Do The Benefits Of B Vitamins And Brain Health Extend To Memory Dementia Alzheimers
It is established that B vitamins are vital to the brains development and proper function. But what does the science say about whether B vitamins can help with cognition, specifically when it comes to memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimers?
The research is not conclusive. There are some studies that have found potential benefit, and others that have not. In actuality, Alzheimers disease and its broader relative, dementia, are multi-factorial conditions for which a known prevention has yet to be discovered.
Lets examine a few scientific reports for B vitamins and cognitive function.
A study published in The Lancet in 2007, known as FACIT, was a three-year, randomized, double blind, controlled study from the Netherlands in 818 men and women, aged 50-70 with raised plasma total homocysteine and normal vitamin B12 at screening. The participants were randomly assigned into two groups, a treatment group or a placebo group.
The results showed that the change in cognitive performance was significantly better in the folic acid group compared to the placebo group, based on results for memory, information processing speed and sensorimotor speed. Said the researchers, Folic acid supplementation for 3 years significantly improved domains of cognitive function that tend to decline with age.
Keep Nails Hair And Skin Healthy
All of the B vitamins may work together to keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy, but B-7, B-9, and B-12 may be especially helpful. Biotin deficiency often presents as brittle nails, hair loss, and skin rash, and while evidence is mostly anecdotal, biotin supplementation is often used in hopes of improving these conditions. Changes in your nails are often the result of micronutrient deficiencies, including an array of B vitamins. In fact, a B-12 deficiency may show up as entirely blue nails or other dark pigmentations. And a folate deficiency can cause your nails to become brittle and rigid.
Vitamins Are Not Medicine
Natural health enthusiasts have been promoting the idea of vitamins alone as a treatment for anxiety in years. Sometimes there is a benefit. There is some early evidence that magnesium supplements may help with anxiety, for example. There is also some belief that a proper diet is may be useful for coping with stress. But taking vitamin supplements may not work for everyone, and simply adding vitamins to your diet may not have much of an effect.
The reason that most vitamins have little effect on your anxiety is simple: when your body doesn’t need the vitamin, it usually removes them. This is true of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and several minerals. Your digestive system is unlikely to keep nutrients it doesn’t need. Instead, it turns them into waste, and you expel them every time you go to the bathroom.
Some vitamins and minerals, like calcium, do build up in the body. But usually, this is considered a bad thing – not a good thing. Too much Vitamin A, for example, can become toxic.
That is why some experts believe it may actually be harmful to frequently consume vitamins that you do not need. If you are going to add vitamins to your diet, you first need to be selective – talk to your doctor, and try to understand what your dietary needs may be. That is the case with B-Vitamins – a common vitamin that is often recommended on several blogs and natural health websites for those with anxiety.
What Are B Vitamins What Are The Different Types
Vitamin B is not a single vitamin it’s an umbrella term that includes eight vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, biotin, folate and B12. They have very important roles in the body and are involved in many metabolic processes. They are all water soluble, which means they cannot be stored in the body.
Best Gluten Free: New Chapter Fermented Vitamin B Complex
Courtesy of Amazon
Not suitable for those with soy allergies
For consumers who need to follow a gluten-free diet, it is important that supplements are also gluten-free. This Fermented Vitamin B Complex supplement by New Chapter is certified gluten-free by NSF. Its also USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Each tablet provides all eight B vitamins, ranging from 100% to 500% of your daily needs.
Youll find vitamin B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin and folate in the form of methylfolate, both highly bioavailable forms. The vitamins in this supplement are derived from fermented foods , which may support better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
It is important to note that this supplement contains an herbal blend of maca, schizandra, and cardamom, which may be problematic for people on certain medications or with certain health conditions. Double check with a healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications.
Form: Tablet | Type: Cyanocobalamin, methylfolate | Dose: 1 tablet daily
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Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic Acid is one of the lesser known B-Vitamins to the average individual, as it is not commonly used as a natural health supplement. But it’s still an important one. It plays a role in the creation of the acetylcholine neurotransmitters, oxidizes fatty acids, and more. It also produces CoEnzyme-A.
It’s rare to be deficient in B5. The name itself translates almost literally to “from everywhere” because it’s found in nearly every type of food.
While Pantothenic Acid may help with a variety of unfortunate and painful conditions, it does not appear to play any role in anxiety or stress whatsoever.
Verdict: No known benefit
Risks And Side Effects
Taking very high-dose vitamin B supplements should be avoided by most people, since this can potentially lead to side effects, including nerve damage, numbness, tingling, elevated levels of homocysteine which may contribute to issues like atherosclerosis nausea, jaundice, elevated liver enzymes and potentially increased risk for certain types of cancer. If youre taking medications to control a health condition or antibiotics for an infection, make sure to mention any supplements you take to your doctor to check for interactions.
If you are concerned about getting too vitamin B from a combination of your diet and supplements, then the first thing to do is cut out fortified foods. Most experts recommend taking a daily multivitamin and skipping fortified foods like cereals, energy bars or drinks, processed grain products, milk substitutes, etc.
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Take Vitamin B5 For Healthy Hormones
All people age 14 and older should get 5 mg of vitamin B5 each day, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. You can find vitamin B5 in vegetables of the cabbage family, such as broccoli and kale, as well as in avocado. In addition, whole-grain cereals, potatoes, dairy, and organ meats are good sources. This type of B vitamin is needed for many of the biochemical reactions that go on in our cells each day, including the breakdown of carbohydrates and lipids for energy. Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, you need vitamin B5 in your diet every day. Pantothenic acid is necessary for our bodies to produce hormones, and it’s also needed for growth.
Spotlight On Three Of The Bs: Folate Vitamin B6 And Vitamin B12
One of the advances that changed the way we look at vitamins was the discovery that too little folate is linked to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Folate Vitamin B9
Another line of research about folate and two other B vitamins, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, explores their roles in reducing some types of cancer and heart disease.
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How Much Folate Do I Need
Adults need 200 micrograms of folate a day. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram . The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol Î¼ followed by the letter g .
There are no long-term stores in the body, so you need to eat folate-containing foods frequently.
Most people should be able to get the amount of folate they need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin B6
When taking a supplement, it’s important not to take too much.
Taking 200mg or more a day of vitamin B6 can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs known as peripheral neuropathy.
This will usually improve once you stop taking the supplements.
But in a few cases when people have taken large amounts of vitamin B6, particularly for more than a few months, the effect can be permanent.
The effect of taking vitamin B6 at doses between 10 and 200 mg is unclear. So there’s not enough evidence to say how long these doses could be taken for safely.
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What Are The Natural Sources Of Vitamin B
Vitamin B is naturally found in animal-based products, such as chicken, fish, meats and dairy products. Other natural sources of vitamin B include wholewheat bread, green leafy vegetables, nuts and yeast.
Some B vitamins are added to food. For example, vitamin B9 is added to wheat flour used in bread, and B12 is added to plant-based vegetarian meat alternatives.
Because many proteins contain vitamin B, watch your protein intake. Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the following:
- Female adults should eat 2 to 2.5 serves of protein daily.
- Male adults should eat 2.5 to 3 serves of protein daily.
On average, each of the following is 1 serve:
- 65 grams lean red meat
- 80 grams salmon
Go here for more information on foods high in vitamin B.
Side Effects And Toxicity
Thiamine is considered safe. There are no reports of adverse effects after the intake of high amounts of thiamine from food or supplements.
This is partly because excess thiamine is quickly excreted from the body in urine.
As a result, the tolerable upper intake level for thiamine has not been established. However, this does not rule out possible symptoms of toxicity at very high intakes.
Vitamin B3 Breaks Down Food Into Energy
We need vitamin B3, also called nicotinic acid or niacin, in our diets every day to break down food we eat into energy we can use. Females who are 14 and older need 14 mg a day males in this age group need 16 mg daily. Legumes, nuts, enriched breads, dairy, fish, and lean meats are all good sources of this type of vitamin B.
Not getting enough niacin in your diet causes the disorder known as pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include both physical and mental difficulties, diarrhea, inflamed mucus membranes, and dementia. Pellagra can also result when the body is not able to absorb enough niacin because of alcoholism. Health benefits of niacin include its use as a treatment to help control high blood levels of cholesterol. Doses of niacin high enough to lower cholesterol are associated with several side effects and should only be taken with a physicians supervision.
Who May Not Benefit From B
For most healthy individuals eating a well-balanced diet, B-complex supplements are not necessary. B vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods in different amounts, including leafy greens, salmon, legumes, eggs, milk, beef, and whole grains.
The FDA does not evaluate any supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market, including B-complex supplements. Some of the B vitamins may interfere with certain medications. For example, folate may reduce the effectiveness of methotrexate and some antiepileptic drugs. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any supplementation routine, especially if you are taking any medications.
Supplement companies may claim that a B-complex supplement offers a host of other benefits, including reducing anxiety, improving athletic performance, and treating ADHD. However, research in these other areas is limited with mixed results. We need more research to make conclusions about the effectiveness of B-complex supplementation in these other areas. And, since B vitamins are found naturally in several foods in our diets, most people will get enough B vitamins from eating a well-balanced diet.
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How Much Vitamin B Do I Need
Because all B vitamins are water-soluble, our bodies don’t store them as much as we do fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. “With anything water-soluble, you want to eat these foods on a regular basis so your body is constantly replacing what you’re losing,” Stefanski. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough, talk to your doctor to see if you should get tested for a deficiency.
But don’t believe everything you hear about supplements. “Supplement manufacturers say if you take a lot of B vitamins you’ll have more energy. That’s not necessarily true unless you have a deficiency,” says Stefanski. While it’s hard to overdose on B vitamins, it is possible with a pill. Plus, studies don’t back up claims that biotin supplements can help you grow your hair and nails faster unless you have a deficiency. “People think the more you take the better, but it doesn’t always work that way,” she says.
Looking to boost your B? Food is your best bet, and many are good sources of more than one B vitamin, says Stefanski. Here are 11 of the best food sources of B vitamins, along with ideas to prepare them.
How We Select Supplements
Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.
We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLabs. We also prioritize non-GMO, Organic, and products that are free of unnecessary and potentially harmful additives.
It’s important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.
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Do B Vitamins Have An Impact On Brain Function
Given that B vitamins are essential for every aspect of brain function, and that large proportions of the population of developed societies have less than optimal levels of vitamins, it would be expected that a relationship would be evident between vitamin consumption and mental function both in terms of epidemiological studies and controlled intervention trials. The driver for much of the research conducted to date in both of these domains has been the homocysteine hypothesis described above. Concentrating on this one unproven hypothesis has resulted in both observational and controlled trial research being focussed disproportionately on just three of the vitaminsfolate and vitamins B6 and B12. However, the observational and the controlled trial research concentrating on these three vitamins could be seen as generating somewhat different conclusions.
Correcting Vitamin B Deficiency Helps Reduce Symptoms Of Neuropathy
Vitamin B deficiency is observed in peripheral neuropathy. The peripheral nervous system requires B vitamins for optimal functioning and hence their deficiency causes damage to nerve cells leading to neuropathy symptoms.
Correcting vitamin B deficiency with supplements or diet can reduce neuropathy symptoms and improve nerve function.
Deficiency of a particular member of the B complex group can cause neuropathy symptoms.
Folate deficiency neuropathy differs from thiamine deficiency neuropathy it is slowly progressing and can affect sensory neurons significantly.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine deficiency is identified as a causative factor of peripheral neuropathy.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neuropathy in some cases. DNA methylation is an important process which involves the addition of methyl group to DNA sequences and regulates the expression of genes.
Disturbed methylation process is observed in conditions like migraine, Parkinsons disease, heart diseases and depression.
The myelin sheath or insulating covering on the nerve cells helps maintain optimal nerve function. It contains methylated proteins. Disturbances in methylation can lead to the production of unstable proteins and cause neurological conditions.
Researchers state that since vitamin B12 is involved in methylation and in myelin production, its deficiency can cause neuropathy .
Certain medications can cause vitamin B deficiencies and contribute to neuropathy symptoms and nerve pain.
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Vitamin B High Foods Foods For Vitamin B
B1 Rice, Beans, Peanuts, Whole Grains, Pork
B2 Milk, Liver, Mushrooms, Wild Rice, Legumes, Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
B3 Beef Liver, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Rice, Cereals, Potatoes
B5 Liver, Some Cereals, Chicken, Tuna, Sunflower Seeds, Eggs, Mushrooms
B6 Chickpeas, Tuna, Liver, Chicken, Salmon, Cereals, Bananas
B7 Liver, Pork Chops, Eggs, Salmon, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Sweet Potatoes
B9 Liver, Spinach, Black-eyed peas, Cereal, Rice, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts
Vitamin U: Benefits Side Effects Foods And More
Examples of methionine derivatives often called vitamin U include S-methylmethionine , methylmethionine sulfonium , and 3-amino-3-carboxypropyl dimethylsulfonium.
Vitamin U is available not only as a supplement but also found naturally in various foods, particularly cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and kale (
Vitamin U is most often advertised as a treatment for stomach ulcers, though its also touted to improve digestion, strengthen immune health, protect against food allergies, lower cholesterol, and hasten wound healing.
However, research is limited. Only a handful of these benefits are currently backed by science.
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Best Organic: Garden Of Life Mykind Organics Vitamin B
Long ingredients list
If you prioritize eating organic, Garden of Life mykind Organics Vitamin B Complex is an excellent choice. While many supplement brands don’t list where their vitamins are sourced from, Mykind Organics supplements are derived from organic food blendsincluding foods like organic broccoli and organic spinach.
Mykind Organics’ B-complex supplement provides all eight of the B vitamins in various amounts, from 125% to 2221% of your daily needs. This product is ConsumerLab tested and approved, USDA certified organic, NSF Certified Gluten Free, and Non-GMO Project Verified.
Form: Tablet | Type: Methylcobalamin, folate | Dosage: 1 tablet daily with food