Vitamin B complex has been known to have lots of health benefits. Check out the latest ones, but also another important issue that has to be debated – who should avoid taking vitamin B complex?
Vitamin B complex benefits
Many people turn to vitamin B complex supplements to combat fatigue and boost their energy levels in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. However, some may still feel sleepy during the day, while others become too energetic and struggle to sleep at night.
Research has shown that supplementing with vitamin B complex can reduce brain atrophy, slow cognitive decline, and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite these benefits, it is important to consider whether there are individuals who should avoid taking vitamin B complex supplements.
In an interview with the “Health 1+1” program by Epoch Times, Ouya Ou, CEO of Taiwan Redox Functional Medicine Laboratory and a physician, discusses the effects of different B vitamins, how they can be obtained from natural foods, and the proper way to supplement with B complex for optimal results.
Functions of B Vitamins
There are eight types of vitamin B complex, namely B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12, each having its own benefits for the body.
Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, aids in energy metabolism, converting starch, fat, and protein into energy. Vitamin B1 can be obtained from brown rice, pork, beans, and nuts.
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, helps produce more energy and improves skin texture. It can be found in milk, meat, fish, brown rice, and nuts.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinic acid, can increase good cholesterol and has anti-aging effects. It is mainly found in meat, fish, grains, and nuts.
Lastly, vitamin B5, commonly known as pantothenic acid, helps in the production and breakdown of fat and can be obtained from meat, whole grains, vegetables, and dairy products.
According to Mr. Ou, there are certain vitamins that can help increase the body’s energy levels. To boost your mood, it’s essential to supplement your diet with these four essential nutrients.
Additionally, the other B vitamins play a vital role in maintaining your overall health.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is particularly important for nerve function and mood regulation. It can help prevent nerve inflammation, including neuroinflammation, which has been linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, depression, ADHD, and autism.
You can find vitamin B6 in various foods, including meat, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Research has shown that supplementing mice with vitamin B6 can have antidepressant effects, and may also help control stress and prevent mood disorders in patients.
Experts believe that vitamin B6 can change the function of glucocorticoid receptors, making it a useful tool for managing mental adverse reactions caused by glucocorticoids.
Vitamin B7, or biotin, is crucial for fat and sugar metabolism, as well as maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Those experiencing hair loss may benefit from supplementing with this vitamin. Foods rich in vitamin B7 include eggs, meat, nuts, and soybeans.
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, plays an important role in stabilizing the nervous system. A deficiency in this vitamin may lead to long-term nerve pain, chronic headaches, or muscle pain.
Anemic patients should consider supplementing with vitamin B9, and pregnant women should ensure they are getting enough for fetal neural tube development. Vitamin B9 is primarily found in dark green vegetables, beans, nuts, and orange juice.
Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is also essential for nervous system stability and can cause long-term nerve pain, chronic headaches, or muscle pain if deficient.
Anemic individuals can also benefit from supplementing with vitamin B12. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products are good sources of this vitamin. For long-term vegetarians, vitamin B12 deficiency is a risk that may lead to nerve pain or anemia due to the lack of red blood cell production. Regularly checking for vitamin B12 deficiency and supplementing if necessary is recommended.
Preventing Alzheimer’s with Vitamin B complex
According to Mr. Ou, vitamins B6, B9, and B12 play a crucial role in the body’s methylation cycle. Insufficient intake of these nutrients can negatively impact nerve connections and brain circulation, leading to cognitive decline and potential permanent damage.
Research has suggested that Alzheimer’s disease may be linked to brain inflammation, but Mr. Ou notes that vitamin B12 has antioxidant properties that can counter inflammation and reduce the risk of developing the disease. Additionally, vitamins B9 and B12 may lower homocysteine levels, which can damage blood vessel walls and increase the risk of stroke and vascular dementia.
A randomized controlled trial published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that taking B vitamins as a supplement can slow the shrinkage of specific brain regions associated with cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
In a study, 156 individuals in their 70s who were at risk for dementia due to memory problems participated. Out of those, 80 received a high-dose of vitamin B complex, consisting of 20 milligrams of vitamin B6, 0.8 milligrams of vitamin B9, and 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B12.
The remaining 76 participants received a placebo. The results indicated that the vitamin B treatment decreased brain shrinkage by over seven times in gray matter areas that are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, such as the medial temporal lobe.
In the placebo group, the average loss of gray matter over two years was 3.7 percent, while in the group that received vitamin B complex supplementation, it was only 0.5 percent.
The research team concluded that vitamin B complex can lower homocysteine levels, which in turn leads to reduced gray matter atrophy and slower cognitive decline.
Should you take Vitamin B Complex supplements?
According to Mr. Ou, certain individuals should consider taking a vitamin B complex supplement. Pregnant women are advised to take vitamin B9 during the first three months of pregnancy as this is a crucial period for fetal neural tube development.
Breastfeeding women should also supplement with vitamin B9 for lactation.
Vegetarians and vegans may not receive sufficient vitamin B12 from their diets, and therefore, should consider taking a vitamin B complex supplement.
Who should avoid Vitamin B Complex?
According to Mr. Ou, many vitamin B complexes are water-soluble and can be easily eliminated through urine. To enhance the effectiveness of their supplements, some manufacturers make them fat-soluble, which slows down metabolism. However, taking these supplements like regular B vitamins can lead to an overdose.
Additionally, the liver or kidneys must eliminate vitamin B complex from the body. Mr. Ou suggests that individuals with liver or kidney damage or high function index should avoid excessive vitamin B complex intake.
A better alternative is to obtain these vitamins naturally through daily food sources.