Who Is At Risk For Vitamin B Deficiency
While most people who eat a balanced diet are going to get regular exposure to B vitamins, some may be prone to low levels due to absorption issues.
Fortunately, you dont typically need to worry about over-supplementing with B vitamins. All B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that excess amounts pass out of the body via the urine. This lessens the risk of toxicity from overexposure. Even so, following supplement recommendations from your practitioner is always safest.
What Does Vitamin B
Thiamine: A vitamin workhorse
Thiamine is an essential nutrient that all tissues of the body need to function properly. Thiamine was the first B vitamin that scientists discovered. This is why its name carries the number 1. Like the other B vitamins, thiamine is water-soluble and helps the body turn food into energy. You can find it in:
- individual supplements
The body needs thiamine to make adenosine triphosphate . This is a molecule that transports energy within cells.
A thiamine deficiency can impact many different functions of your body, including those of the:
- nervous system
Thankfully, thiamine deficiency is uncommon in the developed world. Thiamine deficiency is rare in healthy adults. Its more common in people with specific medical conditions. Conditions that can impair thiamine levels include:
People who are undergoing dialysis for their kidneys or taking loop diuretics are also at risk for thiamine deficiency. Loop diuretics are prescribed for people with congestive heart failure. They can flush thiamine out of the body, possibly canceling out any health benefits. The heart relies on thiamine to function properly. People who take digoxin and phenytoin should also be careful.
Scientists have looked at thiamine as a possible treatment for:
How Can I Get The Vitamins And Minerals I Need
It is usually better to get the nutrients you need from food, rather than a pill. Thats because nutrient-dense foods contain other things that are good for you, like fiber.
Most older people can get all the nutrients they need from foods. But if you arent sure, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out if you are missing any important vitamins or minerals. He or she may recommend a vitamin or dietary supplement.
If you do need to supplement your diet, look for a supplement that contains the vitamin or mineral you need without a lot of other unnecessary ingredients. Read the label to make sure the dose is not too large. Avoid supplements with mega-doses. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful, and you might be paying for supplements you dont need. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend brands that fit your needs.
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Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency May Include:
- chronic fatigue
The recommended dietary allowances for vitamin B12 are the following:
2.4 mcg a day for women
2.4 mcg a day for men
1.8 mcg a day for children
Keep in mind the dosage will differ according to your situation and how deficient you may be.
It’s also important to be aware of the form of vitamin found in your supplement because it makes a difference!
Avoid the synthetic form, also known as cyanocobalamin, which is not found in nature and more poorly absorbed and assimilated by the body but instead look for the active vitamin form .
Cyanocobalamin needs to be converted into methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin by the body for it to be actually used. These are the two active forms of the vitamin and the forms we recommend looking for when reading the supplement ingredients.
Methylcobalamin is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B12 found in food sources such as dairy products, red meat, fish, eggs and chicken.
Vitamin B12 is rather poorly absorbed orally and digestive health plays a big role in how much you will absorb from your supplement. Sublingual drops or oral sprays may be the best choices for older populations and those with digestive issues for improved assimilation due to poor absorption in the stomach.
In the case of severe deficiencies or digestive issues, B12 injections may be necessary though this should be discussed with your doctor.
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.
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B Vitamins In Supplements
If you choose to supplement, there is no reason not to take the whole complex of eight B vitamins in supplement form, but also no reason to take them apart from a daily multivitamin / multimineral supplement. Multivitamins commonly contain the full spectrum of B vitamins. There are also instances where taking additional individual B vitamin may be appropriate. For example, vitamin B12 may be useful for those who use stomach-acid controlling drugs, including H-2 blockers and proton-pump inhibitors, or who take Metformin to treat type 2 diabetes. Consult with your doctor before beginning any new supplements.
Vitamin B6 For Sustained Vigor
Do any of the B vitamins work harder than B6? B6 or pyridoxine helps with muscle repair, combating anemia, brain function and much more. More importantly, B6 converts proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to glucose. The vitamin manages energy use too and prolonged energy can be expected when taking a B6 supplement.
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People Taking Certain Medications
Commonly prescribed medications can lead to a deficiency in B vitamins.
For example, proton pump inhibitors, which are medications that lower stomach acid, can decrease the absorption of B12, while metformin, a popular diabetes drug, can decrease levels of both B12 and folate (
Pregnancy, medical conditions, surgeries, genetic mutations, medications, dietary restriction and age can all affect how your body absorbs and uses B vitamins.
While certain conditions make it necessary for some people to supplement with B-complex vitamins, research has shown that taking a B-complex supplement may be helpful even for people who dont have an increased need for these nutrients.
Folic Acid Or Folate 400 G A Day
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods. Folic acid is on of the B complex vitamins. It helps the body make healthy new cells. Everyone needs folic acid.
For women who may get pregnant, it is really important. When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can prevent major birth defects of her babys brain or spine.
Folate helps produce and maintain new cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells.
It also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer. Both adults and children need folate to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia. Folate is also essential for the metabolism of homocysteine, and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.
Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid.
If you dont get enough folic acid from the foods you eat, you can also take it as a dietary supplement.
As you can see there is very little chance of overdosing on B Complex Vitamins although it is critical to make sure that you are taking them, or getting them in your diet everyday. As I find out more I hope to resolve this idea that B Complex Vitamins supplemented are good for helping stress, energy or stamina.
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Vitamin B2 Riboflavin 17 Mg A Day
Riboflavin is one of the B complex vitamins. Riboflavin works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and red blood cell production and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates. Because riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light, foods with riboflavin should not be stored in glass containers that are exposed to light.
Lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and milk provide riboflavin in the diet. Breads and cereals are often fortified with riboflavin.
Deficiency of riboflavin is not common in the United States because this vitamin is plentiful in the food supply. Symptoms of significant deficiency syndromes include sore throat, swelling of mucous membranes, mouth or lip sores, anemia, and skin disorders.
There is no known poisoning from riboflavin.
Vitamin B1: What To Know
Vitamin B12 contains the mineral cobalt, which is why vitamin B12 compounds are called cobalamins. The 2 active forms of B12 include methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin.
This nutrient is especially important for brain health and the nervous system but also a variety of functions in the body:
- nerve tissue metabolism
- healthy red blood cell formation
- cognitive function
- growth and appetite in children
As an essential vitamin, an adequate intake is important to obtain through the diet or if necessary, supplementation, as the body cannot produce it on its own.
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How To Use Vitamin B
If you are taking the over-the-counter product to self-treat, follow all directions on the product package before taking this medication. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has directed you to take this medication, take as directed by your doctor.
Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily with or without food or as directed by your doctor or the product package. Use this product regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and laboratory tests. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
There are many brands and forms of cyanocobalamin available. Read the dosing instructions carefully for each product because the amount of cyanocobalamin may be different between products.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Some liquid brands may require you to shake the bottle well before each dose.
If you are taking the extended-release tablets, do not crush or chew them. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
Foods With B Vitamins
Although B vitamins are naturally found in many foods, they are easily destroyed by alcohol and cooking. Food processing also strips foods of their B vitamin content, especially in white flour, white bread, and white rice.
Because your body cant store all of the B-group vitamins, its important that you continuously get them through your diet. Here are five foods that are high in B vitamins:
1. Whole Grains
Because food processing removes nutrients from grains, you want to eat whole grains that have not undergone this process. Grains high in B vitamins include:
- Brown rice
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Mechanisms Of Action And Functions Of B Vitamins
B vitamins act as coenzymes in a substantial proportion of the enzymatic processes that underpin every aspect of cellular physiological functioning. As a coenzyme the biologically active form of the vitamin binds within a protein apoenzyme creating a holoenzyme, thereby increasing the resultant enzymes competence in terms of the diversity of reactions that it can catalyse . In this role, the B vitamins play key interacting roles in the majority of cellular functions. As an example of their ubiquity, the primary bioactive form of vitamin B6, pyridoxal 5-phosphate, is an essential cofactor in the functioning of over 140 separate ubiquitous enzymes required for the synthesis, degradation, and interconversion of amino acids , whereas the active coenzyme form of pantothenic acid, coenzyme A , is an obligatory co-factor for approximately 4% of all mammalian enzymes . Less often B vitamins also function as direct precursors for metabolic substrates for example, CoA is also acetylated to form acetyl-CoA, an intermediate compound in both the generation of cellular energy and the synthesis of multiple bioactive compounds. Similarly, niacin is a precursor for ADP-ribose, which functions in multiple non-enzymatic cellular roles.
Promotes Nervous System Health
Vitamin B2 keeps the eyes, nervous system, and skin healthy. It aids in the conversion of food into energy and helps enzymes in the body function properly. It also makes and repairs DNA, helps with the optimal function of the digestive and nervous systems, and promotes skin health. In addition, vitamin B12 also plays a role in maintaining the health of the nervous system.
B vitamins involved: B1, B2, B3, B6, B12
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Vitamins Hang Out In Water And Fat
There are two types of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble.
When you eat foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins, the vitamins are stored in the fat tissues in your body and in your liver. They wait around in your body fat until your body needs them.
Fat-soluble vitamins are happy to stay stored in your body for a long time. Then, when it’s time for them to be used, special carriers in your body take them to where they’re needed. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins are different. These vitamins dissolve in water. When you eat foods that have water-soluble vitamins, the vitamins are not stored in your body. Instead, they travel through your bloodstream. Whatever your body doesn’t use comes out when you urinate .
So water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced often because they don’t stick around! This crowd of vitamins includes vitamin C and the big group of B vitamins B1 , B2 , niacin, B6 , folic acid, B12 , biotin, and pantothenic acid.
What The Science Shows
Dietary supplement is an umbrella term that includes everything from vitamins and minerals to botanicals and biosimilar products . For the most part, though, people use “supplement” to mean an individual vitamin or mineral preparation or a multivitamin .
Even though supplements are popular, there is limited evidence that they offer any significant health benefits. In fact, a study published online May 28, 2018, by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that the four most commonly used supplements multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C did not protect against cardiovascular disease.
So why do so many people take supplements if the health benefits are negligible or nonexistent for the average, healthy person? “People often think of them as something extra they can do to be sure their basic nutritional needs are covered,” says Dr. Manson. There’s also a possible placebo effect to taking supplements, she adds. “People feel healthier if they do something they believe makes them healthy.”
The greatest issue with supplements is that they are not regulated by the FDA. “Supplements can appear on the shelf without having to prove they offer any benefits,” says Dr. Manson. “With limited regulation and oversight, it’s also difficult to know for certain that the supplement contains the ingredients on the label and is free of contaminants.”
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What Happens If You Get Too Much Vitamin B Complex
Youre unlikely to get too much vitamin B complex from your diet. Thats because B complex vitamins are water soluble. That means they arent stored in your body but are excreted in your urine daily.
Youre also unlikely to get too much vitamin B if youre taking any supplementation as directed.
That said, overdose is possible especially if youre taking a supplement without receiving a deficiency diagnosis from your doctor.
Symptoms of a vitamin B complex overdose include:
- excessive thirst
Symptoms Of Vitamin B
Blood levels for vitamin B12 are typically routinely tested for as deficiency is common among the population, and more particularly among vegan diets, vegetarians, older adults, smokers, gastrointestinal surgeries and those with gastrointestinal disorders. Medications such as metformin and proton pump inhibitors can also create a greater risk for deficiency.
Low stomach acid can result in low vitamin B12 status as stomach acid is needed for the vitamin to be adequately absorbed. This is why working on your digestive health is important while supplementing if you are dealing with a deficiency.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is one of the leading deficiencies in the world today. Without enough of this vitamin your energy, mental health, memory, digestion, and heart may be affected.
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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.