine here:
The next B Complex heavy hitter is Riboflavin. Riboflavin is found in decent quantities in milk, meat, nuts, eggs and green leafy veggies. Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan, you probably get enough. Low levels have shown ties to increased migraines. Riboflavin has great benefits for healthy aging so you will want to make sure you are getting your share. Healthy skin, hair and nails depend on adequate amounts as well as having healthy reproductive function. It can even benefit your athletic performance.
Doctors use to lower homocysteine levels. Also used are B6 and B12 but and folate. High levels of homocysteine lead to inflammation and heart disease process. You can find dosages here:
Hard cheese, lamb, veal, steak and most greens have a decent amount.
Niacin, also called nicotinic acid, is up next. Actually there are several forms of niacin. Doctors often steer patients to niacin to reduce cholesterol levels. Whether or not it really works is still up in the air among the scientific community. There are strong arguments on both sides. So many things can play upon how taking niacin affects you. Medications, herbal supplements and recreational drugs all play a role. It is not a supplement you would start taking randomly on its own.
There are certain conditions like ulcers and liver disease that would make this a bad decision to supplement niacin. It is also not something to take while pregnant unless your doctor is supervising. Nicotinic acid is the form of choice but it comes with a price. Niacin in the nicotinic acid form can cause a very disturbing phenomenon called “niacin flush.” Your skin will turn warm and pink. Resembling a bad sunburn, this flush can last for an hour or so. Lack of niacin leads to a disease called pellagra. More here: http://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/pellagra .
Niacin supplementation has been shown to decrease triglycerides by 20 to 50%. This can be done better by just cutting out refined carbohydrates and that is a much safer option and better all around. Niacin may increase glucose in diabetics and should be avoided unless your doctor tells you to take it. Your doctor may recommend niacin in the nicotinic acid form. This is the recommended form. Processed foods contain a cheaper form called niacinamide.
We need about 18 mg. per day. Tuna, chicken and pork are the best sources. Now unless you can get a tuna with less mercury, I would not use tuna as an option because of the high mercury content. This would be counterproductive since mercury can be a cause of deficiency. Free range chicken is your best bet. Also mushrooms, green peas and grass fed beef. If you are taking niacin and need to take a drug test, tell the tester as it may affect your results.
Choline is a component of the neurotransmitter “acetylcholine” which governs muscle movement and brain function. Those who suffer from nervous twitches are often deficient in choline. Choline has what it takes to protect the “myelin sheath.” Myelin is a protective covering for nerves. Anxious or nervous? Ramp up your egg yolk consumption. It is one of the best sources. It is also a component of phosphatidylcholine. One of the main ingredients in most quality supplements for memory and cognitive function. The brain loves fats and choline is a phospholipid. Choline is rampantly deficient in vegetarians and vegans.
Citicholine is a supplement getting some rave reviews. We love this product Vasayo NEURO
B4 possesses properties that prevent the excessive accumulation of fat in the liver. Just another reason for you to eat your yolks, folks. It is one of the best sources of choline. Liver and breast milk are also good sources as well as shrimp and scallops. Nature provides does it not? Just one serving of meat or egg yolk is more than enough.
Soy is a vegetarian source of choline but soy possesses numerous health challenges. Soy is a GMO food and also causes hormonal issues for men and women. Fermented forms of soy such as tofu or tempeh work best. Brussels sprouts, broccoli and chocolate do have some. There is no RDI currently, only guidelines. Too much choline can make your body odor smell fishy. Try getting choline from food sources.
B 5-pantothenic acid
It appears that the most studied role of pantothenic acid in health shows its’ incorporation into a molecule called Coenzyme A (CoA). http://www.livestrong.com/article/271006-the-functions-of-coenzyme-a/ CoA is the helper molecule that facilitates the oxidation pathway for fatty acid metabolism within our cells. You may also be interested to know that it is also responsible for testosterone and stress hormone production as well as healthy aging. Pantothenic acid is not too difficult to find in food.
Mushrooms have to be the top source for B5. Cauliflower, lentils and peas have decent amounts as well. Meat and milk also have appreciable amounts. So do cheese, oily fish and avocado.
In combination with its helpers B12 and B9, and Riboflavin, pyridoxine helps keep Homocysteine from building up to levels that lead to heart disease. This nutrient also orchestrates mood as well as sleep because it is a key player in neurotransmitter production as well. It also has natural diuretic properties.
Salmon, chicken, turkey and lentils are decent sources. Brown rice and carrots are some nice vegetarian sources.
B7 – Biotin
Often known as the “beauty vitamin because of its association with healthy hair, skin and nails. More importantly, this B complex vitamin may help people with diabetes help to keep blood glucose levels in better control. It is also another one that is vital to a growing fetus. Barley is a good source biotin but barley does contain gluten so here are other choices. Liver, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks and nuts. I am still going to try steer you away from gluten : )
Just a side note. Did you notice that most crucial nutrients can be found in egg yolks and liver? Hmmm…interesting
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