The environment of the body at the cellular level influences the state and function of our bodies. With the rise of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as gut issues, fibromyalgia, diabetes, obesity, and depression and anxiety, more focused attention is needed on the interconnection of nutrition and cellular health. The sub-mainstream idea of IV nutritional therapy is surfacing and gaining momentum because evidence from human research is showing that a significant subset of the population, including those of wealthy nations, have one or more vitamin deficiencies even though we are in time of apparent food-surplus.
Understanding how micronutrition affects our mind and body health is important for our quality of health in the long-run. In an article by David Kennedy in Nutrients. (Feb 2016), he suggests that the “administration of the entire B-vitamin group, rather than a small sub-set, at doses greatly in excess of the current governmental recommendations, would be a rational approach for preserving brain health.”
The underlying reasons for chronic and short-term vitamin deficiency could be due to many interconnecting reasons including, but not limited to, the access and availability of organic nutrient-rich whole foods to eat, the malabsorption of nutrients into the body caused by chronic inflammatory gut diseases, the depletion of micronutrients because of stress-related increases in their demand, and many more… The intention of IV nutritional and vitamin therapy is to enhance the environment of the body at the cellular level to promote balance in the body and mind. B-Vitamins are another tool to enhance the body’s overall ability to heal and maintain resilience.
So, what are the 8 essential B-Vitamins?
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 – Niacin / Niacinamide
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid / Dexpanthenol
Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine
- Vitamin B7 – Biotin
- Vitamin B9 – Folic acid
- Vitamin B12 – Hydroxycobalamin
B1 – Thiamine (also spelled thiamin)
- Identified in the 1930s and was one of the first recognized
- Important for many biochemical reactions and energy production in the body.
- Deficiency is due to inadequate consumption. Thiamin deficiency in low-income areas occurs in those whose diets are high insugars/carbohydrates and low in essential nutrients. Increased requirements for thiamin include rigorous activity and exercise, fever, pregnancy, breast-feeding, and adolescent growth.
- Alcoholism is the primary cause of thiamin deficiency in industrial nations. Other conditions associated with thiamine deficiency include anorexia, weight loss surgery, colon cancers, and malabsorption issues such as Crohn’s disease.
- Good sources of thiamine include whole-grain cereals, beans and lentils, nuts, pork, yeast and wheat-germ are rich sources of thiamin. Thiamin is lost during the processing of flour and rice, so foods made from flour, such as bread and pasta, are usually fortified with thiamin.
- Important antioxidant and needed for energy production. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is involved in the regulation of homocysteine concentrations. Elevated levels of homocysteine are considered to be a risk factor in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease and
- Deficiency is rare but it has been associated with states of increasedstress on the body.
- Riboflavin deficiency changesiron metabolism and may impact iron absorption. Deficiency include sore throat, redness and swelling of the lining of the mouth and throat, cracks or sores on the outsides of the lips and at the corners of the mouth, swelling and redness of the tongue, and a moist, scaly skin inflammation.
- Sources: Milk, almonds and hard-boiled eggs contain riboflavin, but mostly we get it in our diets from fortified food. Whole foods consumed fresh and stored protected from light will contains the highest levels.
- Important for maintaining a healthy heart, helps reduce skin inflammation. Niacin is used by the body to form thecoenzyme, NAD+, a molecule essential to all forms of life.
- People use niacin for a wide variety of problems including heart disease, cholesterol control, circulation problems, migraine headaches and to lower blood pressure.
- Deficiency: In plants like corn and wheat, niacin may be bound to sugar molecules in the form ofglycosides, which significantly decrease its absorption in the body.
- Many disease processes that cause malabsorption of nutrients from the gut can lead to niacin deficiency.
- Good sources of niacin include yeast, meat, poultry, red fish (e.g., tuna, salmon), fortified cereal, beans, peas and seeds. Niacin is also present in milk, green leafy vegetables, coffee, andtea.
- Available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as Dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are synthetic vitamins made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid.
- Important for energy production. Pantothenic acid and Dexpanthenol both produce coenzyme A, which is a molecule involved in a variety of enzyme reactions necessary for normal functions of the body. Vitamin B5 is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is also involved in the creation of hormones and cholesterol.
- Deficiency is rare. Whole food diets are rich in B5, however freezing, canning and cooking foods lowers B5.
- Good sources of natural Vitamin B5 are found in both plants and animals including meats, liver, fish, vegetables, grains, yeast, peanuts, sesame seeds, eggs, and dairy.
- As a pro-vitamin supplement, Vitamin B5 in the form of Dexpanthenol is converted into pantothenic acid within the body. It was approved by the FDA in 1948 and is used topically or in an injected form for cosmetic purposes or wound healing. Although the exact mechanism is not known, Dexpanthenol is also used as a gastrointestinal stimulant to treat and prevent constipation after surgery and in other conditions with impaired GI activity. In an ointment form, it is also applied topically to the skin to relieve itching and to promote healing.
- Essential for the production of GABA, the “calming” neurotransmitter in the brain. Recent studies on B6 suggest that vitamin B6 might help reduce the risk of late-life depression.
- Important for hemoglobin synthesis and protein metabolism. The use of multivitamins, including vitamin B6, has been associated with a 24% lower risk of incident of heart disease in a large study of 80,082 women from the US Nurses’ Health Study cohort.
- Deficiency is rare but symptoms include irritability and depression as well as additional symptoms including swelling of the tongue, canker sores or ulcers of the mouth, and of the skin at the corners of the mouth.
- Good sources of B6 are in fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, potatoes, and bananas.
Vitamin B7 – Biotin (Vitamin H)
- Biotin is generally classified as a B-complex vitamin.
- Identified in 1927, biotin was finally named as a vitamin in 1967.
- Deficiency includes hair loss and a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth. Some symptoms have included depression, lethargy, hallucinations, numbness and tingling of the extremities.
- Good sources of biotin include include egg yolks, liver, yeasts, avocado and salmon.
Vitamin B9 – Folate (Folic Acid)
- Important for nerve and cell growth, blood cell formation, and homocysteine metabolism. Elevated levels of homocysteine are considered to be arisk factor in chronic inflammatory diseases.
- Natural form = “folate”. Supplement form = “folic acid.”
- Folic acid is the major synthetic form found in fortified foods and vitamin supplements. Vitamin C may limit the breakdown of natural folate and folic acid in the stomach and improve folate levels in the body.
- Deficiency can cause folate anemia and symptoms related to being anemic such as, fatigue, reduced sense of taste, diarrhea, numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, muscle weakness, depression
- Pregnancy: Folic acid reduces the risk of spinal cord birth defects. It is recommended that pregnant women supplement with 600-800 mcg of folic acid per day starting 1 month before pregnancy and during the first tri-mester. Pregnant women with a history of neural tube birth defects are advised to get 4000 mcg of folic acid per day.
- Good sources of folates are found in lentils, chickpeas and asparagus. Folic acid is found in most “enriched and fortified” breads, rice and cereals.
- Important for the proper functioning of the body and cell growth. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is commonly taken to boost the immune system, mood, energy and focus.
- Deficiency of Vitamin B12 can result in anemia and a decreased synthesis of methionine and an increase of homocysteine. The level of homocysteine in the blood is regulated by three B-vitamins: folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. Elevated levels of homocysteine are considered to be a risk factor in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease and
- Good sources of Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish, and dairy products. It can also be taken as a supplement.