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Best strategies to boost your B vitamin levels
by Dr. David Jockers
(NaturalNews) Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well oiled machines. These essential nutrients help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. B vitamin deficiencies are more common than most physicians know, and there are major health consequences to these deficiencies.
While many of the following vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefits — from promoting healthy skin and hair to preventing memory loss or migraines.
Who is at risk for B vitamin deficiencies?
Certain lifestyle factors increase the risk of B vitamin deficiencies. These include:
- Use of NSAIDs like aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen
- Use of antacids
- Use of birth control pills
- Poor diet high in sugar
- High stress
- High performance athletes
- Heavy alcohol usage
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Antidepressant/Anti-anxiety drug use
- Genetic disorders such as MTHFR
Symptoms associated with B vitamin deficiencies:
- Mood disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Heart disease
- Poor memory
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Skin rashes
- Adrenal fatigue
- Poor detoxification
Vitamin B1: thiamine
This vitamin is called thiamine, and it helps support adrenal function and calms and maintains a healthy nervous system. Thiamin is a cofactor for the metabolism of carbohydrates into energy and plays a key role in nerve transmission.
The best food sources include sunflower seeds, flax seeds, navy and black beans. Soaking and sprouting these sources makes the B1 more bioavailable to the body.
Vitamin B2: riboflavin
This is riboflavin, which is a key part of many metabolic functions in the body. It is one of many nutrients required to recycle glutathione, which is one of the most important antioxidants in the human body. From a chemical standpoint, what B2 does is facilitate the conversion of oxidized glutathione into reduced glutathione.
The best food sources include grass-fed raw cheese, almonds, grass-fed beef and lamb, oily fish such as salmon and pasture-raised eggs.
Vitamin B3: niacin
This is niacin, which is important in energy production. Two unique forms of vitamin B3 (called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, or NADP) are essential for conversion of dietary proteins, fats and carbohydrates into usable energy. Niacin is also used to synthesize starch that can be stored in muscles and liver for eventual use as an energy source.
The richest food sources are tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon and grass-fed beef.
Vitamin B5: pantothenic acid
The most studied role of pantothenic acid in health support is its incorporation into a molecule called coenzyme A (CoA). This molecule is arguably on the short list of the most important chemicals needed to sustain life. CoA occupies a central place in energy metabolism, acting to allow carbohydrates, fats and proteins to be burned as fuel sources.
B5 is also responsible for the production of sex- and stress-related hormones including testosterone. Studies show that B5 also promotes healthy skin with the ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as redness and skin spots.
The best food sources include mushrooms, oily fish like salmon and trout, and grass-fed raw cheese.
Things that drain B vitamin reserves:
- Chronic stress
- Poor sleep
- Chronic inflammation
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
Things that improve B vitamin utilization
- Organic fruits, vegetables and sustainably raised meat
- Healthy gut motility
- Reduce stress
- Good sleeping habits
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