Originally published May 31 2009
The Beauty of B: Why You May Need More of the Vitamin B Complex
by Elizabeth Walling
(NaturalNews) Vitamin B comes in many forms, and all of them are necessary for healthy living. Getting plenty of B vitamins - usually much more than the recommended daily allowance - can improve heart health and symptoms of depression, and can also work to improve energy levels and brain function.
The complex of B vitamins includes vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, biotin, choline and inositol. It can't be stressed enough that all of the vitamins in the B complex are equally important. These vitamins work together in a synergistic way. If you don't have enough of one type of B vitamin, the other kinds will not be able to function effectively.
For many reasons, vitamin B deficiency is not uncommon today. Our typical modern lifestyle and diet are especially responsible for depleting the B vitamins from our system. A deficiency is usually caused by:
- Stress. Whether it's emotional (like chronic anxiety) or physical (like surgery), stress quickly saps B vitamins from our bodies. If you are under a lot of stress or if you have trouble managing your stress, then you need more B vitamins to make up for lost nutrients.
- Poor Nutrition. Thanks to commercial farming practices and modern food processing, foods today have less naturally occurring vitamins than in previous times. Processed foods disrupt the body's normal functions and drain the B vitamins right out of us. Foods like refined grains and sugar are especially damaging.
- Toxins and Chemicals. They're in our food, our air, and our water. Household cleaners are loaded with them. Even when we try our best to avoid them, we're frequently exposed to toxins and chemicals that deplete our B vitamins.
It's easy to see why so many people are deficient of the vitamin B complex. Below are some of the common symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency:
- Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Nervousness, anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating and poor memory
- Increased irritability
- Emotional behavior like frequent crying spells and mood swings
- Skin problems (acne, wrinkles, dryness, rashes, etc.)
- Brittle nails
Clearly the B vitamins are essential to our physical health and our mental well-being. Without them, life just isn't as good as it could be. Here are some ways you can ensure you're getting enough:
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose organic and locally grown produce whenever possible.
- Avoid overcooking your food, which can destroy the vitamin content.
- Avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and alcohol. These deplete your system of B vitamins.
- Eat more foods that are naturally filled with B vitamins, including oats, avocado, salmon, and Brazil nuts.
Many people find that a vitamin B complex supplement is helpful in addition to the above suggestions. If you take a B complex supplement, be sure the vitamins are derived from whole food sources. This ensures you're getting a supplement of higher quality that provides a more usable form of the B vitamin complex.
About the authorElizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:
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