The Facts About Vitamin B - You've probably heard that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can lower your risk of heart disease due to their content of vitamin B. One of the most important facts about vitamin B, however, is that this nutrient also preserves nerves, banishes the blues, and might even prevent Alzheimer's disease.
There's no doubt that nutrition is critical to brain health. Tens of millions of people in North America alone maintain a healthy mind into their 80s, and even into their 90s. The key? they take advantage of the facts about vitamin B. There's no need to tax your brain to find out what it needs to thrive. Here are the basic facts about vitamin B.
"B" good to yourself.
One of the overlooked facts about vitamin B is that the B vitamins are critical to the formation of the brain chemicals dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin. All three chemicals are keys to stable moods and avoiding addictions.
Some known facts about vitamin B are each B vitamin has its own role to play in preserving mental acuity. Folic acid, for example, is critical to brain development before birth and works with vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 to prevent memory loss later in life. Reduced levels of folic acid are associated with high levels of homocysteine, a warning indicator of stroke and heart disease.
Boost your B-12.
Vitamin B-12 helps your central nervous system make myelin. This structure surrounds nerve fibers and insulates them from injury by antioxidants or physical stress (such as high blood pressure). Since vitamin B-12 is mainly found in meats and fish, a vegan diet usually does not provide enough. Without supplementation, there can be mood swings, memory loss, and mental fuzziness. If you are avoiding meat, take 3 to 100 micrograms of vitamin B-12 every day.
Fill up on folic acid.
Another frequently overlooked fact about vitamin B is that folic acid can enhance alertness and improve focus. Folic acid counteracts the amino acid homocysteine. If you aren't filling up with 12 servings of beans, fruit, green leafy vegetables, lentils, or whole-grain cereals seven days a week, take a supplement that provides 400 micrograms of this B vitamin every day.
Stir up your serotonin with vitamin B-6.
Vitamin B-6 helps your brain convert 5-hydroxytrytophan (5HTP) in the "happy chemicals" serotonin and dopamine. A basic fact about vitamin B-6 is that you can get enough from food alone if you eat bell peppers, cranberries, cauliflower, turnip greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, garlic, and tuna every day. If you don't, supplementing with 2 to 10 milligrams a day is enough.
You can also enhance your health with vitamins B-1, B-2, and B-3, also known as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.
Vitamin B-1 - thiamine was the very first vitamin discovered by medical science. It is the famous cure for beriberi, the horrible paralytic disease of the legs and feet. Thiamine is an important part of the enzyme thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), which is essential for nerve cell function, energy production, and the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and alcohol. Deficiencies of vitamin B-1 are common in persons who suffer Alzheimer's disease.
An important fact about vitamin B-1 is that your cells can't use oxygen to store energy without it. Getting enough vitamin B-1 in your diet or from supplements is key to success in exercise programs and athletic activity.
It's hard to take too much vitamin B-1, but 50 mg a day is adequate for preventing deficiency. If you take a diuretic drug such as Lasix (furosemide) or if you take a drug for epilepsy such as Dilantin (phenytoin) , you may benefit from as much as 8 grams of vitamin B-1 a day. You should also be sure you get your B-1 if you eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin, is especially critical to the mitochondria or "energy centers" of the cerebral blood vessels. Supplemental B-2 often relieves migraine. This nutrient is also a potent antioxidant and plays a role in the production of the brain's "pleasure chemical" dopamine. And if you don't get enough vitamin B-2, your body can't use vitamin B-6.
Vitamin B-3 is known variously as nicotinic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, or niacinamide.
In the 1930's nutritionists discovered vitamin B-3 was critical for preventing the "four D's," dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death.
Supplemental B-3 is used to lower cholesterol when statin drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor, and Mevacor are ineffective, and it also helps lower blood sugars in diabetics. The form of the vitamin called niacinamide has shown good clinical results in the treatment of hundreds of patients with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Results demonstrate improved joint flexibility, and reduced inflammation in those receiving supplementation over 12 weeks.