Hoping to avoid some of the health problems we've come to expcet with from indoor season and winter? Consider learning more about B vitamins, which are very important to your central nervous system. They are the cornerstones for promoting a sense of well-being.
Many of my clients tell me that they take a mutli-vitamin, which is good. Most multi-vitamins, however, are exactly that: multi-vitamins -- or a little of everything. They don’t contain a concentration or therapeutic level of any one vitamin. Also they are formulated at levels according to the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances).
Did you know the RDAs are calculated according to the allowances that healthy 20-year- old males would require? (This was an interesting fact I came across while studying orthomolecular nutrition under the guidelines of Dr. Abram Hoffer.)
It seemed absurd to me that the RDAs should be set for the cross-section of our population least in need of supplementation. Further, that the RDAs would be considered for just males (and only young, healthy males). This was not a total surprise, though, since most medical standards have been set for the male population rather than both genders.
But this does not address the needs or requirements of females or an aging population. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine noted a medical research study that followed 89,000 nurses given 30% above the RDA of vitamin A had significantly less risk for breast cancer. Also, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) published a study by Dr. Charles Butterworth of Alabama noting the correlation between B-vitamin deficiencies in women and a reduced resistance to cervical cancer.
So how is a standard based on a 20-year-old male supposed to help females and males of all ages and consider most of the population and their aging or gender-specific needs? The answer is it can't.
You have to become aware of your own personal needs and build a program to address your current age, health and stress level.
Here are some guidelines for you to consider about the B-vitamins and discuss with your medical professional:
- B-1 (thiamine) is water-soluble and leaves the body daily. It is important for energy metabolism. An effective range is between 50-200 mg per day
- B-2 (riboflavin) is water-soluble and leaves the body daily. It is important to the mitochondria of your cells as they produce energy. People who exercise, laborers or bodyworkers need higher level to combat any deficiencies. An effective range is 50-200 mg per day.
- B-3 (niacin, nicotinamide) is water soluble and leaves the body daily. It is important in the energy metabolic cycle and for tissue repair and respiration. B-3 can make you "flush" at times. This is normal. (This B vitamin can create low toxic effects on the liver if taken in higher ranges of 500mg each day over three months. So don't do that.) An effective range is between 50-100 per day.
- B-5 (pantothenic acid) is water soluble and leaves the body daily. It is essential for three things in your body. It assists in making glycogen and fatty acids. These are your body's main fuels. It is essential for making neurotransmitter chemicals. It is also essential for your body's hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. An effective range is between 100-500 mg per day.
- B-6 (pyridoxine) is water soluble and leaves the body daily. It is essential to all stages of protein and amino acid metabolism. Again, the more active you are, the more you need this vitamin. An effective range is between 25-50 per day.
- B-12 (cyanocobalamin) This is essential to every cell in your body. Most importantly it is essential to what is called rapid-turnover cells, which include blood cells and the lining of your intestinal tract. The only source is animal foods, so vegetarians are most likely to be deficient. There are many ways to take B-12. Through injection, by ingesting or sublingual. An effective range is between 2-5 mg per day. Often B-12 is expressed in mcg. It takes 1,000 mcg to equal 1 mg.
- B-7 (biotin) forms part of the enzymes when making glycogen or fatty acids. They are your main fuel supply. Biotin is also found in the form of animal foods. It is essential for the body in making energy An effective range is between 300-5000 mcg depending on exertion and deficiencies.
By Beverly Leopold, CMT, COHC, CBAT