Welcome to the” Nurse’s Corner”! My name is Alicia Clendennin. I am Registered Nurse and have been working in nursing for the past 35 years, although it seems like just 6 months as it is one of my many passions. I am very excited about contributing to this site. We will be focusing on a variety of different topics and I welcome any input and/or suggestions for topics.
Today we are going to look at one of my favorite health promotion vitamins, the “B” family. It is not only amazing to me how many various Vitamin B’s there are (eight to be exact), but also how critical they are for overall health and wellbeing. In general, they promote the cardiovascular and the nervous systems while increasing energy levels.
Many of the B’s are sold separately. The most physically and cost effective way to take them is in some type of B complex vitamin. B complex vitamins contain all or most of the vitamin B family as well as other compounds that are vital to their absorption. Interestingly, you can take individual Vitamin B supplements vs. a complex containing all eight, and potentially have little to no positive effect from them due to the fact that they aren’t absorbed.
I have been using Young Living’s Super B for about six months. Due to poor planning I ran out of the vitamin and went about two weeks without taking it. The only way to describe it was that I felt “off”. My energy wasn’t quite the same and I was moody. Neither of these is the norm for me. It never dawned on me that it might be related to low Vitamin B levels. Within 3 days or starting back on the Super B I was back to my normal self. Even then I didn’t put two and two together. It was not until I started to write this article that I the light bulb went off! I will let the info below speak for itself.
- Thiamin acts as a cofactor for the metabolism of carbohydrates, helping turn starch and sugar into the energy our bodies need, and plays an important role in nerve transmission. Thiamin influences a variety of physiologic functions, including nervous system and muscle functioning; carbohydrate metabolism; healthy digestion; and more.
- Since very little thiamin is stored in the body, depletion can occur in as little as two weeks. Symptoms of thiamin deficiency (also known as “beriberi”) can result from inadequate intake or excessive loss of thiamin from the body, an increased requirement for thiamin, or consumption of anti-thiamin factors in food. Some people are at a higher risk for thiamin deficiency, including chronic alcoholics, patients who receive intravenous feeding for more than seven days without additional multivitamins or dietary thiamin, and people on kidney dialysis. Beriberi has been divided into three subtypes: dry beriberi refers to neuromuscular complications such as peripheral neuropathy and weakness; wet beriberi refers to cardiovascular complications such as heart failure (Shoshin-type beriberi); and cerebral beriberi refers to central nervous system (brain) complications such as Wernicke’s encephalopathy (abnormal eye movements, stance/gait abnormalities, mental dysfunction) or Korsakoff’s psychosis (apathy, confusion, severe memory deficits/amnesia).
- Riboflavin is involved in vital metabolic processes in the body, and is necessary for energy production and normal cell function and growth. It is also crucial in helping other B vitamins undergo the chemical changes that make them useful. Emerging research shows that riboflavin can act as an antioxidant, potentially helping to prevent cancer and prohibit cholesterol buildup by controlling the proliferation of harmful molecules known as free radicals.
- Riboflavin deficiency (called ariboflavinosis) can appear at intakes of less than 0.5-0.6 mg/day. Too little riboflavin can cause weakness, throat swelling/soreness, a swollen tongue, skin cracking (including cracked corners of the mouth), dermatitis, and anemia. Riboflavin deficiency can also affect vision, including blurred vision and itching, watering, sore, or bloodshot eyes, as well eyes becoming light-sensitive and easily fatigued. Particular groups may be especially susceptible to riboflavin deficiency, including the elderly, the chronically ill and alcoholics. Women who take birth control pills may also benefit from supplementation – the body’s ability to absorb riboflavin is reduced when taking birth control pills.
- Niacin’s reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers harmful cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Niacin may also reduce the incidence of asthma-induced wheezing, and may be helpful in treating or preventing atherosclerosis, second heart attacks, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoarthritis.
- Pellagra is a nutritional disease that develops due to insufficient dietary amounts of vitamin B3. Symptoms of pellagra include skin disease, diarrhea, dementia and depression.
- Vitamin B6 helps in the production of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that allow brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another, ensuring that metabolic processes such as fat and protein metabolism run smoothly, and is important for immune system function in older individuals. It can also help address a number of conditions, including nerve compression injuries (like carpal tunnel syndrome), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and some cases of depression and arthritis
- Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to nerve damage in the hands and feet. Cervical dysplasia has been linked to a low intake of several B vitamins including pyridoxine, and people with alcoholism, cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism and congestive heart failure may experience deficiencies more often. Some symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency include dermatitis, cracked and sore lips, inflamed tongue and mouth, confusion, depression and insomnia.
Folic Acid (B9)
- Vitamin B9 is essential for human growth and development, encourages normal nerve and proper brain functioning, and may help reduce blood-levels of the amino acid homocysteine (elevated homocysteine levels have been implicated in increased risk of heart disease and stroke). Folic acid may also help protect against cancers of the lung, colon, and cervix, and may help slow memory decline associated with aging.Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid: it supports the growth of the placenta and fetus, and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine. Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age should take extra caution to get enough folic acid (see below for recommended amounts).
- Deficiency has been linked to birth defects, low birth weight, pregnancy loss, depression, memory loss, and cervical dysplasia. Alcoholics, pregnant women, and people living in institutional settings are at a higher risk of vitamin B9 deficiency.
- Knowing the facts about vitamin B12 is vital: this essential micronutrient affects the development and maintenance of red blood cells, nerve cells, and normal myelination (covering) of nerve cells. It also aids in the production of DNA and RNA, and the production of neurotransmitters.
- Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, heart palpitations, bleeding gums and mouth sores, nausea, poor appetite and diarrhea. Symptoms may present themselves slowly and may not be recognized for some time. A deficiency of B12 can produce pernicious anemia, which can lead to memory loss, confusion and even dementia.
- Biotin has vital metabolic functions. Without biotin as a co-factor, many enzymes do not work properly, and serious complications can occur, including varied diseases of the skin, intestinal tract, and nervous system. Biotin can help address high blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and may be helpful in maintaining healthy hair and nails, decreasing insulin resistance and improving glucose tolerance, and possibly preventing birth defects. It plays a role in energy metabolism, and has been used to treat alopecia, cancer, Crohn’s disease, hair loss, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, Rett syndrome, seborrheic dermatitis, and vaginal candidiasis.
- Biotin deficiency is rare. Daily requirements are relatively small, food sources of biotin are abundant, and the body efficiently recycles much of the biotin it has already used. However, long-term use of certain anti-seizure medications, prolonged oral antibiotic use, intestinal malabsorption, intravenous feeding, and eating raw egg whites on a regular basis can lead to biotin deficiency. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include seborrheic dermatitis, dry skin, brittle hair/hair loss, fatigue, intestinal tract issues, muscle pains, and nervous system issues.
- Pantothenic acid is vital in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats; for healthy skin; and is used in the synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA), an enzyme that participates in a variety of reactions in the body, especially the breaking down of fatty acids
- Pantothenic acid deficiency is a rare but serious condition that can cause numbness and burning sensations in the hands and feet as well as headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. Since pantothenic acid is involved in a wide variety of biological functions, deficiencies of the vitamin may not be easily identified or may be masked by other nutrient deficiencies.
Magnesium (Magnesium Oxide)
- Magnesium helps maintain muscles, nerves, and bones, and studies have shown that a diet rich in magnesium may help protect against metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. It promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism.
- A magnesium deficiency can result in issues ranging from irritability and muscle weakness to irregular heartbeat. A balanced diet usually supplies all the magnesium a person needs, but people with specific illnesses or who are taking certain medications may benefit from magnesium supplements.
Zinc (Zinc Gluconate)
- Zinc helps maintain optimum immune function and boosts immunity, and creates new cells which allow healthy collagen production and wound healing. It is also a component of key enzymes that help preserve vision and protect against age-related vision loss, including macular degeneration. Zinc further plays a role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and may be beneficial as a supplement for people with severe diarrhea, sickle cell anemia, gastric ulcers, and acne. In addition, zinc is vital for normal fetal development and the maturation of sperm.
- Signs of zinc deficiency include hair loss, weight loss, delayed wound healing, chronic infection, and rough skin or rashes. Symptoms include poor appetite, depression and mental lethargy.
Selenium (Selenium Yeast)
- Selenium has antioxidant properties that help the body prevent cellular damage from free radicals, and one of its most valuable roles is as a cofactor of an important antioxidant enzyme in the body called glutathione peroxidase. Selenium also helps support a strong immune system, regulates thyroid function, and may help reduce the risk of prostate and secondary cancers. It also plays a role in the prevention of cataracts and heart disease.
- In the United States, selenium deficiency is rare, but in areas where the soil concentration of selenium is low, such as in China, deficiencies are more common. A deficiency in selenium can affect thyroid function and lead to diseases such as: Keshan Disease (enlarged heart and poor heart function in children), Kashin-Beck Disease (results in osteoarthropathy), and Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism (results in mental retardation). Symptoms can include muscle weakness and pain.
To summarize, if you aren’t currently taking a daily Vitamin B Complex you may want to consider starting one! My vote is always for anything Young Living as I know there are no fillers and that the strictest quality control measures are used.