Today's Post: Tuesday, 4-3-2012
Most doctors know little about supplements including vitamins and minerals and are too busy to find out more unless they somehow get updated by their patients or other doctors who know more.
Some doctors have studied supplements and find they can get superior results with patients by using the indicated supplements. Since the supplements cost less than drugs and have virtually no side effects that harm quality of life, far more of their patients actually take the supplements than take many drugs.
The drug companies don’t like the competition from those supplements that do work but have none of the side effects most of their drugs do and the supplements cost less.
(Some drugs do important things and do them fast that supplements cannot do. And, for some things the drugs are the better choice. Then too some supplements may not be that effective.
But the drug companies appear to be deliberately misinforming doctors and the media and thus many of the rest of us about supplements that do work.)
So you may have seen headlines like “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” AND “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer.”
But the truth is far different. Very different!
1. Most vitamins and minerals are beneficial and some are spectacularly beneficial.
There a few vitamins and minerals that do have side effects in doses that are too large. But if you know what level is safe on those few, those same vitamins and minerals can benefit you.
This makes the headline, “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” false & I think deliberately misleading.
2. We know 4 things about vitamin E and prostate cancer. The headline as quoted, “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer" is completely false. And the other 3 things help prevent prostate cancer! (The study did not test real vitamin E but a poor artificial copy that was not real vitamin E!)
We covered vitamin E the first week in this series, on Tuesday, 3-13-2012.
We covered vitamin D3 last week, on Tuesday, 3-20-2012.
We covered vitamin B3, niacin, last week, on Tuesday, 3-27-2012.
This week we cover B vitamins
Deficiency causes different effects for each of the B complex vitamins.
But the common theme is that B vitamin deficiency for most of the B vitamins harms your nerves and brain and causes mental illness and even dementia.
In fact, some elderly people who don’t eat enough food or eat too little foods with B complex vitamins or no longer make enough stomach acid to digest B vitamins well from food develop apparent dementia.. (This can also be tested by giving the person B12 shots; and the other B vitamins can also be given in a starter dose in this way I read.)
But having them take B complex vitamins and B12 in a sublingual form that is absorbed directly from the mouth often reverses the dementia. And, where they had poor memory, it often improves.
Younger people and vegan vegetarians who eat foods high in B complex vitamins and take B12 in a sublingual form that is absorbed directly from the mouth are much more likely to stay healthy and mentally sharp
B vitamins help you get energy from the food you eat and make red blood cells. So a deficiency in all of them can reduce the access of your cells to glucose and oxygen.
Avoiding that energy drop is critical to resilience when you are stressed and avoiding depression from lack of energy.
Drinking alcohol in more than moderate amounts depletes your B vitamins and vitamin B1 in particular.
The simplest way to get enough of the basic B vitamins is in supplements.
Two tablets of the Solgar supplement, Stress Formula, B Complex with C plus the B vitamins in a basic vitamin mineral supplement is the best way to get the basic B vitamins.
This formula was originally created to match the amounts of the different B vitamins to what your body actually uses. (The B complex formulas that just give you 50 mg of everything overdoes some things and underdoes others. So I think it’s not a good idea though it is better than none at all.)
1. Some B vitamins it’s quite valuable to take more of.
Niacin we covered in last weeks post is almost in a class by itself due to its protection for your heart and circulation.
Vitamin B5 also has heart protective effects. So I take 25o mg a day extra.
Choline also has heart protective effects due to its boosting of your HDL levels. You can take lecithin as a supplement which contains choline. I do that. But the best way is to get choline from food. It’s particularly high in wheat germ and egg yolks.
B6, B12, & folic acid have extra protective effects.
And, taking some extra may be a good idea for B6 and folic acid. I take 50 mg a day of B6 plus my B complex and multi add 25 mg more for a total of 75. That makes the magnesium I take work better and has other benefits. It may not deliver extra heart protection but doe seem to deliver extra protection against mental decline.
I take 400 mcg of folic acid in my multi & 800 mcg in addition. I also eat raw broccoli florets daily for folate, the form your body actually uses. Like vitamin B6, it may not deliver extra heart protection but does seem to deliver extra protection against mental decline.
But the more vegetarian you are in what you eat, the older you are, or if you take Metformin or Acid Reflux acid blocking drugs, the more B12 you need. So I take 1,000 mcg a day of extra B12 as a sublingual tablet. (I take an Acid Reflux acid blocking drug and am over 65. My wife does also as she takes Metformin.)
Taking that much B12 also ensures that a kind of anemia that you can get from being deficient never occurs. Since taking extra folic acid can hide that kind of anemia – which I do, it makes it important that I take the B12 too.
2. And some can be harmful if you take too much.
Mostly B vitamins tend to be safe since they are water soluble and your body easily removes the excess.
a) We just covered that if you take extra folic acid, it’s important to also take extra B12. So, if you take extra folic acid, for sure, take the extra B12 too.
I take some extra B5. So I get total of over a bit 250 mg a day. You can get heartburn if you take over 1,000 mg a day of B5, so my recommendation is to not take more than I do.
b) The two most important B vitamins to not take too much of are niacin and B6.
Niacin we covered last week. But briefly, if you take over 1,000 mg a day you should get liver function tests from your doctor.
The good news is that taking 600 to 1,000 mg a day of niacin plus other lifestyle upgrades is enough to deliver substantial protection for your heart & circulatory system and your brain.
B6 is the one to be most careful of. Taking too much B6 causes peripheral neuropathy and numbness. Instead of protecting your nerves, too much B6 harms them.
1,000 mg a day of B6 will cause this effect. Over 300 mg a day may cause this effect is people more sensitive too it. So the most B6 that looks to be safe to take and keep taking is 200 mg a day. And, to be conservative, I take 75 mg a day from supplements to stay well under 100 mg a day.
It also makes sense to eat foods high in vitamin B complex vitamins. The ones in supplements are not all of the B complex vitamins. So adding the ones in food can improve your health results. And, the more B complex vitamins you get from food, the better your overall balance of your B vitamin intake will be even for the ones in supplements.
Egg yolks and wheat germ are 2 of the best sources for all the B vitamins. So is liver.
Most meat, poultry, and fish are high in B vitamins. So are beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas – except for B12.
Whole grains and nutritional yeast or “Brewers” yeast, and dark molasses are high in B vitamins.
So between the foods and the supplements you can get an optimum amount of vitamin B.