B-vitamin family contains diverse members necessary for healthy
functioning of almost all body processes, which is why they are
“essential” nutrients. The
actions of the B vitamins cover everything from energy production in the
body, to maintaining blood vessels to hormone metabolism.*
Most B vitamins work together and, in many cases, provide the
greatest benefit when supplemented together.
Overlooked Work Horses:
Vitamins B-1 and B-2
well known as some B vitamins, Thiamin (B-1) and Riboflavin (B-2) are
essential to good health. Both
are critical for normal energy production in human cells.*
of vitamin B-1, known as beriberi, has wide-ranging symptoms including
weakness, confusion, heart damage, and loss of balance.*1
Clearly vitamin B-1 is essential for many body functions.* Though
beriberi is rare in the U.S. today, marginal or near-deficiency may be
rampant. The typical
healthy adult gets between 1.05 and 1.75 mg per day (compared to the
Reference Daily Intake [RDI] of 1.5 mg per day).1 Near-deficiency is particularly common among the elderly and
has been shown to lead to disturbances in the nervous and
B-1 was also linked to the health of the nervous system in another
study: healthy women who took vitamin
B-1 were shown to be more clear-headed and energetic as well as having
faster reaction times.*3
B-2 is necessary for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and several
of the other B vitamins.* Higher
doses can help protect normal blood flow to the brain.*4
The elderly5 and the poor6 have a high rate of marginal
deficiency of this vitamin. It
is unknown to what extent other people may have insufficient intake of
vitamin B-2. The RDI is 1.7
mg per day.
The Many Faces of Vitamin
B-3 is available in three forms. Niacin
(nicotinic acid) is the most familiar and popular form, particularly
because of its ability to help modulate levels of fats and cholesterol
in the blood.*7 However,
niacin may cause uncomfortable (though harmless) flushing, and doses
over 500 mg per day may cause liver damage.*8
The sustained-release form of niacin appears to cause most liver
problems, therefore Nature's Life products use only rapid-release forms.
Niacin works together with chromium to insure healthy glucose
newer form of
vitamin B-3, which does not cause flushing, is inositol hexaniacinate.
When six niacin molecules are attached to a large molecule of
inositol, inositol hexaniacinate is the result.
Inositol hexaniacinate delivers niacin in a natural slow-release
way, allowing for all the cholesterol-modulating benefits of niacin with
little potential for side effects such as flushing or liver damage.*
Preliminary research has shown that inositol hexaniacinate has
similar actions to niacin.*10,11
is another form of vitamin B-3 with greatly reduced risk of adverse side
actions differ significantly from those of niacin, and does not cause
flushing. In particular,
niacinamide does not affect cholesterol levels, but does help ensure
healthy joint function.*12
Multipurpose Vitamin B-6
One of the
most multifaceted nutrients may be vitamin B-6 (or pyridoxine).
This vitamin is a component of a large number of enzymes;
therefore almost every body system relies on it for optimal function.*
Some important enzymes that require vitamin B-6 are responsible for
amino acid (protein) metabolism, formation of essential fatty acids, and
formation of some neurotransmitters.*
research has shown that vitamin B-6 is beneficial for maintaining nerve
health,*13 hormonal balance in pre-menstrual women,*14 and kidney
activity.*15 There is also
evidence showing that vitamin B-6 supports healthy lung function.*16
It is said to work together with magnesium, particularly by
improving magnesium absorption into cells.*
However, this potent vitamin should not be taken in amounts over
200 mg per day for more than a few days without consulting a doctor
since it has been shown to cause temporary nerve problems.*
Additionally, high doses of vitamin B-6 supplements could
interfere with normal milk production of breast-feeding women.*17
This supplement has been shown to be safe during pregnancy,
Acid and Vitamin B-12
known to doctors of natural medicine for years, one of the biggest
nutritional news stories of the decade is that folic acid, vitamin B-6
and vitamin B-12 are critical for a healthy cardiovascular system.*19 High levels of the natural but toxic amino acid homocysteine
cause damage to the blood vessels.19
Getting enough folic acid, vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) and vitamin
B-6 helps maintain normal homocysteine metabolism.*20 Nature's Life has
developed a Homocysteine Formula with enough B-12, folic acid and B-6 to
maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.*
of any of these vitamins has long been known to cause a type of anemia
in which the red blood cells become enlarged.21
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is also related to nerve and mental
problems.1 People who are
vitamin B-12 deficient and take 1,000 mcg (1 mg) of folic acid, or more,
per day will show an improvement in anemia but no improvement in nervous
system damage.* Subclinical
or marginal vitamin B-12 deficiency is fairly common, particularly among
the elderly.22 B-12 deficiencies have been associated with difficulties
in thinking, poor memory, low energy, low stomach acid and high
homocysteine levels.*22,23,24 Low
levels may also lead to a weakened immune system.*25
It has been speculated that high doses of folic acid (> 1 mg)
mask proper diagnosis of B-12 deficiency, increasing the risk of
permanent nerve damage.*
consume healthful diets and adequate amounts of folic acid daily
throughout their childbearing years may reduce their risk of having a
child with a neural tube defect. Such
birth defects, while not widespread, are very serious.
They can have many causes. Adequate
amounts of folic acid can be obtained from diets rich in fruits, dark
green leafy vegetables and legumes, fortified grains and cereals, or a
supplement. Folic acid
consumption should be limited to 1,000 mcg per day from all sources,
according to the FDA.
facilitates the movement of fats in and out of cells.*
Because of this, it is essential for the health of the kidneys
and liver.* Choline can be
synthesized in the body, and is the major component of phosphatidyl
choline. There is no RDI
for it, but many multiple vitamin formulas contain a small amount.
Choline, as a constituent of lecithin, also plays a part in
neural health.* As people
age, the circulation of choline to the brain may be reduced, therefore
supplementation is recommended.26
needed for metabolism of amino acids, fats and carbohydrates.*1
People fed diets in which they could not absorb biotin led to
deficiency symptoms including loss of appetite, nausea, swelling of the
tongue, skin rash, hair loss, elevated cholesterol levels and
depression.*1 Though normal
bacteria in the intestines make biotin, sufficient dietary intake is
still necessary for optimal health.
Maintaining healthy fingernails has been shown to be particularly
dependent on biotin.*27
Non-Essential B Vitamins
substances unofficially categorized as B vitamins are para-amino benzoic
acid (PABA) and pantothenic acid (“vitamin
B-5”). None of these has been nearly as extensively investigated as
the vitamins mentioned above, although they are beneficial.
best known as the key ingredient in topical sunscreens as it helps block
ultraviolet light damage to the skin.*
It is considered useful for maintaining normal collagen
production and immune function* by some doctors of natural medicine, but
this has yet to be proven.
pantothenic acid levels rarely occur, but are associated with fatigue,28
as pantothenic acid acts primarily as part of a carrier molecule known
as coenzyme A in the body.* This
carrier is necessary for generation of energy from carbohydrates, making
some hormones and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and for metabolism
of fats.*1 Pantothenic acid
is needed to support the adrenal glands in particular.*29 This critical
support for the adrenal gland as it responds to stress is what makes
pantothenic acid so important.*
Importance of Combining:
factor of the B vitamin family is their complex interdependence, which
takes two main forms. First,
some B vitamins require other B vitamins for synthesis or activation.
An example would be the synthesis of vitamin B-3 from the amino
acid tryptophan, which requires vitamin B-2.30
Vitamin B-2 is also needed to turn vitamin B-6 into its active
form in the body.
the potential downside of high dose B vitamins are offset by other B
vitamins. A good example of
this is the fact that niacin may actually elevate homocysteine levels if
taken alone31 but not when combined in a B complex.*
The ability of niacin to maintain normal cholesterol levels,
combined with the ability of folic acid, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 to
modulate homocysteine levels, provides a better approach than using them
separately to maintain cardiovascular health.*32
The body has little trouble getting rid of excess B vitamins
because they are water-soluble, and thus B vitamins in general have
almost no adverse side effects.
Life B Vitamins
water-soluble B vitamins are crucial for health maintenance. Every
system in the body is affected by them, especially if there is
inadequate dietary intake.
the more important functions of B-complex nutrients include maintaining
healthy nerves, providing energy, metabolizing coenzymes, fats and
proteins, and supporting the health of skin, eyes and hair.* Due to their inter-dependent relationships, B vitamins are
best when supplemented together. Nature's
Life has developed different B-complex formulas in both tablets and
capsules to offer the greatest benefits.
All products are supported by peer-reviewed, controlled, human
research. In addition to
our formulas, we offer the essential B vitamins as individual
supplements to best meet your needs.
National Research Council.
Recommended Daily Allowances. 10th ed. National Academy Press:
Washington, DC, 1989.
L, et al. Influence of thiamin supplementation on the health and
general well-being of an elderly Irish population with marginal
thiamin deficiency. J Gerontol 1991;46:M16-22.
D, Griffiths R, Haller J. Thiamine supplementation, mood and
cognitive functioning. Psychopharmacol 1997;129:66-71.
J, et al. High-dose riboflavin as a novel prophylactic antimigraine
therapy: Results from a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled
trial. Cephalalgia 1997;17:244.
SM, Tracey F, McNulty H, et al. Riboflavin and vitamin B-6 intakes
and status and biochemical response to riboflavin supplementation in
free-living elderly people. Am
J Clin Nutr 1998;68:389-95.
R, Schwartz JV, Cooperman JM. Riboflavin deficiency in an adolescent
population in New York City. Am J Clin Nutri 1980;33:1283-6.
JM, Zimetbaum PJ, Frishman WH. Nicotinic acid for the treatment of
hyperlipoproteinemia. J Clin Pharmacol 1991;31:641-50.
JM, Proctor JD, Harris S, Chinchili VM. A comparison of the efficacy
and toxic effects of sustained- vs. immediate-release niacin in
hypercholesterolemic patients. JAMA 1994;271:672-7.
M, Zemel MB. Evidence for synergism between chromium and nicotinic
acid in the control of glucose tolerance in elderly humans.
AMA, Hafez YS, Salem H, Abdel M. The role of nicotinic acid and
inositol hexanicotinate as anticholesterolemic and antilipemic
agents. Nutr Rep Int 1983;28;899-911.
J, Jolly PN, Nicol CG. The therapeutic efficacy of inositol
nicotinate (Hexopal®) in intermittent claudication: A controlled
trial. Br J Clin Pract 1988;42:377-83.
WB, Rapoza CP, Blair WF. The effect of niacinamide on osteoarthritis:
A pilot study. Inflamm Res 1996;45:330-4.
J, Folkers K, Watanabe T, et al. Clinical results of a cross-over
treatment with pyridoxine and placebo of the carpal tunnel syndrome.
Am J Clin Nutr 1979;32:2040-6.
GE, Hargrove JT. Effect of vitamin B-6 on premenstrual
symptomatology in women with premenstrual tension syndromes: A
double blind crossover study. Infertil 1980;3:155-65.
MSR, Farooqui S, Talwar HS, et al. Effect of pyridoxine
supplementation on recurrent stone formers. Int J Clin Pharm Ther
PJ, Goldzier S III, Weiss N, et al. Pyridoxine treatment of
childhood bronchial asthma. Ann Allergy 1975;35:93-7.
MD. An antilactogenic effect of pyridoxine. J Obstet Gynaecol Br
T, Wongtra-ngan S, Ruangsri RA. Pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting
of pregnancy: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Am J Obstet Gynecol 1995;173:881-4.
CJ, Beresford SAA, Omenn GS, Motulsky AG. A quantitative assessment
of plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for vascular disease. JAMA
DG, Boers GHJ, Blom HJ, et al. Treatment of mild
hyperhomo-cysteinemia in vascular disease patients. Arterioscler
JN, Troendle GJ. Oral cobalamin for treatment of pernicious anemia?
SP, Lindenbaum J, Allen RH. Vitamin B-12 deficiency in the elderly:
Current dilemmas. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;66:741-9 [review].
MR. Nutritional Influences on Illness, 2nd ed. Third Line Press:
Tarzana, CA, 1993.
R. Subtle cobalamin deficiency. Ann Intern Med 1996;124:338-40
AM, Graham NMH, Chandra RK, Saah AJ. Low serum vitamin B-12
concentrations are associated with faster human immunodeficiency
virus type 1 (HIV-1) disease progression. J Nutri 1997;127:345-51.
B, et. al. Decreased Brain Uptake in Older Adults. JAMA
VE, Gerber F, Bronhofer M, Floersheim GL. Treatment of brittle
fingernails and onychoschizia with biotin: Scanning electron
microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1990;23:1127-32.
PC, Fox HM, Tao HG. Metabolic response to a pantothenic acid
deficient diet in humans. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 1976;22:339-46.
J. Pantothenic Acid in Schizophrenia. Lancet 1973;1(7797):262-3.
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JB, Vermaak WJH, van der Merwe A, Becker PJ. Vitamin
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