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Vitamin B Complex

B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin, Nicotinic Acid, Niacinamide), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B12 (Cyanocobalamin), Biotin, Folate


Also known as folacin, folic acid, or pteroyglutamic acid (PGA), folate is considered a brain food, and is needed for energy production and the formation of red blood cells.  It also strengthens immunity by aiding in the proper formation and functioning of white blood cells.  Because it functions as a coenzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis, it is important for healthy cell division and replication.  It is involved in protein metabolism and has been used in the prevention and treatment of folic acid anemia.  This nutrient may also help depression and anxiety, and may be effective in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia.

Folate may be the most important nutrient in regulating homocysteine levels.  Homocysteine is an amino acid that is naturally formed in the body as a result of the breakdown of another amino acid, methionine.  In recent years, high levels of homocysteine have been found to be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to the accumulation of fatty plaques).  Normally, homocysteine is converted to other, non-harmful aminor acids in the body.  In order for this conversion to take place as it should, the body needs an adequate supply of folate, as well as of vitamins B6 and B12.  Homocysteine levels in red blood cells have been shown to have an inverse relationship to levels of these three important B vitamins - that is, the lower the levels of these vitamins, the higher the level of homocysteine.

Folate is very important in pregnancy.  It helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, which is vital for normal development.  Studies have shown that a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folate in early pregnancy may prevent the vast majority of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.  It may also help to prevent premature birth.  To be effective, this regimen must begin before conception and continue for at least the first three months of pregnancy; if a woman waits until she knows she is pregnant, it may be too late, because critical events in fetal development occur during the first six weeks of pregnancy - before many women know that they have conceived.  This is why many experts recommend that every woman of childbearing age take a folate supplement daily as a matter of course.  Folate works best when combined with vitamin B12 and vitamin C.

Symptoms of Deficiency:  A sore, red tongue is one sign of folate deficiency.  Other possible signs include anemia, apathy, digestive disturbances, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, insomnia, labored breathing, memory problems, paranoia, weakness, and birth defects in one's offspring.  Folate deficiency may be caused by inadequate consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables; consumption of only cooked or microwaved vegetables (cooking destroys folate); and malabsorption problems.

Eight (8) B's and their benefits:

Benefits of B-Complex

B1 (Thiamine)

B2 (Riboflavin)

B3 (Niacin, Nicotinic Acid, Niacinamide)

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

B6 (Pyridoxine)

B12 (Cyanocobalamin)



Source:  Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D.

B-Complex Supplement


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This information is not intended to treat or cure any disease. For questions concerning health conditions and the use of dietary supplements, please consult your physician. Do not use this website as a substitute for appropriate medical care and consultation, nor should any information in it be interpreted as prescriptive. See Disclaimer for further information.