Friday, May 13, 2011

Vitamin B Complex

The Great Masquerader
May 12th, 2011
The many faces of B complex deficiency.

In today’s crazy world, the B complex family of vitamins has all but been forgotten. Stress, sugar, alcohol, the Pill, medications, a low-carb diet, and coffee rob you of your already dwindling reserves of this critical water-soluble vitamin family—which must be replaced daily.

Once a foundational supplement for anybody suffering from hypoglycemia, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, irritability, and even heart disease, it’s high time the B complex made a real comeback.

It really concerns me that we are all so eager to try the latest greatest “bandaid” in the form of moisturizers or concealers to hide our stress lines, skin rashes, or overly dry or even oily complexion, when the real Rx is beauty from within. The beautiful B’s are essential to metabolizing sugar for energy and in relieving nervous tension. B vitamins have a remarkable impact on your hair and skin: they give sheen to hair, help if you are losing hair or have pre-mature graying, and assist in combating other skin disorders like dermatitis.

Menopausal women, especially, find particular benefit with these vital B’s—especially B6 and B5 or pantothenic acid, which help to lessen the discomforts of insomnia and adrenal burnout often associated with the Change. Plus, the B vitamins inositol and choline help your liver to neutralize estrogen overload from environmental toxins.

Aside from assisting with glowing skin and silky hair, the “beautiful B’s” play an even more important role in hormonal health for younger women…

The B’s and Postpartum Depression?
During pregnancy the fetus consumes large quantities of nutrients, which can leave the mother deficient in critical nutrients—like B complex. New moms can then experience symptoms like depression, anxiety, irrational fears, and depression. Some are even prescribed expensive meds when a quality B complex supplement could have taken the cloud of postpartum away if maintained before, during, and after pregnancy.

And children aren’t immune either.

The first signs of a deficiency in children are mental and emotional instability. The B vitamin deficiency disease called beriberi (a deficit of thiamine or B1—“the happy vitamin”) is widely considered to have disappeared from our modern lives, but I believe it still persists. Interestingly, an untreated B complex deficiency in a child can lead to life-threatening heart disease later in life with subclinical beriberi of the heart, which triggers paralysis of the heart muscle.

Your Daily B’s
The B complex vitamins are a true “dream team” that work together to help combat depression, fatigue, free-floating anxiety, and confusion—and to defend the body against the ravages of stress. Foods rich in the complete vitamin B family include organ meats (liver, brains, heart, kidney—all of which we no longer ingest), oysters, cottage cheese, wheat germ (an allergic ingredient for the gluten-free) nutritional yeast (highly allergic to some), whole grains, soybeans (another allergen), peas, watercress, asparagus, whey, red clover, oatstraw, and parsley. It’s no wonder we’re b-deficient.

Because stress makes our B vitamin needs skyrocket and many B-containing foods aren’t popular, I highly recommend B-Complex Forte—a supplement I have been recommending for over 10 years. Unlike many others, this B complex is hypoallergenic and yeast-free—while still being one of the highest potency and balanced B complex formulas on the market. Many other types of B complex on the market today are food-based and contain concentrates of special yeasts, which can cross-react with Candida albicans. This results in unpleasant symptoms like major bloating, fatigue, and increased sugar-cravings. Furthermore, B vitamins from whole grains are off limits for the 1 in 133 adults out there who may have some degree of gluten sensitivity.

Bottom line: Reaching for this “forgotten vitamin” can alleviate a slew of symptoms—prescription drug-free.

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman