Are you getting a complex?

Are you getting a complex?

How a daily B-complex vitamin can improve your health

Why do we eat? The answer may seem obvious- to obtain energy, satiate hunger and, ultimately, promote our survival.  However, our modern-day eating habits suggest the reason we eat has less to do with nutritional need and more to do with a variety of other factors including our levels of stress and boredom, or even our budget and time constraints. Often, our meal choices may lack nutrient-rich foods.  Although it takes more than one unbalanced meal to develop a nutrient deficiency, many Americans are consistently overconsuming grains, sugar, sodium and saturated fats while under consuming two vital sources of vitamins and nutrients: fruits and vegetables.

Despite changing dietary fads and guidelines, many Americans have a general sense of which foods help their bodies function well. It’s not uncommon to hear things like, “I’ve been eating way too much fast food lately.” Or, “My body is craving a salad.”  While we may be familiar with important food groups and nutritional terms like ‘vitamins’ and ‘minerals’, we often struggle to define precisely what they do for us.

Take, for example, B vitamins. There is a total of eight B vitamins. Although each has its own vital function, most work together to support metabolism and cellular division. So, if you become deficient in one B vitamin, it may affect how other B vitamins perform in your body. One reason a healthy diet is recommended is that nutritious foods naturally contain a mixture of B vitamins. If your diet is nutritionally deficient, then a B complex supplement may be beneficial. Even for the 73% of Americans who take a daily multivitamin, many receive only one or two B vitamins instead of a complete B complex supplement.

Salmon, leafy greens, legumes, white meats, and yogurt are excellent sources of B vitamins.  However, one B vitamin-rich meal is unlikely to suffice for an extended period of time.  B vitamins are water-soluble, so the body cannot store ‘leftovers’ for another day (B-12 is an exception).  However, a daily dose of nutritious foods or a B complex supplement can sustain B vitamins in the body.

B Vitamin Functions

B1– converts food into energy; enables DNA and RNA to work together; helps heart to function and the nervous system

B2 – assists in creating red blood cells and cell growth; helps muscles, nerves, and heart functions; affects some enzyme functions

B3 – converts food into energy; helps the cardiovascular and nervous system as well as hair, skin, and eyes

B5 – supports metabolism; converts food into energy; helps overall growth and development; supports adrenal glands and hemoglobin production

B6 – promotes healthy brain function; reduces risk of cardiovascular disease; maintains nervous system, immune system, and red blood cells

B7 – supports metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates; regulates blood sugar; helps hair, skin, and nails

B9 – essential to central nervous system function; repairs DNA damages; helps produce red blood cells

B12 – develops nerves and involved in their function; maintains blood cell health; produces DNA

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of each B vitamin varies based on age and gender as well as if a person is currently pregnant or lactating.  The table below represents the recommended daily amount of B vitamins for non-pregnant and non-lactating adults. It should be noted that the recommended daily dose of B6 increases in those aged 50 or over.

  Males Females
Vitamin B-1 1.2 mg 1.1 mg
Vitamin B-2 1.3 mg 1.1 mg
Vitamin B-3 16 mg 14 mg
Vitamin B-5 5 mg 5 mg
Vitamin B-6 1.3 mg 1.5 mg
Vitamin B-7 20 mcg 30 mcg
Vitamin B-9 400 mcg 400 mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.4 mcg 2.4 mcg

When choosing a B complex supplement, it is important to find a reputable manufacturer. The supplement industry is not well regulated, so although some products display a “seal of approval” from an independent testing facility, that the seal is not related to the safety or effectiveness of the product.  B complex supplements are generally safe when taken as directed, and drug interactions are unlikely. However, several medications may actually increase the risk of vitamin B deficiency including some prescribed for blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, GERD, and epilepsy. Talk to your doctor for a list of reputable brands today.

Vitamins and minerals are essential to healthy bodily function, however eating well-balanced meals can be challenging. If you are interested in vitamin supplementation, it’s always safest to talk with your doctor about the type and amount of each supplement. There are many ways to get your vitamins, and Neuro Wellness Spa provides various nutritional therapies to help you live your healthiest life. Contact us today.

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