Vitamin B Complex

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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Acidophilus Alpha Lipoic Antioxidants Beta Carotene

Bioflavonoids Co–Q10 GLA Ginkgo

Glucosamine Magnesium Omega-3 Resveratrol

Selenium Soy Protein Vitamin B Iatrogenic

Conditions That Respond Alternative Medicine Approaches to Disease

B Complex Research

Brain Atrophy in Cognitively Impaired Elderly: The Importance
of Long-chain ω-3 Fatty Acids and B Vitamin Status
in a Randomized Controlled Trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 (Jul); 102 (1): 215–221 ~ FULL TEXT

This study provides greater clarity to earlier studies that found that B vitamins and/or Omega-3 fatty acids were found to slow brain loss in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease.   It also helps explain why some trials that only focused on the B vitamins had mixed results.   Apparently having high blood levels of BOTH the B vitamins AND Omega-3s provides better results in prevention of the deterioration of the brain tissue in Alzheimer's patients.

Preventing Alzheimer's Disease-related
Gray Matter Atrophy by B-vitamin Treatment

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 (Jun 4); 110 (23): 9523–9528 ~ FULL TEXT

A combination of B vitamins was found to slow brain loss in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease. This same combination of vitamins has also been shown previously to slow cognitive decline.

Nutrient Biomarker Patterns, Cognitive Function,
and MRI Measures of Brain Aging

Neurology. 2012 (Jan 24); 78 (4): 241–249 ~ FULL TEXT

Research investigators at the Department of Neurology of the Oregon Health & Science University reveal that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E are associated with better mental functioning in the elderly.
You may want to review this New York Times review of this study.

Cognitive Function After Supplementation With B Vitamins
and Long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Ancillary Findings
From the SU.FOL.OM3 Randomized Trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 (Jul); 94 (1): 278–286 ~ FULL TEXT

This study investigated the effects of supplementation on cognition in a high-risk population. In subjects with prior stroke, B vitamins plus omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a higher score on the temporal orientation cognition task vs those assigned to placebo. Effects may be group specific and may be useful in interventions aimed at preventing cognitive decline in high-risk individuals

Homocysteine-lowering by B Vitamins Slows the Rate of Accelerated
Brain Atrophy in Mild Cognitive Impairment:
A Randomized Controlled Trial

PLoS One. 2010 (Sep 8); 5 (9): e12244 ~ FULL TEXT

The Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) investigated the effect of B-vitamin supplementation on various parameters of brain aging and associated cognitive function. The treatment group was given daily supplementation of the following B vitamins: folic acid (800 mcg), vitamin B12 (500 mcg) and vitamin B6 (20 mg). The main outcome measured was change in rate of whole brain atrophy on MRI investigation after 24 months of supplementation compared to the placebo group. Study results showed that the group taking the B-vitamin cocktail experienced a 30–percent slower rate of brain atrophy, on average, and in some cases patients experienced reductions as high as 53 percent. Greater rates of atrophy were associated with lower cognitive test scores. In the control group, the the rate of atrophy was directly associated with elevated homocysteine levels.

Biotin: Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2007 (Mar); 12 (1): 73–78 ~ FULL TEXT

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that is an essential cofactor for four carboxylase enzymes, each of which catalyzes an essential step in intermediary metabolism. Because humans and other mammals cannot synthesize biotin, it must be derived from dietary sources and de novo synthesis by intestinal bacteria. Besides genetic inborn errors of metabolism, biotin deficiency can occur during extended parenteral nutrition, pregnancy, or long-term anticonvulsant therapy. Conditions that may benefit from biotin supplementation include dyslipidemia, brittle nails, diabetes, dermatitis, and candidiasis.

Mortality and Cardiovascular Events in Patients Treated With
Homocysteine-Lowering B Vitamins After Coronary Angiography

JAMA 2008 (Aug 20); 300 (7): 795–804

This study demonstrates that if you wait until you're in your mid 60's, and you already have severe heart disease, you may not reduce your risk of mortality with B vitamins. The study DID demonstrate that B vitamin supplementation DOES reduce homocystein levels. So...don't wait until you already have advanced cardiovascular disease before you start a supplement plan.

Folic Acid Monograph   PDF
Alternative Medicine Review 2005 (Sep); 10 (3): 222–229 ~ FULL TEXT

Folic acid, also known generically as folate or folacin, is a member of the B-complex family of vitamins, and works in concert with vitamin B12. Folic acid functions primarily as a methyl-group donor involved in many important body processes, including DNA synthesis. Therapeutically, folic acid is instrumental in reducing homocysteine levels and the occurrence of neural tube defects. It may play a key role in preventing cervical dysplasia and protecting against neoplasia in ulcerative colitis. Folic acid also shows promise as part of a nutritional protocol to treat vitiligo, and may reduce inflammation of the gingiva. Furthermore, certain neurological, cognitive, and psychiatric presentations may be secondary to folate deficiency. Such presentations include peripheral neuropathy, myelopathy, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, dementia, forgetfulness, irritability, endogenous depression, organic psychosis, and schizophrenia-like syndromes.

B Vitamin Status and Concentrations of Homocysteine and
Methylmalonic Acid in Elderly German Women

Am J Clin Nutr 2003 (Oct); 78 (4): 765–772

Prior investigations found that elderly persons are at higher risk than are younger persons for B vitamin deficiency, which leads to elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations that are associated with an increased risk for certain diseases such as coronary artery disease. Even in younger, well-educated, female seniors, the prevalence of low B vitamin status and elevated plasma tHcy concentration is high. Thiamine, pyridoxine, folate, and cobalamin supplementation should be considered.

Nutrients_and_HIV Part II:
Vitamins A and E, Zinc, B-Vitamins, and Magnesium

Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Feb); 5 (1): 39–51 ~ FULL TEXT

Vitamin A deficiency is a common occurrence in HIV infection, and serum levels appear to decrease as the disease progresses. (1) Low serum levels of vitamin A were found in 12–19 percent of HIV-positive, asymptomatic subjects in the United States. (1,2) Vitamin A deficiency was found in an increasingly higher proportion of women than men (p< .01) in an HIV-infected, intravenous drug-using population. (3)


B Complex Articles

4 Vitamins That Strengthen Older Brains
New Tork Times (January 2, 2012)

Higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E are associated with better mental functioning in the elderly, a new study has found.

Pharmaceutical Drugs Deplete Folic Acid
Nutrition Science News (September 2001)

In a New England Journal of Medicine study, researchers at Boston University School of Public Health and the Harvard School of Public Health raised concern over the use of drugs that interfere with folate metabolism during pregnancy, suggesting that such drug use may increase the risk of birth defects. [1] They asked the mothers of more than 15,000 infants with birth defects whether they had taken certain drugs, known by researchers to inhibit folate activity, during their pregnancies.

Low Childhood B12 May Affect Later Years
Nutrition Science News (December 2000)

A cognitive test shows lack of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) during the formative first six years of life could result in long-term reduced cognitive function. Researchers from the Nutrition and Food Research Institute in Zeist, Netherlands, studied children who had been raised on a strictly vegan macrobiotic diet until age six. The children ate a lactovegetarian or omnivorous diet after that age.

Antioxidant Vitamins Block Homocysteine's Acute Toxic Effects
Nutrition Science News (December 2000)

About one-fourth of all American adults have excessively high blood levels of homocysteine. This amino acid is formed from methionine, which is taken into the body via animal-derived foods. High levels of homocysteine translate into a significant increase in hardening of the arteries known as arteriosclerosis. In that way, homocysteine is similar to cholesterol because prolonged, elevated levels of it gradually damage the inner linings of blood vessels, causing atherosclerotic plaque and narrowing of the arteries. However, for a catastrophic end result of this process to occur — a heart attack or a stroke — it typically takes more than just narrow arteries: It requires the blood within the artery to congeal into a clot, suddenly causing an obstruction.

Supplementing Vegetarian Diets
Nutrition Science News (October 2000)

Vegetarian diets have blossomed and proliferated far beyond their countercultural roots in the early 1970s. Scientific evidence now makes clear that eliminating meat from the diet can indeed be a healthy choice. In fact, switching to a high intake of plant foods will provide the body with substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and low amounts of saturated fat—factors that have been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. [1] During the last 30 years, interest in such plant-based diets has shifted from assessing their adequacy to determining their specific health benefits. [2] And although scientists agree that there are a number of advantages, many also feel that, under certain circumstances, vegetarians may not be getting enough of a handful of nutrients.

3 B's Block Cardiovascular Disease
Nutrition Science News (July 2000)

Stress, smoking and high cholesterol are the three most commonly recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This group of diseases includes hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), cholesterol and lipid deposits in arterial linings (atherosclerosis), narrowing of the arteries that cuts blood flow to the myocardium in the heart (coronary artery disease), high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attack (myocardial infarction), and stroke, among others. Enter a 30–year-old theory, developed by then-Harvard University researcher Kilmer S. McCully, M.D. In 1969, McCully presented his theory that hardening of the arteries was directly related to the amino acid homocysteine. He found that children with certain rare genetic diseases caused by the absence of critical enzymes led to defects in the body's ability to metabolize the amino acids methionine and homocysteine. This processing defect in turn led to high blood levels of homocysteine and an extremely high risk of premature cardiovascular disease.

An Interview with Kilmer McCully, M.D.
Nutrition Science News (July 1999)

Thirty years ago, Kilmer McCully, M.D., discovered that cholesterol and clogged arteries are not the causes but rather the symptoms of heart disease. McCully's pioneering 1969 theory that linked homocysteine— an amino acid that accumulates in the blood— and heart disease was not embraced by the medical community. In fact, he was banished from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital and denied a new position for more than two years because of his research. Times have changed for McCully. The cum laude graduate of Harvard Medical School has received numerous awards for his research including the 1998 Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Award.

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