ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS
ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS
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VITAMIN B6 PART OF THE B COMPLEX FAMILY
Written by , Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D.
Published on 14 January 2016
B6, Part of the B Complex Family: You Need It
Don V. Richards
B6, also known in its biologically active form as pyridoxal phospate
(and also in the form of pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal, and
several other variants) is naturally-occurring nutrient that is
absolutely essential to human health. It's a water-soluble vitamin which means that it can't be stored in the fat tissues of the
human body, and any excess beyond what the body can use right now is
just flushed away in the urine. Furthermore, the body can't
manufacture its own supply. Since we need Vitamin B6 to stay alive,
that means that we need an external source of this nutrient,
and we must consume B6 regularly and repeatedly.
B6 is one of the eight "B complex" vitamins and, like all of
them, it helps the body convert our food fats, proteins, and
carbohydrates into the glucose which every cell in our body
constantly needs as fuel. Also, without Vitamin B6, we would be
unable to maintain proper, healthy functioning of our liver, our
skin, our hair, and our eyes among other things. The nervous
system also needs Vitamin B6 for the production of certain substances
which are essential for our nerve cells to communicate with each
other which is what enables all our senses, our control over our
muscles and other organs (both conscious and unconscious), and our
very minds themselves.
B6 is essential not only for healthy human brain function, but for
proper brain development
in children, too. B6 is also needed in order for the body to produce
the hormones norepinephrine
and serotonin, which
regulate our moods, and melatonin,
the "sleep hormone," which helps us maintain a normal, restful
combination with other members of the B complex family (specifically,
Vitamins B12 and B9), Vitamin B6 helps the body reduce levels of an
amino acid called homocysteine in our blood. High levels of
homocysteine in the bloodstream are linked to heart disease. Studies
have shown that people who don't get enough Vitamin B6 are more
likely to suffer from diseases of the heart.
B6 is also good for our circulatory system in that it is needed for
the production of both our regular red blood cells and the white
blood cells of our (extremely important) immune system. And, in one
of many examples of synergy between members of the B complex family
of vitamins, our bodies cannot absorb Vitamin B12 (which boosts blood
health and prevents anemia) without an adequate intake of Vitamin B6.
are currently studying whether or not Vitamin B6 can fight "morning
sickness" (nausea and vomiting) among pregnant women. Several
studies including one that was a double-blind test of the
nutrient against a placebo control group indicate that it can.
But a few studies failed to reproduce these results, so research is
possible Vitamin B6 benefit currently under review by science is its
value in combating
depression. Patients suffering from depression often have low levels
of the hormone serotonin, and several anti-depressant drugs function
by raising serotonin levels in the bloodstream. Vitamin B6 helps the
body produce serotonin, so trials are underway to see if B6
supplementation can ameliorate the symptoms of this terrible malady.
of the symptoms of the painful disease arthritis, which particularly
affects older people, is inflammation of the joints. This
inflammation is known to reduce the level of Vitamin B6 in the body,
so it is thought that arthritis sufferers require more of this
nutrient than other people, and supplementation may be in order.
recent study indicated that direct injection of Vitamin B6 was
helpful to women experiencing hair loss. According to a Polish
medical study published on the National Institutes of Health Web
site, Vitamin B6 injections generally improved the quality of the
women's hair and reduced hair loss.
B6 deficiency is rare, but it does happen among people who have
extraordinarily poor diets and the processed food industry
enables us all to eat poorly if we don't watch ourselves! That
said, though, it should be easily possible to get all the Vitamin B6
you need for normal bodily health and functioning from the foods you
eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Some of the foods rich in
Vitamin B6 are brown rice; bran; sunflower seeds; wheat germ;
whole-grain flour; meat, including salmon, shrimp, and beef liver;
milk; cheese; beans; spinach; carrots; and lentils. Symptoms of
Vitamin B6 deficiency include sores on the tongue and in the mouth,
short-term memory loss,
confusion, difficulty in concentrating, muscle weakness, nervousness,
irritability, and depression.
you think you can benefit from Vitamin B6 supplements, be aware of
the guidelines for daily intake to maintain health and, if you do
take in excess of these amounts, make sure you discuss it with your
doctor or trusted health adviser beforehand. For adults, the
recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin B6 varies from 1.3 to 2
mg. If you have a special need that requires supplementation at a
higher level, don't ever exceed 100 mg daily: Very large doses of
this nutrient have been known to cause nerve damage. Some symptoms
that might indicate you're consuming too much B6 are numbness in
the legs, loss of balance, allergic reactions of the skin, nausea,
abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and sensitivity to sunlight. When
the excess intake of Vitamin B6 is terminated, all symptoms usually
disappear in less than six months.
supplementing with Vitamin B6, it may be wise to take the vitamin as
part of a B complex supplement instead of just B6 on its own. This is
because the B vitamins often work in tandem with one another, and
allowing a large imbalance between them inhibits the synergy they
normally exhibit together, in which the total health effect is
greater than the sum of the individual parts.
your age, health, or condition in life, the 21st century is the age
of more widespread health knowledge and information than we've ever
known before. Take advantage of this information and take charge
of your diet your exercise the supplements
you take and start living like you've never lived before!
Steven D., "Vitamin B6," University of Maryland Medical Center,
, accessed 17 June 2014
G., Roffi, M., Flammer, Y., Pin, R., Hess, O.M., "Effect of
homocysteine-lowering therapy with folic acid, vitamin B12, and
vitamin B6 on clinical outcome after percutaneous coronary
intervention: the Swiss Heart study: a randomized controlled trial,"
Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002 Aug 28;
K., Manore M.M., "Elevated plasma homocysteine and low vitamin B-6
status in nonsupplementing older women with rheumatoid arthritis,"
Journal of the American Diet Assoc., 2008;108(3):443-53
J.E., Mischoulon, D., Nierenberg, A.A., Fava, M.. "Nutrition and
depression: focus on folate," Nutrition, 2000;16:544-581
G.L., Wang, E.E., "Preventive health care, 2000 update: screening
and management of hyperhomocysteinemia for the prevention of coronary
artery disease events," The Canadian Task Force on Preventive
Health Care, CMAJ, 2000;163(1):21-29
D., Young, G., "Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early
pregnancy," (Cochrane Review), Cochrane Database System Review,
Kathy, ND, About.com Alternative Medicine: Supplements; Vitamin B5,
, accessed 17 June, 2014
Kay, Live Strong, "What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B6 for Women?",
, accessed 17 June 2014
VITAMIN B5 IT IS EVERYWHERE
Written by , Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D.
Published on 07 June 2014
Vitamin B5: It's Everywhere, It's Everywhere!
by Don V. Richards
Vitamin B5 is a lot like that fictional superhero "Chickenman," whose on-the-air slogan was "He's everywhere, he's everywhere!" Vitamin B5 is also called pantothenic acid. The word "pantothenic" comes from the Greek "pantothen," meaning "from everywhere." That's a reference to the fact that small quantities of Vitamin B5 are found in almost every food.
That's good news because Vitamin B5 is an essential nutrient - that is, it's absolutely necessary for life itself. It's believed by some scientists that Vitamin B5 supplementation can help reduce stress and anxiety, speed wound healing, and help with arthritis pain. Some research supports these claims, but some does not. Studies are ongoing.
Vitamin B5 is necessary, like the other B vitamins, for the conversion of food substances - fats, proteins, and carbohydrates -- into fuel and energy for your cells. Unless this process takes place, you'll die. Vitamin B5 is also a necessary component of Coenzyme A, itself needed for this same process. Coenzyme A is also an essential component in the body's synthesis of essential fats, certain neurotransmitters (chemicals needed for nervous system functioning), melatonin (needed for healthy sleep), and hemoglobin (an essential ingredient of red blood cells).
Pantothenic acid is water soluble instead of fat soluble, so it cannot be stored by the body - and any amount that isn't immediately used is excreted in the urine. It also cannot be synthesized by the body - so an intake of B5 is necessary on a regular basis for all of us just for normal health.
Vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare because the vitamin can be naturally found in so many foods. But B5 deficiency disease can occur in cases when diets are very poor. Pantothenic acid deficiency was known among prisoners of the Japanese during World War 2 in Japan, Burma, and the Philippines, for example. Sufferers reported symptoms of tingling and and burning sensations in the feet, accompanied by a general numbness. Participants in a modern study designed to test for pantothenic acid deficiency reported insomnia, gastrointestinal pain, headache, fatigue, numbness, and tingling of the extremities. The cure is simple: Restore a normal level of Vitamin B5 by administering supplements or changing the diet.
Pantothenic acid has been shown in animal tests to speed wound healing, and it had a similar effect on cultured human skin cells in the laboratory when those cells were given an artificial wound - it caused more new skin cells to migrate, and also increased the speed of their migration, and both effects are likely to lower wound healing times. However, the results haven't been replicated in human studies yet, so more research is needed.
One study found that application of pantothenic acid reversed hair graying in laboratory rats. As a result, many soap companies started to incorporate B5, or one of its derivatives, in their shampoos. But there's no evidence yet that the nutrient has a similar effect on human beings.
Vitamin B5 also is a critical ingredient for the body's synthesis of red blood cells, sex hormones, and stress-related hormones. Pantothenic acid is also needed for proper functioning of the human digestive tract. Without Vitamin B5, the body cannot optimally utilize Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), another necessary nutrient in the B complex family.
A Vitamin B5 derivative called pantethine has been shown by several studies to bother lower the levels of "bad" cholesterol and raise the levels of "good" cholesterol in the human bloodstream. 300 mg of pantethine, taken three times a day for a total of 900 mg daily, was found significantly more effective than a placebo in these tests. Pantethine was also tested on diabetic patients undergoing hemodyalisis with similar beneficial effects, and no negative side effects were noted.
Some studies suggest that a lack of pantothenic acid might cause some of the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It was discovered that people with the disease had lower levels of Vitamin B5 in their bloodstreams than non-sufferers, and those with the least pantothenic acid had the worst symptoms. Research in 1980 showed that 2,000 mg of a type of Vitamin B5 called calcium pantothenate gave relief from arthritis symptoms. Studies continue in this area.
Pantothenic acid is part of the B complex family of vitamins. When supplementing with Vitamin B5, it's a good idea to take a B complex supplement instead of just Vitamin B5 on its own. It's believed that there is a synergistic effect with the B complex vitamins, in which the total benefits exceed the sum of the benefits of each individual vitamin. Get them seriously out of balance, and you won't get the full effect.
The recommended daily dosage of Vitamin B5 for adults is 5 mg for adults, 6 mg for pregnant women, and 7 mg for breastfeeding women. But remember, some of the special benefits discussed above only kick in with doses somewhat larger than the minimums. But extremely high doses can trigger diarrhea and may increase the danger of bleeding due to other injuries.
You should be able to get enough Vitamin B5 without supplementation just by eating a varied, healthy diet. Foods rich in pantothenic acid include milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, yeast, egg yolk, broccoli, liver, kidney, fish, shellfish, royal jelly, chicken, avocado, and sweet potatoes, along with whole grains - but remember that highly processed grains, like white bread, and canned foods, have less of the nutrient, in some cases 75 percent less.
If you do want to supplement, you should know that there is no established toxic dose for Vitamin B5 -- as no deaths due to pantothenic acid overdose are known to science. Long before toxicity could be reached, other symptoms arise and essentially warn the subject that he's had enough of the nutrient. At 10,000 to 20,000 mg per day, diarrhea generally occurs, and nausea and heartburn have also been noted at unusually high doses. Supplementation even at 1,200 mg per day is "generally well tolerated," according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
One warning, though: If you suffer from hemophilia, you probably shouldn't take Vitamin B5 supplements. It's possible that the vitamin will make it take even longer for bleeding to stop, should you become injured. As always in such cases, even if you're just a little bit unsure, consult a trusted physician.
Living in the 21st century has some disadvantages - our food is often highly processed and unhealthy, for example - but there's never been a time before now when people had such easy access to so much health information. Take advantage of the Information Age - read, learn, and take charge of your own diet and your own health today.
Christian Nordqvist, "What Is Vitamin B5?," Medical News Today, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219601.php , accessed 4th June, 2014
University of Maryland Medical Center, Health Reference Guide, "Vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid," http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b5-pantothenic-acid , accessed 4th June, 2014
Kimura, S., et al., (1980), "Antagonism of L(-)pantothenic acid on lipid metabolism in animals," Journal of Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 26 (2): 113-7
WebMd, "Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)," http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-853-PANTOTHENIC%20ACID%20%28VITAMIN%20B5%29.aspx?activeIngredientId=853&activeIngredientName=PANTOTHENIC%20ACID%20%28VITAMIN%20B5%29 , accessed 4th June, 2014
Higdon, Jane, Linus Pauling Institute, "Micronutrient Information Center - Pantothenic Acid," http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/pa/ , accessed 4th June, 2014
Gropper, S. S., et al., (2009), Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, Belmont, CA, Wadsworth, Cengage learning
Organic Facts, "Health Benefits of Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid," http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vitamins/vitamin-b5-or-pantothenic-acid.html , accessed 4th June, 2014
VITAMIN B2 RIBOFLAVIN BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Written by , Article reviewed and edited by Dr. Fine M.D.
Published on 08 December 2018
B2: Riboflavin Benefits and Side Effects
Don V. Richards
B2 - also called "riboflavin" after "ribose," the sugar
which forms part of its chemical makeup, and "flavus," for its
typical yellow color - is a water-soluble vitamin, necessary for
human metabolic processes in the body including cell function,
growth, and the production of energy. Vitamin B2 is needed for the
formation of every single one of our red blood cells and antibodies.
Riboflavin is essential for assuring proper growth and development of
our reproductive systems, and for the necessary growth of all our
body tissues such as skin, ligaments, eyes, nasal passages, nerves
and our all-important immune system. Riboflavin also helps produce
healthy skin, nails, and hair, and it aids in regulating thyroid
activity (which controls how rapidly the body uses food energy and is
a major factor in how energetic you feel). Riboflavin helps in the
absorption of minerals like iron and folic acid and also helps the
body absorb other Vitamins like B1, B3, B6 and others. Riboflavin
also helps to enhance our bodies natural immune system by
increasing our reserves of antibodies.
bright orangish-yellow color of riboflavin is what imparts that shade
to most B complex and multivitamin supplements, and in fact Vitamin
B2 is registered in Europe for use specifically as a safe food
coloring agent! Interestingly, because riboflavin fluoresces under
ultraviolet light, it has often been used to detect leaks or
demonstrate liquid delivery system coverage in industrial
applications. A recent development is the use of Vitamin B2 for the
3-D printing of replacement body parts or microneedles used for
painless cell-level injections. Formerly, there were side effects
from the substances typically used in 3-D printing, but riboflavin is
largely non-toxic and so promises to significantly advance progress
in this field.
the B vitamins - often referred to as the "B complex" of
nutrients or vitamins - help the body metabolize protein and fat.
They convert carbohydrates - food - into glucose - fuel - for
our cells and as such are essential for life.
is necessary for the normal development and function of many bodily
organs, especially the skin, the linings of the stomach and
intestines, and blood cells.
to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Riboflavin also has an
"antioxidant" effect. Oxidants are harmful particles in the
body sometimes called "free radicals." These particles cause
damage to cells over time and are strongly implicated as one of the
major factors in the degeneration of formerly healthy tissue and in
the aging process itself. Free radicals can even damage DNA, and when
they do, cells reproduce defectively, which can sometimes lead to
cancer. As an antioxidant, Vitamin B2 is thought to help preserve
youthful good health, both by itself and in synergy with other
antioxidants and nutrients.
its water-soluble, its not stored in body fats like some other
nutrients and excess amounts are flushed out in the urine. So, to
maintain health, we need not only a sufficient
supply of riboflavin, we also need a
supply. Trace amounts of riboflavin are found in the tissues of most
animals and plants, so eating a natural, healthy diet usually gives
us the necessary amount of B2 without supplementation.
riboflavin sources include milk (and dairy products generally), eggs,
green vegetables (notably asparagus and broccoli), almonds,
mushrooms, soybeans, yogurt, cereals and grains enriched with Vitamin
B2, asparagus, popcorn, bananas, and most animal-based foods. Vegans
and vegetarians especially should take care to get enough of this
vital nutrient. Yeast extract is particularly rich in B2.
deficiency is called "ariboflavinosis" - and, naturally, adding
Vitamin B2 in such cases is called for. Some symptoms of
ariboflavinosis are anemia (low red blood cell count), weakness,
dandruff, fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, loss of sleep, poor
digestion, slowed mental response, swelling of the throat or tongue,
sensitivity to light, skin irritation, and skin cracking or soreness
at the edges of the lips. Though the full-blown deficiency is rare,
it is sometimes seen among those with very poor diets, severe or
chronic diseases, alcoholics, the poor, and elderly. Though often
associated with the very poor diets of Third World countries, it is
estimated that some 28 million Americans suffer from "sub-clinical"
those who are anemic, it is often found that their riboflavin levels
are also low, and the effectiveness of the iron therapy usually used
in such cases is increased by restoring normal riboflavin levels via
supplementation or diet changes.
supplementation along with light exposure (phototherapy) has been
found helpful for infants with neonatal jaundice.
a preliminary study of 31 patients afflicted with Parkinsons
disease, every single individual showed, when tested, evidence of
Vitamin B2 deficiency. All of those patients who were given 30 mg of
riboflavin three times daily for six months showed definite
improvements in motor skills and strength. The improvements were
evident at three months and were maintained or even improved further
at the end of the six month period. (One flaw in this study is that
all participants also stopped eating red meat during the trial, and
it is not known if this was a synergistic factor in combination with
the Vitamin B2 supplementation.)
studies suggest that Vitamin B2 can have a positive role in the
treatment and prevention of cataracts, and research is ongoing in
patients being treated with tricyclic antidepressants, its been
found that boosting Vitamin B2 levels improves their scores for both
cognitive function and depression. Its thought that the
antidepressants themselves may partially suppress normal riboflavin
levels, making supplementation a good idea. Some nutritionists
believe that Vitamin B2 by itself can be helpful in preventing
those suffering from anorexia or bulemia, its often noted that
their blood levels of vital nutrients are low - and nearly a third
are deficient in Vitamin B2. While dietary changes are obviously
called for in such situations, supplementation can have a role while
a program of healthy eating is being instituted.
research also suggests Vitamin B2 in high doses may help prevent
migraine headaches. Taking 400 mg per day of riboflavin reduced the
number of migraine attacks according to these studies, though it
didnt reduce the perceived pain they caused when they did occur.
high doses, Vitamin B2 can cause an increase in urine flow and will
color the urine orange. It can also cause diarrhea. But it is
considered otherwise safe. The body will regulate riboflavin levels
itself with no ill effects. In the recommended dietary allowance
range of 1.4 to 1.6 mg per day, it is also considered safe for
pregnant and breastfeeding women - larger doses may be safe, too,
but not enough studies have been done to allow certainty, so be
amount of Vitamin B2 you need will vary depending on your personal
health and conditions you may be suffering. For most people, eating a
healthy, natural diet rich in green vegetables will provide all the
riboflavin you need for normal health.
from migraine headaches typically take a daily dose of 400 mg of
Vitamin B2 over a period of several months.
youre dealing with low levels of riboflavin in your blood (Vitamin
B2 deficiency) adults typically supplement with 5 to 30 mg every day,
separated into several doses.
who are following the program for preventing cataracts suggested by
some studies take 2.6 mg of riboflavin daily, some along with 40 mg
of niacin too.
official adult recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B2 are
(daily figures) are 1.1 mg for non-pregnant or breastfeeding women,
and 1.3 mg for men. These values are closely tied to energy
expenditure - so those who are highly active may need more than
these allowances for normal functioning.
the RDA for Vitamin B2 in Russia is approximately twice the US level
- but thats still comparitively low. Nevertheless, about 71
percent of Americans would fall below adequate B2 levels if judged by
the Russian RDA.
you use supplements to achieve the optimal levels of riboflavin,
remember that increasing your intake of just one of the B complex
vitamins can lead to an imbalance. As long as all safe dosage levels
are maintained, its usually better to take a B complex supplement
which maintains the natural balance between these beneficial
nutrients. Its also thought that they have a synergistic effect
when taken together - that is, the benefits of the entire complex
are greater than the sum of those of the individual vitamins.
scientists at the Life Extension Foundation believe that higher than
maintenance doses will have a beneficial effect and they include 50
mg of Vitamin B2 in their daily "Life Extension Mix" vitamin and
nutrient recommendations - almost 3,000 percent greater than the
RDA (though still well under the doses routinely used by migraine
patients). Many commonly available supplements provide around half
this level - 20 to 25 mg, still far above the RDA.
is not at all toxic when ingested by mouth, though it is possible to
achieve toxic doses via injection. Even those given 400 mg per day in
the migraine study - far beyond the putative life extension dose -
exhibited no short-term side effects at all.
considering supplements, consider ones made with natural instead of
synthetic Vitamin B2. Synthetic riboflavin is supposed to be
virtually identical to the natural variety, but some synthetic
varieties are produced through the fermentation of genetically
modified bacteria, and many health-conscious people are trying to
eliminate GMOs (genetically modified organisms) from their diets on
the grounds that we just dont know their long-term effects on
living things yet. Synthetics can usually be identified by having the
letters dl- in front of the nutrients name on the ingredients
list, or by having substances ending in -ide, -acid, or -ate as
additional ingredients (these are salts or other additives used to
make the synthetic forms last longer). Natural-source vitamins also
contain trace elements that our bodies have evolved over millennia to
ingest along with the foods we eat.
level and source of Vitamin B2 you choose, remember that our purpose
here is to help you make an informed choice - and take charge of
your health yourself
instead of leaving it in the hands of others. Our diets may be poorer
than ever in general today, but its also true that access to the
latest research and facts about nutrition and health has
never been easier than it is today.
Take advantage of the information revolution, and use your own
reasoning and judgment - and change your life for the better today!
18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier, 2007
M., Mitchell, P., et al: "Use of vitamin supplements and cataracts:
the Blue Mountains Eye Study,"
American Journal of Ophthalmology,
S.C., Wade, F.M., et al, "High-dose riboflavin for migraine
prophylaxis in children: a double-blind, randomized,
placebo-controlled trial," Journal
of Child Neurology,
2008 Nov; 23(11):1300-4
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http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2925007 , accessed
May 13, 2014
Facts, "Health Benefits of Vitamin B2,"
, accessed May 13, 2014
State University, "Water-Soluble Vitamins,"
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09312.html , accessed May
Institute for Optimum Nutrition, "The Vitamin Controversy,"
accessed May 14, 2014
Pulsipher, "Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins: Whats the Big
Vegan Superfoods and Supplements,
accessed May 14, 2014
http://www.healthline.com/natstandardcontent/riboflavin , accessed
May 14, 2014
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, accessed May 12, 2014
Laboratories, "Vitamin B2: Is it Important?",
, accessed May 12, 2014
"Vitamin B2 Can Be Used To 3-D Print Medical Implants,"
accessed May 12, 2014
, accessed May 12, 2014
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