Vitamin B is found in whole grains and beans and green leafy vegetables. Possibly for this reason most people may well benefit from an increased intake of vitamin B because whole grains and greens are rarely consumed except by health nuts like me.
In addition Vitamin B is water soluble and what this means for us is that we need a new supply of the vitamin every day.
What we call vitamin B actually consists of many separate vitamins which when they were discovered were called Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and so on. In addition there are what we call unofficial members of this team of vitamins such as biotin, choline and folic acid.
And what I have called a team of vitamins has the official name of B Complex.
Having introduced vitamin B, now we can look at what this group of B complex vitamins does in the body.
B vitamins were discovered by finding that both people and laboratory animals get healthier skin when certain unknown substances were included in their diet. Serious diseases such as Beriberi and Pellagra are cured when vitamin B is present in sufficient amounts.
And while there are other nutrients such as omega 3 oils, vitamin C and silica that contribute, the B vitamins are vital.
Most people complain about not having enough energy. While some of this may well derive from a hectic lifestyle if the amount of vitamin B in your diet is insufficient you may well feel too tired for your tasks. Vitamin B works with the carbohydrates in your food to get the most energy it can for each and every cell in your body – whether in your brain or muscles or organs.
Too Much Stress?
Hinted at previously, we feel too much stress when we feel we have insufficient resources of nervous energy and attention to meet our goals. Some of the stress is from low levels of B complex in the diet and that we can fix easily. And some of it may well be insufficient sleep and a demanding job which is a lot harder to fix but boosting our B complex can certainly help at work.
There are different types of premenstrual tension and vitamin B helps with all of them. The official advice often has insufficient levels for our needs and we may need to take not 10 mg but 50 mg daily and perhaps 200 mg for a while when the demands on us increase or just for a few days each month. Other nutrients help too and especially magnesium which is a powerful way to deepen our relaxation and sleep.
Heart Health and Disease
This is the biggest benefit we can get from the B vitamins. Research from the 1950s onwards has misinterpreted data to mean that we get heart and arterial disease just by eating foods that have too much fat in them.
This notion was easy to understand and strong attempts were made to follow low fat diets. All to no avail, because all the fad diets in the world will not repair a faulty diagnosis.
The basic problem is not too much fat, it is too much of a toxic amino acid called homocysteine.
The chemistry of all this is so complicated that it took decades to figure out but a Doctor called Kilmer McCully did so and was able to deal with the homocysteine in the bloodstream by using a combination of 3 of the B vitamins.
The biggest health issue for millions of people is not their cholesterol but that they do not get enough vitamin B for their body to deal with homocysteine in a healthy way.
Because we lack B complex the homocysteine circulates in the bloodstream and damages the inner surface of the arteries. This homocysteine damage causes cholesterol to pile up and for your blood pressure to rise too.
Getting the right B vitamins short circuits all this and together with a heart friendly diet can even reverse the blockage in arteries that have been damaged decades previously.
We need to design foods rich in the B vitamins into our daily diet. Whole grains and green leafy vegetables and wheat germ are a good start. Most people may well need the extra amounts found in high quality vitamin supplements due simply to their lifestyle demanding more. Even our own individual biochemistry may need higher levels of intake.
The Official advice laid down by governments is well meaning but often decades out of date. The levels we actually need are best found out by individual consultations with a nutritionally aware health professional. Doing so may well be life changing.
About the Author
Nature and science have always been my twin passions. First I trained in Physics and afterwards trained and qualified in Natureopathy. Natural remedies work with the body helping it to heal. Helping people learn about this is a major part of my life. You can learn more about the power healthy diets and nutrients have to boost your health at my health and detox blog. and I welcome questions about these topics.