Even though b vitamins work best together, it’s often necessary to supplement 1 b in a therapeutic, or very large dose to deal with a particular symptom. As long as you follow the basic rule of using a B complex as a foundation, therapeutic doses of single B’s can be extremely beneficial and symptoms can be relieved within a few days. Below is an outline of each B’s deficiency symptom, which foods are high in that nutrient, and how best to supplement.
B1 Thiamine: B1 deficiency (and in fact all B deficiencies) are common in alcoholics. B1 processes carbs to energy therefore deficiency = weakness. B1 foods include wheat germ, sesame, sunflower seed, Marmite lentils, whole grains, free range, grass-fed red meats, peas, milk, cauliflower, spinach and legumes. Supplements are available as thiamine and are inexpensive. According to Mercola, a study back in the 1960s indicated that taking vitamin B1 may be effective in discouraging mosquitoes from biting. The theory is, taking more vitamin B1 than your body requires causes the excess to be excreted through your urine, skin, and sweat. Vitamin B1 produces a skin odor that female mosquitoes seem to find offensive.
B2 Riboflavin: supports cellular energy production; in addition riboflavin works as an antioxidant, fighting damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. Riboflavin is also needed to help the body change vitamin B6 and B9 into forms it can use. (See how the B’s need to B together?!). B2 deficiency directly affects the cellular processes running in the body leading to fatigue. Migraines may be due to a B2 deficiency. B2 may help prevent cataracts. Foods include grass-fed meat, mushrooms, broccoli, eggs, spinach, almonds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables though deficiency should be addressed with supplementation – Riboflain is available as a supplement, usually on request. Many drugs inhibit the absorption of B2, often leading to deficiency symptoms. these include anti-depressants, tetracycline, methotrexate and diuretics (including coffee).
B3 Niacin: Nicotinamide, inositol hexanicotinate…. confusing!! B3 Niacin plays important roles in many physiological functions such as metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, blood circulation, functioning of the nervous system, and synthesis of insulin, sex hormones, cortisone, and thyroxin. Niacin supplements can cause an unpleasant flush in many people, but it is this flushing that is clearing the arteries, lowering cholesterol and improving the circulation. Best to avoid, though, if the flushing is extreme. Products labeled as “no-flush” niacin generally contain no nicotinic acid. The main component in these products is inositol hexanicotinate (a different form of vitamin B3 mentioned earlier). While inositol hexanicotinate works as other B vitamins work to promote energy metabolism and nervous system health, it has not been shown to have any effect on cholesterol levels. This product does not cause flushing and therefore it does not work the same way as niacin. Nicotinamide, or niacinamide, performs all of the essential biochemical functions of niacin and prevents its deficiency. Large doses of nicotinamide do not cause vasodilatation or flushing and do not lower serum lipid concentrations. B3 deficiency – Pellagra, is rare in our modern world (except among alcoholics). More common symptoms of B3 deficiency include indigestion, fatigue, canker (mouth) sores, vomiting, depression and poor circulation. B3 is found in grass-fed cow’s milk, egg, fish, fresh tuna, pasture-raised beef, free-range chicken, dates, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, leaf vegetables, whole-grain products and nuts. All 3 forms of B3 are available as supplements and regarded as safe
B5 Pantothenic acid: The term pantos is Greek and means “everywhere” because B5 is found in most foods, but the richest sources include (free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free) organ meats (liver, kidney), egg yolk, whole grains, avocados, cashew nuts, peanuts, lentils, soybeans, brown rice, broccoli, and milk. B5 is a critical co-factor in the production of stress-related hormones and deficient in adrenal fatigue. B5 is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells, as well as sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Vitamin B5 is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, and it helps the body use other vitamins, particularly B2 (see? see them need to B together?!!?). We need B5 to synthesize cholesterol. Vitamin B5 deficiency includes stress-related issues and adrenal fatigue, symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, stomach pains, burning feet, and upper respiratory infections. B5 is available and very effective as a supplement, and assists in would-healing, especially after surgery and may help with the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis (sufferers generally have low levels of B5
B6: Vitamin B6 is critical for life itself. Having low levels of this key nutrient can lead to skin disorders, depression, dizziness, headaches, and other, more serious problems, such as heart attacks and strokes. Yet you may be surprised to learn that vitamin B6 is one of the best natural compounds around to treat all kinds of nerve pain. But it is not always easy to get from the diet. Did you know that cooking, freezing, canning, storing or processing foods can deplete their vitamin B6 content by as much as 50%? Many people cannot use certain forms of vitamin B6 effectively. The supplemental enzyme-active form of vitamin B6 that your body can easily utilize called pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or P5P for short. P5P has healing properties and is recommended for people suffering from nerve pain, burning feet (diabetic neuropathy), carpal tunnel syndrome, PMS, and oedema (water retention) Pyridoxine is needed to metabolize amino acids and glycogen (the body’s storage form of glucose), and is also necessary for normal nervous system function and red blood cell formation. Vitamin B6 is fairly abundant in the diet and can be found in foods such as pasture-reared meat, free-range poultry and eggs, bananas, fresh fish and spinach. B6 helps make serotonin and melatonin. With B9 & B12, B6 normalises homocysteine. (again, see?). B6 is required for B12 absorption and red blood cell manufacture.
B7 Biotin: is an almost unknown member of the B family. It has all the metabolism and co-enzyme benefits of all the B vitamins and is also the go-to supplement for healthy hair, skin and nails. Deficiency symptoms include a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Gym guys – Raw egg whites cause B7 deficiency. Biotin is useful for treating cradle cap. Combined with Chromium B7 can improve glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetics. There is no known dosage of biotin that could cause toxicity in the body, resulting in overdose. Since all B vitamins are water soluble, the body does not store excess amounts and flushes it away. Foods high in biotin include mushrooms, fresh tuna, avo, sunflower seed and peanut butter (sugar and salt-free of course), cauliflower, almonds, all berries and bananas
B9 Folic acid: is most commonly known for its role in fetal health and development as it plays a critical role in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system. Folate has many other benefits including reducing homocysteine and strengething the nervous system. Folic acid as a supplement is actually poorly metabolised and has become ‘old fashioned’ – replaced with methyl folate, a well absorbed and utilised form of folate and a methyle donor to boot! The current science states clearly that too much folic acid, via supplements and fortified foods, is a contributing factor in the high cancer rates we see.
Methyhydratetrafolate or MTF is folate as found in food. It is more expensive to supplement than folic acid, so currently almost all multivitamin and B complex supplements still have folic acid. Dark green leaves are the foods highest in folate. Symptoms of folate deficiency include persistent fatigue, lethargy, pale skin, tender tongue, irritability and diarrhea. You may have lost vital amounts of folate if you regularly take pain killers, antacids, acid-reducing drugs, oral contraceptives or steroids.
B12 Cobalamin: if you read the label of your supplement you’ll probably see cyanocobalamin a synthetic form of B12 that does not occur in nature in either plants or animals’ tissue. As the name implies, cyanocobalamin contains a cyanide molecule. Most people are familiar with cyanide as a poisonous substance. Although the amount of cyanide in a normal B12 supplement is small and from a toxicology point, viewed as insignificant, your body will still need to remove and eliminate this compound. This removal is accomplished through your detoxification systems with substances like glutathione being very important for the elimination of the cyanide.
Methylcobalamin is better absorbed and retained in higher amounts within your tissues. In simple terms, they are used much more effectively. In general, methylcobalamin is used primarily in your liver, brain and nervous system. Within the nervous system methylcobalamin is especially helpful for vision, and there is science connection it to melatonin production so it beneficial for a good night’s sleep, and as a methyl donor is effective at reducing homocysteine levels. Methylcobalamins is available as a stand-alone supplement.
B12 and folate deficiencies are likely seen together (what can I say?!) B12 deficiency is called anaemia as B12 helps make red blood cells. B12 long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 can be manufactured by healthy gut bacteria and can only be found naturally in healthy pasture-reared anti-biotic-free animal products. Vitamin B12 can be consumed in large doses because excess is excreted by the body or stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce. Stores of B12 can last for up to a year. Foods high in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, Free-range etc)liver, fish, crab, tofu, fortified cereals, hormone and anti-biotic free pasture-reared red meat, cheese, and eggs. Intrisic Factor in the stomach is required for the survival of B12 in the high-acid stomach environment, so it can make it to the small intestine for absorption. Ulcerative colitis, H. Pylori and alcoholism can destroy the parietal cells that manufacture intrinsic factor. Absence of intrinsic factor results in pernicious anaemia. Intrinsic factor can be supplemented and is recommended for vegans and vegetarians and people with hereditary anaemia
B17: don’t stress if you haven’t heard of this B variant! Known as Laetrille, B17 is not available in South Africa in supplement form but has to be eaten, and it’s only in Apricot Kernels and apple seeds, though the Apricot Kernels are the product of choice. Vitamin B17 interacts with other antioxidants, including vitamin A, C and E, and together with pancreatic enzymes, breaks down and eliminates damaged and dangerous cells from the body. This makes it beneficial for detox support, immunity and potentially even various forms of disease prevention. Vitamin B17, which has the scientific name mandelonitrile beta-D-gentiobioside, is considered a nitriloside, a natural cyanide-containing substance. Laetrile, the extract form of vitamin B17, is most well-known for potentially helping prevent cancer development through the production of hydrogen cyanide.
This beneficial compound is released into the body’s tissues and targets and destroys mutated cells. Unable to patent B17 or claim exclusive rights to the vitamin, the pharmaceutical multinationals launched a massive propaganda attack of unprecedented viciousness against Laetrile, despite the fact that hard proof of its efficiency in controlling cancer now surrounds us. How is it any of us gets cancer in the first place – through exposure to cigarette smoking, intense sunlight or perhaps the effect of toxic food additives? Dr. Krebs thinks not. All of his hard biochemical evidence points to the fact that cancer is a simple deficiency disease of vitamin B17, long ago removed from our highly refined western diets (http://www.vitaminb17.org/is_cancer_merely_a_vitamin_deficiency.htm)
… to be continued next week