This is the first part in a series about the various B-vitamins, in which I will discuss many well known and some less known vitamins from this large family.
The number of known B-vitamins is a matter of dispute. One problem is how to define a vitamin, which, strictly, may not be a substance the body can manufacture itself. That would exclude several so-called B-vitamins. Here I choose to ignore this distinction, and interpret vitamins in the broadest sense of the word.
The B-complex, or the group of B-vitamins, consists of a large number of often interdependent water-soluble nutrients. About thirty different are known, although a “standard” B-complex rarely consists of more than eleven or eight: Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyridoxine (B6), Cyanocobalamin (B12), Folic Acid, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Choline, Inositol, and PABA. The three last ones are not always included.
I will discuss these eleven separately, except for Niacin, which was treated in Nicotinic Acid, the Real Super Vitamin! and will just be briefly mentioned here.
In addition to that, I will bring up some further B-vitamins: Amygdalin, Pangamic Acid, and Orotic Acid. Amygdalin has also been discussed before, in Cyanophobia, and will just be briefly mentioned now.
B-vitamins are involved in all systems of the body, and in almost all processes, physical or mental, many of them as co-enzymes. I am not going to list everything known about them, but rather give a brief outline of the most important functions.
Modern diet is so poor in B-vitamins that most people in the world suffer from chronic deficiency. There is no doubt that such deficiency is one of the major causes for the constantly increasing frequency of degenerative disease.
Some easily noticed symptoms that can be a result of B-vitamin deficiency are: problems with blood values, cholesterol, heart, and blood pressure; irritation, insomnia, and all sorts of mental problems; bad quality of skin, hair, or nails; constipation and other problems with digestion. On a deeper level, you can get cancer, atherosclerosis, arthritis, or become senile.
For each vitamin I have stated the RDA, Recommended Daily Allowance according to political health authorities. The value is approximate; values vary slightly between authorities and countries. On the whole the RDA values are too low for optimal health, so I have added an OD, Optimal Daily Dosage, which is based on research and experience. The OD values span over considerable intervals. Your actual need depends on your personal inner and outer condition and can vary from time to time. The lowest value, however, should be seen as a minimum for optimal health. If you are healthy, you will hardly need to reach the upper limit, which is suited for therapy – that is, treatment of serious illness.
Doses higher than the stated upper limit can sometimes be used in very special cases, but I advise not to do that without being under the supervision of a competent professional. It is sometimes said that B-vitamins are harmless, no matter the dose, because they are water-soluble and a surplus is quickly washed out of the body. This underestimates the power of vitamins.
If you want to go high in dosage, begin moderately and build up gradually over a period of several months. During that time: observe your reactions! If anything feels wrong, or if you get a symptom you do not understand: consult someone who can determine if your symptoms are natural, or lower your dose.
If you get strange symptoms, they should quickly cease if you interrupt taking the vitamin. However, be careful with B6, it can cause damage that will not disappear when you break supplementation.
Initially, vitamins can result in a healing crisis. In case of B-vitamins that can mean that unclean skin becomes more unclean before getting better, an inflammation can get worse before fading, or various digestive problems can occur the first week or weeks. Such symptoms should cease within a couple of weeks (unless you increase dosage further during that time).
B-vitamins are interdependent and should be taken together. Taking much of one or a few should always be followed by a moderate intake of the whole B-complex, or possibly all vitamins. A base of superfoods is preferable (see the last part of this series). Just taking an isolated vitamin can result in therapeutic deficiencies of others (too little relative to the one of which you take much).
To be continued...
Nicotinic Acid, the Real Super Vitamin! (Vitamin B3)
Why Dietary Supplements are Needed
All my articles on Vitamins, Minerals & Nutrients can be found here.
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