B Complex – We Can’t Live without Them

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By Carol B. Blair, BS, CNC, DiHom

The B complex family of vitamins is extremely important for the nervous system, and a deficiency of even one can cause malfunction of the nervous system. Of course, they play other roles too because they are essential for all bodily functions from energy production to the formation of healthy red blood cells. The B vitamins are water-soluble so they are not stored in the body and need to be replenished regularly.

Some individuals have difficulty processing the B vitamins, and for those individuals I recommend co-enzymated forms that are more bioavailable. These are not typically found in the average B-complex vitamin, but our knowledgeable staff can help you find one. Food-based Bs are also easy for the body to assimilate.

Here is just a sampling of what the eight B vitamins in a typical B-Complex can do for you:

  • B-1 (thiamine): one of the chief nerve relaxants; required to burn glucose and turn carbs into energy; deficiency can cause an enlarged heart.
  • B-2 (riboflavin): necessary for red blood cell formation and for the metabolism of carbs, fat, and protein; reduces wrinkles around the mouth.
  • B-3 (niacin): helps regulate gene expression, the synthesis of fatty acids, and cholesterol; a severe deficiency causes the 3 Ds–dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia.
  • B-5 (pantothenic acid): a major stress nutrient; important for fatigued adrenals; converts choline to acetylcholine for proper brain function; reduces insulin resistance.
  • B-6 (pyridoxine): responsible for more enzymatic reactions than any other B vitamin; important for the brain because it aids in proper gene expression, and the synthesis and function of neurotransmitters. Important minerals like zinc and magnesium can’t work without B-6.
  • Folic Acid: helps form new cells; low folic acid causes certain anemias, some forms of restless legs, high homocysteine levels, and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
  • Biotin: is best known for hair, skin, and nails but it is also necessary for adrenal and thyroid function and balancing blood sugar. Requires vitamin E to work.
  • B-12 (cyanocobalamin): must be converted in the body to the active form methylcobalamin so the latter is the better form. B-12 is necessary for proper cell division, good memory and energy. Methylation is important for detoxification and cancer prevention. B-12 helps reduce homocysteine and helps regulate the sleep cycle. Deficiency is associated with fatigue and poor memory as well as pernicious anemia which is fatal if undetected. This is best taken sublingually in the morning.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what B vitamins can do for you. Food sources include: legumes, nuts, brown rice, egg yolks, dairy, fish, and chicken. If you feel fatigued, depressed, or have a poor memory, I would highly recommend starting with a good B-complex. My favorite is Natur-Tyme’s B-Healthy which contains some co-enzymated forms for better bioavailability. It also has higher amounts of biotin for the hair and extra amounts of pantothenic acid for stressed adrenals.

The Most Superior Forms of Vitamins E, D, B-12, and B-6

By Jennifer Morganti, NDWhich Drug?

One of the most common questions I have been asked over the years is that regarding the difference between the multivitamins found at the drugstore or big-box store, and the type of multivitamins found at Natur-Tyme. After all, they seem to have the same vitamins listed on the supplement facts panel, right?

On the surface, they do all appear the same. But there are big differences in the actual forms of each nutrient in terms of absorption and the way the body uses them. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper materials are the least effective and the biggest waste of money. So it really pays to know what forms are the best and to spend a little extra money on the ingredients that work best.

One vitamin that you want to pay close attention to is vitamin E. The most important concern is that the product contains d-alpha tocopherol, the natural form of this fat-soluble vitamin, instead of dl-alpha tocopherol, the synthetic form that should be avoided entirely. If you really want to reap the benefits of vitamin E, you should look for all four forms of tocopherol: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta-tocopherol. There are also four forms of the tocotrienol part of vitamin E (the same four prefixes as the tocopherols), but it is quite rare to find all eight isomers in a multivitamin formula due to the expense. At a minimum, be sure to avoid the synthetic vitamin E, which is common in TV-commercial type multivitamins.

Another important fat-soluble vitamin is D. Cholecalciferol, known as D3, is the one better utilized by the body, as compared to D2. D2 is the form that can be toxic to the liver in high doses, but D3 is far less likely to cause a reaction. D3 is typically derived from lanolin and is very affordable, so most manufacturers have converted to using this form exclusively.

In the water-soluble B vitamin family, there are a few basic things to consider. B12 can be found as hydroxyl-, methyl- and cyano-cobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the least effective but most common form found in a multivitamin. It is not a form found in nature and isn’t utilized effectively by the body. A high-quality multi will offer the hydroxyl or methyl-cobalamin forms which offer superior activity.

Vitamin B6 is usually found in the basic form of pyridoxine. A superior and more active form is pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, also known as P5P, but you are less likely to find this in a multivitamin.

Up next: what forms of minerals you should look for in a multivitamin!