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Bursting with B (vitamin B…)

*Not true to the original form or function!

The B vitamins include: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid B6, Folic Acid, Biotin, and B12. B-complex supplements provide adequate amounts of more than one (if not all) of the B’s!

Functions

  • Energy and metabolism
  • Nervous system
  • Promotes cell growth and Development
  • Immune System

Foods (1 serving provides at least 20% of the Daily Value):

Animal Sources

  • Organ Meats
  • Milk

Plant Sources

  • Whole Grains
  • Leafy Greens

Conditions

If you don’t get any (aka deficiency), you might develop…anemia, impaired nervous system function, low energy, blood disorders, beriberi, or pellagra.  And the list goes on because B vitamins are used by so many body systems!

Vegetarians and vegans who don’t have meat, milk or eggs are at risk of low vitamin B12.  If this is the case, speak to a physician to see if supplementation would be beneficial.

If you get too much (aka toxicity), the risks…are low because B vitamins are water-soluble, so they’re excreted in the urine.  However, the following effects have been found in persons who take megadoses:

  • Niacin: nausea, vomiting, or symptoms of liver toxicity
  • Folic Acid: too much can mask a deficiency of B12.  Always see a physician if you think you might be at risk.
  • Vitamin B12: rash (that looks like acne)

Enhances absorption…Vitamin C, magnesium, tryptophan (an amino acid) or other foods (listed above) that contain B vitamins

Inhibits absorption…alcohol, coffee, sugar and tobacco.  Stress depletes your B-vitamin levels.

Conclusions and Controversies

  • Don’t believe the packaging on energy drink!  Many pack in B-vitamins and claim that to boost your energy – but it’s just a marketing ploy.  Research does not indicate that increased intake has a direct effect on energy levels.
  • Many American foods are fortified with B vitamins (like processed grains or cereals) so unless you have a limited diet, you’re probably not at risk for deficiency!

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