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Vitamin B-12 – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information.

Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, and is available as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Because your body is capable of storing several years’ worth of vitamin B-12, deficiency is rare. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don’t contain vitamin B-12. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.

Evidence

Research on the use of vitamin B-12 for specific activities and conditions shows:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Researchers had previously believed that vitamin B-12, when combined with folic acid (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-6, might prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels by reducing the levels of an amino acid in the blood (homocysteine). However, studies show that the combination of these vitamins doesn’t seem to reduce the risk or severity of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Dementia. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with dementia and low cognitive function, but it’s not clear whether vitamin B-12 supplements might help prevent or treat dementia.
  • Athletic performance. Unless you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, there’s no evidence that vitamin B-12 supplements will boost your energy or make you a better athlete.

Our take

Generally safe

Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from a balanced diet. However, older adults, vegetarians, vegans and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamin B-12 from foods might benefit from the use of oral supplements.

Vitamin B-12 supplements also are recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding exclusively and follow vegetarian or vegan diets.

Safety and side effects

When taken at appropriate doses, vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe. While the recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms, higher doses have been found to be safe. Your body absorbs only as much as it needs, and any excess passes through your urine.

High doses of vitamin B-12, such as those used to treat a deficiency, might cause:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet

Interactions

Possible interactions include:

  • Aminosalicylic acid (Paser). Taking this drug used to treat digestive problems might reduce your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare, Gloperba). Taking this anti-inflammatory drug used to prevent and treat gout attacks might decrease your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Metformin (Glumetza, Fortamet, others). Taking this diabetes drug might reduce your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Proton pump inhibitors. Taking omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or other stomach acid-reducing drugs might decrease your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements. Taking vitamin B-12 with vitamin C might reduce the available amount of vitamin B-12 in your body. To avoid this interaction, take vitamin C two or more hours after taking a vitamin B-12 supplement.

Your doctor might recommend changing drugs or timing doses to offset any potential interactions.

Feb. 12, 2021

Show references

  1. Vitamin B12: Fact sheet for professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  2. Fairfield KM. Vitamin supplementation in disease prevention. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  3. Means RT Jr, et al. Causes and pathophysiology of vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  4. Cyanocobalamin. IBM Micromedex. https://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  5. Methylcobalamin. Facts & Comparisons eAnswers. https://www.wolterskluwercdi.com/facts-comparisons-online/. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  6. Vitamin B12. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.


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Vitamin B-6 – Mayo Clinic

Overview

Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous system and immune system healthy.

Food sources of vitamin B-6 include poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas, bananas and fortified cereals. Vitamin B-6 can also be taken as a supplement, typically as an oral capsule, tablet or liquid.

People who have kidney disease or conditions that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients from foods (malabsorption syndromes) are more likely to be vitamin B-6 deficient. Certain autoimmune disorders, some epilepsy medications and alcohol dependence also can lead to vitamin B-6 deficiency. This can cause a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues (anemia), confusion, depression and a weakened immune system.

A vitamin B-6 deficiency is usually coupled with deficiency in other B vitamins, such as folic acid (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-12.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-6 for adults 50 and younger is 1.3 milligrams. After age 50, the recommended daily amount is 1.5 milligrams for women and 1. 7 milligrams for men.

Evidence

Research on the use of vitamin B-6 for specific conditions shows:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease and stroke. Researchers had previously believed that vitamin B-6, when combined with folic acid (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-12, might prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels by reducing the levels of an amino acid in the blood (homocysteine). However, studies show that the combination of these vitamins doesn’t seem to reduce the risk or severity of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Morning sickness. Vitamin B-6 might reduce the severity of morning sickness during pregnancy. If you have persistent nausea and vomiting, your pregnancy care provider might prescribe vitamin B-6 supplements.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). There is some evidence that vitamin B-6 might reduce symptoms of PMS; however, these studies are considered to be low quality.
  • Sideroblastic anemia. Vitamin B-6 is effective at treating this genetic type of anemia.

Our take

Generally safe

A healthy and varied diet will provide most people with enough vitamin B-6. However, for people with kidney diseases, malabsorption syndromes and certain other conditions, a vitamin B-6 supplement may be necessary.

Vitamin B-6 supplements are also effective for treating a genetic form of anemia and for preventing an adverse reaction to the antibiotic cycloserine (Seromycin), a prescription drug taken to treat tuberculosis.

Safety and side effects

Consuming vitamin B-6 through food appears to be safe, even in excessive amounts.

When used as a supplement in appropriate doses, vitamin B-6 is likely safe.

However, taking too much vitamin B-6 from supplements can cause:

  • A lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements (ataxia)
  • Painful, disfiguring skin lesions
  • Heartburn and nausea
  • Sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity)
  • Numbness
  • Reduced ability to sense pain or extreme temperatures

Drug interactions

Check with your doctor before taking vitamin B-6 if you’re using any medications. Possible drug interactions include:

  • Altretamine. Taking vitamin B-6 with this chemotherapy drug might reduce its effectiveness, especially when also combined with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.
  • Barbiturates. Taking vitamin B-6 with a drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant (barbiturate) might decrease the drug’s duration and intensity.
  • Anticonvulsants. Taking vitamin B-6 with fosphenytoin (Cerebyx, Sesquient) or phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) might decrease the drug’s duration and intensity.
  • Levodopa. Avoid taking vitamin B-6 with this drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Vitamin B-6 might reduce the effectiveness of the drug.

Feb. 03, 2021

Show references

  1. Vitamin B6: Fact sheet for health professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  2. Pyridoxine oral. Facts & Comparisons eAnswers. https://www.wolterskluwercdi.com/facts-comparisons-online/. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  3. Pyridoxine. IBM Micromedex. https://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.
  4. Vitamin B6. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.


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Can Any B Vitamins Be Harmful?

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Is there such a thing as too much of any of the B vitamins? If so, how much is too much and what problems can result?

Andrew Weil, M. D. | June 20, 2019

We used to think that B vitamins were harmless because, being water-soluble (like vitamin C), they can’t accumulate in the body like the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). However, we now know that a high intake of certain B vitamins can be troublesome. The latest on this comes from a study published in May 2019 showing that postmenopausal women who had the highest daily intakes of B6 and B12 were more likely than women with the lowest intakes of these two vitamins to have hip fractures. Researchers who followed 75,864 women in the U.S. for an average of 21 years determined that the risk of hip fractures was 47 percent higher than normal among those who took 35 milligrams or more of B6 and 20 micrograms or more of B12 daily. The risk also was high among women who took large daily amounts of either vitamin. Half the fractures occurred in women under the age of 76.

We also know that vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) can cause nerve toxicity, although it usually doesn’t do that in doses lower than 200-300 mg per day. Over time, higher doses of B6 can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities that may eventually be irreversible. (I saw one woman who developed numbness in her legs from a daily dose of just 200 mg. A neurologist told her she might have multiple sclerosis, but when she stopped taking the B6, the symptoms disappeared.) I recommend a trial of 100 to 200 mg per day of this vitamin for nerve compression injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, but I always caution patients to discontinue it if they notice any unusual sensations. Too much B6 can also cause oversensitivity to sunlight, which, in turn, can lead to skin rashes, as well as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and abnormal liver function.

High doses of niacin (vitamin B3) can also cause problems, but you’re unlikely to run into trouble unless you’re taking more than 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day in efforts to lower cholesterol. Reactions range from flushing, itching, nervousness and headache to intestinal cramps. Don’t take doses in excess of 3,000 mg a day except under careful medical supervision. At those amounts nausea, jaundice and elevated liver enzymes can occur, a toxic picture mimicking hepatitis. The symptoms disappear when niacin is discontinued.

Don’t take high doses of niacin if you’re pregnant, have ulcers, gout, diabetes, gallbladder disease, liver disease, or have had a recent heart attack. Anyone who takes this B vitamin to lower cholesterol should do so only under a physician’s supervision and should have liver function tests before the start of therapy and periodically thereafter. You also should monitor your cholesterol monthly and keep your niacin dose to the lowest possible level to maintain improvement.

The healthiest way to ensure that you’re getting all the B vitamins and other nutrients you need is to eat a varied diet that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other sources of plant protein, as well as some animal foods.

Andrew Weil, M. D.

Source:
Haakon E. Meyer et al, “Association of High Intakes of Vitamins B6 and B12 From Food and Supplements with Risk of Hip Fracture Among Postmenopausal Women in the Nurses’ Health Study,” JAMA Network Open, May 10, 2019, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3591

B Vitamin Overdose Symptoms | Livestrong.com

Most B vitamins are considered safe but oversupplementing can cause symptoms of toxicity.

Image Credit: skaman306/Moment/GettyImages

The B vitamins are essential to your health. You can usually get sufficient amounts of all of them from your diet. You can’t overdose on vitamin B from food, but if you have certain medical conditions, or are taking supplements, multivitamins or herbal remedies, and eating fortified foods, you might exceed the upper level. It’s helpful to know which B vitamins might cause toxicity or adverse effects and what symptoms to watch out for.

About Vitamin B

The vitamin B benefits include assisting in energy production for the proper functioning of your heart, brain and blood cells. Eight vitamins make up the vitamin B complex group. They have some characteristics in common, but all have different functions and different recommended daily intakes. Some have established upper intake levels.

Since B vitamins are water-soluble, cases of toxicity are rare, but over-supplementation may result in an unsafe dose. Some multivitamins and vitamin B supplements contain substantially higher amounts than the daily value, RDA and even the established tolerable upper intake levels, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Read more: B-Complex Vitamin Benefits & Side Effects

Why Take Supplements?

There are several reasons why you may need to take a vitamin B supplement if you can’t get enough through your diet. These include:

  • Taking certain medications that interfere with vitamin absorption,
    including some anti-seizure medications, proton pump inhibitors and metformin. Oral contraceptives can also
    deplete several B vitamins according to University Health News.

  • Eating a restricted diet, such as vegetarian, vegan or
    low-calorie

  • Having a medical condition or disease that impairs digestion
    or absorption,

    such as celiac or Crohn’s disease

  • Having a drug or alcohol dependency

  • Having a reduction in stomach acid due to age

  • Recovering from surgery such as for
    weight loss, gastric bypass or removal of part of the small intestine

  • Being pregnant or lactating

  • Having HIV or AIDS

  • Being diabetic

Read more: The Best Form of B-Complex Vitamin

Thiamine — Vitamin B1

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, plays a key role in energy metabolism and the proper functioning of your muscles, nervous system, skin and brain. Food sources of thiamine include meats, whole grains, legumes and fortified foods. The recommended daily allowance is 1.2 milligrams for men and 1.1 milligrams for women.

Supplements usually contain 50 to 500 milligrams of vitamin B1 per tablet. There is no established upper limit because there is no known toxic effect from a thiamine overdose.

Riboflavin —  Vitamin B2

Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is important for healthy skin, hair, blood and your brain. Good dietary sources are milk, eggs, organ meats, green vegetables and fortified foods. The RDA for riboflavin is 1.3 milligrams for men and 1.1 milligrams for women.

Supplements often contain 25 to 100 milligrams, but your body can’t absorb more than about 27 milligrams at a time. You’ll know if you’ve taken more riboflavin than necessary because you’ll experience bright yellow urine, which is just surplus vitamin B2.

Read more: Treatment for a Riboflavin Deficiency

Niacin — Vitamin B3

Niacin, or vitamin B3, helps your body metabolize carbs, fats and proteins for energy. Good food sources are animal proteins, fish, mushrooms, potatoes and legumes. The RDA for niacin is 16 milligrams for adult men and 14 milligrams for women.

Overdosing on niacin from over-the-counter or prescription medications may cause toxicity if you exceed the recommended upper limits — 30 milligrams for teens and 35 milligrams for adults. Supplements typically contain 20 to 500 milligrams per tablet.

The two main forms of supplemental niacin are nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Niacin supplements with 30 milligrams or more of nicotinic acid can cause the skin on your face, arms and chest to turn red and burn, tingle or itch and can also induce headaches and dizziness.

With daily doses of 1,000 milligrams or more of nicotinic acid, serious symptoms may develop including:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and heartburn
  • Extreme fatigue
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Impaired or blurry vision and fluid buildup in the eyes
  • Gout
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • With long-term use, liver problems, including hepatitis and liver failure

As a supplement, _nicotinamid_e has fewer side effects than nicotinic acid. However, at high doses of 500 to 3,000 milligrams or more per day, nicotinamide can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Easy bruising
  • Increased bleeding from wounds
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Liver damage

Pantothenic Acid — Vitamin B5

Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is necessary for producing blood cells, balancing glucose levels, managing cholesterol and helping your skin. Foods containing pantothenic acid include animal protein, eggs, milk, mushrooms, whole grains and nuts.

The recommended adequate intake for vitamin B5 is 5 milligrams. Dietary supplements typically range from about 10 milligrams in multivitamin products to up to 1,000 milligrams in individual supplements of vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid is considered safe, but very high doses, such as 10,000 milligrams a day, can cause:

Pyridoxine — Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is essential for protein metabolism, the health of your brain and production of hormones. Vitamin B6 is found in meat, fish, potatoes, grains and fruit (other than citrus). The recommended daily allowance for adults ages 19 to 50 years of age is 1.3 milligrams. For ages 51 and older, it’s 1.7 milligrams for men and 1.5 milligrams for women. The upper limit for vitamin B6 long-term is 80 milligrams for teens and 100 milligrams for age 19 and older.

As with other B vitamins, high intakes from food sources have not been reported to cause symptoms of toxicity. Supplements typically range from a dosage of 5 to 500 milligrams per tablet. The National Institutes of Health warns that a daily intake of 1 to 6 grams of vitamin B6 for 12 to 40 months can result in symptoms of:

  • Progressive nerve damage causing lack of muscle control or
    coordination
  • Painful, disfiguring skin lesions with numbness, tingling or
    burning
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Gastrointestinal conditions,
    such as nausea and heartburn
  • Reduced ability to sense pain or extreme temperatures

The severity of symptoms is dose dependent and often disappears when the supplement is discontinued.

Folate  — Vitamin B9

Folic acid, sometimes called vitamin B9, is vital for cell creation and helps prevent birth defects when taken before and during pregnancy. You can get folate from consuming beef liver, spinach, asparagus and fortified grains. The RDA for folic acid is 400 micrograms for age 14 years and older. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate available in supplements. Common doses in supplements range from 400 to 800 micrograms for adults.

A safe upper limit has not been established for folate, but an intake of more than 5,000 micrograms a day could mask a deficiency in vitamin B12 and pernicious anemia. Neurological consequences may be irreversible. In addition, McGill reports that a supplemental dose of 1,000 micrograms showed an increased incidence of prostate cancers and a slight increase in cancerous polyps.

Cyanocobalamin — Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is essential for nerve tissue health, brain function and the formation of red blood cells. Foods that supply vitamin B12 are primarily limited to animal products like meat and dairy, so vegetarians and vegans often take vitamin B12 supplements.

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for ages 14 and older. Megadoses of up to 2,000 micrograms are considered safe in treating B12 deficiency. Because of its low potential for toxicity, there is no established upper limit for vitamin B12.

The most common form of B12 supplement is cyanocobalamin, which is chemically synthesized. There are several forms of administration, including injectable, pill form, atopic creams, nasal sprays and “under the tongue” tablets or lozenges. However, only about 10 micrograms of a 500-microgram oral supplement is actually absorbed by your body.

According to B12-Vitamin.com, in very rare individual cases, intramuscular injections of high doses of B12 have led to mild immune responses, but the reactions may have been attributed to preservatives contained in the B12 supplement. The symptoms included:

  • Skin irritations such as a particular form of acne
  • Hot flushes
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Some precautions and safety concerns for taking vitamin B12 supplements include:

  • Avoid taking vitamin B12, folate and vitamin B6 after
    receiving a coronary stent since the combination may increase the risk of blood
    vessel narrowing.
  • If you have an allergy or sensitivity to cobalt or cobalamin, do not use
    vitamin B12.
  • Don’t take vitamin B12 if you have Leber’s disease, which
    is a hereditary eye disease. B12 can seriously harm the optic nerve and lead to
    blindness.
  • Taking high doses of B12 to treat a deficiency can unmask the symptoms of polycythemia
    vera, which is a condition of high numbers of red blood cells.

Read more: The Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin B12

Benefits, uses, side effects, risks, and dosage

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Vitamin B refers to not one, but eight different vitamins. All B vitamins play a role in converting food into energy in the body. Each vitamin also has a unique role in a person’s health.

Vitamin B-complex supplements include all of the essential B vitamins in one pill. Some contain 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of every B vitamin. Others contain higher doses of some or all of these vitamins.

Many people get all the vitamin B they need from a varied, healthful diet, but others benefit from taking a vitamin B-complex supplement.

Vitamin B-complex supplements should include all of the essential B vitamins.

If a product contains the vitamin B complex, it should have some of each of the following:

Vitamin B-1 – thiamin

Vitamin B-1 is vital to the healthy growth and function of organs, including the brain and heart.

Vitamin B-2 – riboflavin

The body needs vitamin B-2 to break down fats and drugs.

Vitamin B-3 – niacin

The body needs niacin to maintain healthy skin, nerves, and digestion. Doctors sometimes prescribe high doses of niacin to help improve cholesterol levels.

Vitamin B-5 – pantothenic acid

Vitamin B-5 is essential for the health of the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin B-6 – pyridoxine

Vitamin B-6 helps the body make new red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. It also helps keep the immune system strong.

Vitamin B-7 – biotin

Biotin is essential for healthy hair, nails, and nerve function.

Vitamin B-9 – folic acid

The body uses folic acid — or folate, its natural form — to make DNA and genetic material. During pregnancy, folic acid may reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

Vitamin B-12 – cobalamin

The body’s nerve and blood cells require vitamin B-12. Adequate levels of B-12 also prevent pernicious anemia, which is a deficiency of this nutrient.

Many B-complex supplements contain about 100 percent of the RDA of each of the eight B vitamins.

However, some contain very high levels of certain B vitamins. Before taking a high-dose supplement, talk with a clinician.

The following are RDAs for each of the B vitamins, in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg), according to The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Older adults may require higher dosages of some B vitamins.

Males Females During pregnancy During breastfeeding
Vitamin B-1 1.2 mg 1.1 mg 1.4 mg 1.4 mg
Vitamin B-2 1.3 mg 1.1 mg 1.4 mg 1.6 mg
Vitamin B-3 or dietary equivalents 16 mg 14 mg 18 mg 17 mg
Vitamin B-5 5 mg 5 mg 6 mg 7 mg
Vitamin B-6 1. 3 mg 1.5 mg 1.9 mg 2.0 mg
Vitamin B-7 30 mcg 30 mcg 30 mcg 35 mcg
Vitamin B-9 or dietary equivalents 400 mcg 400 mcg 600 mcg 500 mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.4 mcg 2.4 mcg 2.6 mcg 2.8 mcg

Vitamin B-complex supplements may help with certain health problems. If a person has any of the conditions listed below, they may benefit from taking a supplement that contains B vitamins:

Migraine episodes

Some research suggests that certain B vitamins could help prevent migraine with aura, specifically:

  • vitamin B-6
  • vitamin B-9
  • vitamin B-12

The researchers also suggest that vitamin B-2 could help prevent migraine by influencing mitochondrial dysfunction, which occurs at the cellular level.

Authors of a review study from 2017 looked at the effects of vitamin B-2 on migraine. They report that this vitamin is well-tolerated and effective at reducing migraine frequency in adults, though they recommend further research.

Depression and anxiety

Authors of a study from 2018 state that vitamin B-12 levels play an important role in the development and presentation of depression and anxiety. They report that participants with depression or anxiety had lower levels of B-12 than their control counterparts.

A meta-analysis found that B vitamins could help with depression in certain cases. The researchers said that taking some B vitamins regularly for several weeks to years could reduce the risk of depression relapse.

A small-scale study in India also suggested that B-9 and B-12 deficiencies play a role in depression and anxiety.

Skin wounds

B vitamins may help the skin heal.

One study found that, when applied to the skin, these vitamins helped wounds heal more effectively. Another study found that B-12 improved wound healing in mice with diabetes.

Canker sores

Vitamin B-12 may be helpful in treating canker sores, also known as oral ulcers. A double-blind study found that a B-12 ointment relieved pain better than a placebo.

PMS

Some evidence suggests that taking a combined supplement of B-6 and calcium improves symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

A systematic review and meta-analysis also found vitamin B-6 to be helpful in controlling physical and psychological PMS symptoms.

The following sections look at who may benefit from taking vitamin B-complex supplements.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women may benefit from taking vitamin B-complex supplements.

B vitamins are particularly important during pregnancy, when a woman should take in least 400 mcg of folic acid every day. Ideally, this would also occur in the months before getting pregnant.

In addition, pregnant women should be consuming folate — the natural form of folic acid — from food sources. Getting the recommended amounts of folic acid and folate reduces the risk of birth defects involving the brain and spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pregnant women also need plenty of vitamin B-12. Studies show that vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to early pregnancy loss, low birth weight, high blood pressure in the woman, and fetal abnormalities.

Vegetarians and vegans

People who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat meat, including beef, poultry, and fish. People following a vegan diet do not eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Vegetarian and vegan diets can increase a person’s risk of B-12 deficiency. The vitamin is present in many animal-based foods, including meat, eggs, and dairy.

People who eat eggs and dairy products may be getting the B-12 that they need from these foods, but those who eat no animal products may need supplements.

People who have had gastric bypass surgery

Individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, often need vitamin supplements.

Research indicates that this surgery increases a person’s need for B-12. There is further evidence that many people need a multivitamin that includes B vitamins and other nutrients after this surgery, at least in the short term.

Older adults

People who are 65 or older may benefit from a B-complex supplement.

Research shows that older adults are more susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency. Some evidence suggests that having higher levels of B-12 may help slow the aging of the brain, but confirming this finding requires further research.

Low levels of B-12 and folate — a dietary equivalent of folic acid, or vitamin B-9 — may be associated with depression in older people, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.

In addition, a study involving older Latino adults found that higher B-6 levels were linked to decreased depression symptoms.

People with other health conditions

A person with any of the following health conditions may benefit from a vitamin B-complex supplement:

B vitamins are water-soluble. This means that, most of the time, the body excretes extra B vitamins in the urine.

While a standard dosage does not seem to cause harm, excessively high doses of certain B vitamins can be dangerous. Speak with a clinician before taking very high doses of B-complex supplements.

Possible side effects of B-complex vitamins:

  • High blood sugar. High doses of nicotinic acid, a synthetic form of vitamin B-3, can raise blood sugar levels. This can interfere with diabetes medications. People with diabetes or high blood sugar should not take high doses of nicotinic acid (measuring 1,000 mg or more).
  • Excess nicotinic acid. Too much nicotinic acid can also cause low blood pressure, fatigue, headaches, rashes, and liver damage.
  • Excess nicotinamide. High doses of nicotinamide, another form of vitamin B-3, can cause diarrhea and increased bleeding. This can occur in doses of 500 mg per day. Doses higher than 3,000 mg can cause vomiting and liver damage.
  • Excess folic acid. Taking more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid a day can mask a type of anemia caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Taking a high-dose B-complex supplement can also turn the urine bright yellow. This effect is temporary and harmless. Once the kidneys get rid of the extra vitamins, the color will return to normal.

A doctor may recommend a certain type of this supplement, depending on a person’s health needs.

Some vitamin and supplement companies use independent quality testing of their products. Those that pass may have a seal of approval from an independent testing organization.

This seal does not guarantee that the product is 100-percent safe or effective for everyone, but it means that the product contains what is listed on the label without contaminants.

Some testing organizations and their certifications include:

  • ConsumerLab.com’s approved quality product seal
  • NSF International’s dietary supplement certification
  • the verified mark of The United States Pharmacopeial Convention, or USP

In most cases, vitamin B does not interact negatively with other medications. However, certain medicines can make a vitamin B deficiency more likely.

These are some examples of medications that can result in low levels of specific B vitamins:

  • Blood pressure drugs and chemotherapy drugs can lower a person’s B-1 levels.
  • Antiseizure medications used for epilepsy can lower B-3, B-6, and B-9 levels.
  • Drugs that treat tuberculosis can cause low levels of B-3 and B-6.
  • Certain cancer drugs can lower B-9 levels.
  • Certain drugs that treat ulcerative colitis can cause low levels of vitamin B-9.
  • Certain antibiotics and medicines for ulcers, diabetes, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, may lower B-12 levels.

Avocados are a major source of B vitamins.

Some foods contain several B vitamins, and a person needs a varied diet to consume all eight.

People can get all the B vitamins that they need from omnivorous, vegetarian, or vegan diets.

However, animal products are a major source of B vitamins, so people following restricted diets should take steps to ensure that they are getting enough of each vitamin from different dietary sources.

Some of the best food sources of B vitamins include:

  • beef
  • pork
  • fish
  • organ meats
  • avocados
  • leafy greens
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • grains
  • milk
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • enriched and fortified breads and cereals
  • mushrooms

Learn more about vegetarian and vegan sources of vitamin B-12 here.

Whenever possible, a person should take in B vitamins by eating a variety of healthful foods. However, some people benefit from taking a B-complex supplement.

People can find these supplements in health or drug stores, or they can choose between brands online.

A B-complex supplement is generally safe when a person takes it as directed. However, only take very high doses of B vitamins under a doctor’s guidance.

Read the article in Spanish.

B Vitamins: Causes and Symptoms of Deficiency – Blog

Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on March 27, 2020. Written by Jordana White. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


Nutrition tip: make sure you’re getting enough B vitamins because they’re so important to many aspects of your health and well-being. Vitamin B benefits the body by maintaining the health of cells and nerves as well as aiding in the production of DNA. (You can now check your vitamin B levels at home with the Everlywell B Vitamins Test.)

Read on to learn more about B vitamins: what they can mean for your health, symptoms and causes of deficiency, and more.

What is Vitamin B?

Vitamin B refers to several different types of vitamins that, together, are known as the B-complex vitamins. Vitamin B benefits the nerves and cells within the body and also helps with the production of DNA (the chemical substance that genes are made from).

There are 8 kinds of vitamins in the vitamin B complex: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9, also known as folic acid), and cobalamin (B12). Deficiencies in these B vitamins can lead to a number of different symptoms over time (if the deficiency isn’t reversed).

Each of these eight B vitamins play important roles in the body. B vitamins are needed to drive the chemical reactions that support your body’s many functions. For example, cells use B vitamins to generate energy from sugar, fatty acids, and other nutrients. So without B-complex vitamins, the human body could not function well at all.

B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins. In other words, they can dissolve in water – so excess B vitamins your body doesn’t use are washed out through urination, for example.

This means the body can’t easily store B vitamins for long periods of time. That’s why it’s especially important to regularly consume B vitamins – whether from your diet or from supplements – to avoid deficiency.

Benefits of B Vitamins

Benefits of Vitamin B6

  • Helps the body build neurotransmitters (like dopamine), which are special chemicals your brain needs to function
  • Helps your body make red blood cells
  • Helps immune system antibodies work correctly
  • May help lower the risk of lung cancer (though more research is needed to firmly establish this benefit of B6)

Benefits of Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic Acid)

  • Helps the body make and repair DNA (genetic material)
  • Helps your body make red blood cells
  • Supplementing with high-enough levels of B9 before pregnancy (as well as during pregnancy) significantly lowers the risk of giving birth to a baby with neural tube defects like spina bifida

Benefits of Vitamin B12

  • Helps the body make and repair DNA (genetic material)
  • Helps your body make red blood cells – as well as nerve cells
  • Helps support healthy hair, skin, and nails

Think you might have a B12 deficiency? If you are showing signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, it may be useful to get your B12 level checked. (Take the Everlywell at-home B Vitamins Test to learn your levels of 3 key B vitamins, including B12.)

Vitamin B12 can affect your red blood cell count, and can even lead to neurological symptoms in severe cases. If someone’s vitamin B12 status isn’t at a normal level, their healthcare provider may recommend a high-dosage B12 supplement or even—in some cases—B12 injections.

B Vitamin Deficiency: Symptoms and Causes of Low Vitamin B Levels

When it comes to vitamins needed for both a sound body and mind, the B vitamins aren’t something you want to ignore. Take, for example, vitamin B12: don’t get enough of this vitamin, and your energy levels throughout the day might sag – with your mind constantly turning, perhaps, to thoughts of sleep in your warm cozy bed.

Or consider vitamin B9 (a.k.a. folate or folic acid): a deficiency in this vitamin and you might get sores on your mouth or a swollen tongue – among other possible symptoms.

Then there’s vitamin B6. If your levels of this key B vitamin are too low, then you could be looking at flaky, oily rashes on your upper body or face.

But these aren’t the only symptoms of B vitamin deficiency. So here’s a more complete list of vitamin B deficiency symptoms.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN B DEFICIENCY

Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Signs of B6 deficiency include:

  • Getting sick from infections more often (because B6 helps support your immune system)
  • Getting cracks or sores in the skin around the corners of your mouth – or a swollen and sensitive tongue
  • Fatigue
  • A feeling of numbness or tingling in your hands and feet (this is known as “paresthesias”)
  • Depression, anxiety, and/or irritability
  • A red, itchy rash – often oily or flaky – that usually appears on the upper body or face. Small areas of your skin might also swell, resulting in white patches
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased alertness

Vitamin B9 Deficiency

Signs of B9 deficiency include:

  • Fatigue
  • More gray hair
  • Mouth sores
  • A swollen tongue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Irritability

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Signs of B12 deficiency include:

  • A feeling of numbness or tingling in your hands and feet (or “paresthesias”)
  • A smooth-appearing tongue
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Mouth sores
  • Mood changes
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin

Are you deficient in key B vitamins? Check from the comfort of home with EverlyWell’s B Vitamins Test.

Vitamin B Deficiency Diseases and Conditions

Vitamin B deficiency can increase the risk of various diseases and conditions which can affect your heart health, brain health, mental well-being, and more. For example, both B9 and B12 deficiency causes anemia in some cases – a condition in which your body lacks healthy red blood cells (which makes it hard for different parts of your body to get the oxygen they need). Anemia can also lead to fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and even numbness and tingling in some cases.

Other conditions linked with vitamin B deficiency include:

  • Paresthesias – A “pins-and-needles” feeling often experienced around the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Peripheral neuropathy – A nervous system condition that is often felt as a stabbing or burning pain
  • Psychosis – A mental condition in which one’s thoughts and perceptions are significantly altered, resulting in delusions, hallucinations, nonsense speech, or other symptoms
  • Heart attack and stroke – A deficiency in vitamin B12 may heighten the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke

What Causes Vitamin B Deficiency?

Here’s a roundup of 4 of the top causes of vitamin B deficiency: a non-balanced diet, excessive alcohol consumption, various medications (such as proton-pump inhibitors, or PPIs), and gut malabsorption conditions.

(1) A NON-BALANCED DIET

Your body can’t directly make B vitamins (unlike proteins, for example – which the body manufactures out of many smaller building blocks).

But that’s usually not a problem because your body gets B vitamins from the food you eat. If you follow a well-balanced diet that provides your body with the right level of nutrients, you can help avoid symptoms of vitamin B deficiencies.

However, for a variety of reasons, sometimes we don’t eat the right balance of food necessary to get enough of the vitamins we need. (For example, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then you might not get enough vitamin B12 – because vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal-based foods and dairy products.)

That’s when vitamin deficiencies – like vitamin B deficiency – can crop up. As such, dietary inadequacies are one of the key causes of vitamin B deficiency.

So, obvious follow-up question here: what foods contain a lot of B vitamins? Well, that depends on which B vitamin is under consideration – vitamin B6, B9, or B12. Here’s a quick rundown of foods you can eat to boost your levels of each of these B vitamins (source):

  • Vitamin B6 – Meat, fish, legumes, nuts, bananas, potatoes
  • Vitamin B9 – Leafy vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits
  • Vitamin B12 – Meat, fish, and other animal and dairy products

(2) EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Whether your drink of choice is shaken and not stirred, includes a barrel-aged spirit, or is a humble mug of beer, there’s nothing especially harmful about (safely) having a drink every now and then.

Needless to say, though, excessive alcohol consumption can have its downsides – one of which is vitamin B deficiency. Alcohol, in short, makes your kidneys flush B vitamins out of your system much more quickly than usual. That means your body doesn’t have all the time it needs to make use of these B vitamins – so they, quite literally, go to waste.

(3) VARIOUS MEDICATIONS

Several types of prescription medicines can bump up the likelihood of a vitamin B deficiency:

  • Increased likelihood of vitamin B6 deficiency – anticonvulsants, isoniazid, hydralazine, corticosteroids, and penicillamine (common brand name: Cuprimine)
  • Increased likelihood of vitamin B9 deficiency – phenytoin (common brand name: Dilantin), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate (common brand names: Rheumatrex, Trexall), and sulfasalazine (common brand name: Azulfidine)
  • Increased likelihood of vitamin B12 deficiency – metformin, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antacids, long-term antibiotics, and antidepressants

(4) GUT MALABSORPTION CONDITIONS

Under healthy conditions, B vitamins are absorbed by the gut and into your bloodstream. The bloodstream then transports these much-needed vitamins throughout your body. So what happens if B vitamins don’t make it into the bloodstream? It’s simple: they can’t be put to good use by the body!

And that’s exactly what can go wrong if you have a gut malabsorption condition – like Crohn’s, for example, or ulcerative colitis or Celiac disease. These conditions prevent B vitamins from entering the bloodstream, significantly dropping your blood’s vitamin B levels – and potentially harming your well-being.

Conclusion

Since vitamin B deficiency is relatively common – some have even declared it a “worldwide problem” – it’s helpful to know some of its main causes (like the 4 described above).

There’s more you can do to reduce the health risks related to a low vitamin B12 level (as well as low levels of other B vitamins). For starters, consider checking your vitamin B levels with the Everlywell at-home B Vitamins Test. Then, if you are indeed deficient, you can consult with your healthcare provider on the next steps you can take.

It’s recommended that older adults who have deficient levels of vitamin B talk with their healthcare provider as soon as possible to come up with a treatment plan. If you are showing vitamin B deficiency symptoms, it may be because you do not have enough vitamin B in your diet. If you’re showing signs of tiredness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or other deficiency symptoms, consider checking your B12 level.


Find out if you may have a vitamin deficiency with the Everlywell at-home B Vitamins Test.


Learn More About Vitamin B

B Vitamins For Energy: Myth or Science?

At-Home B Vitamins Test


References

1. Lykstad J, Sharma S. Biochemistry, Water Soluble Vitamins. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020.

2. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68. doi:10.3390/nu8020068

Vitamin B6 – Consumer

What is vitamin B6 and what does it do?

Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. The body needs vitamin B6 for more than 100 enzyme reactions involved in metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also involved in brain development during pregnancy and infancy as well as immune function.

How much vitamin B6 do I need?

The amount of vitamin B6 you need depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg).

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 0.1 mg
Infants 7–12 months 0.3 mg
Children 1–3 years 0.5 mg
Children 4–8 years 0.6 mg
Children 9–13 years 1.0 mg
Teens 14–18 years (boys) 1.3 mg
Teens 14–18 years (girls) 1.2 mg
Adults 19–50 years 1.3 mg
Adults 51+ years (men) 1.7 mg
Adults 51+ years (women) 1.5 mg
Pregnant teens and women 1.9 mg
Breastfeeding teens and women 2.0 mg

What foods provide vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is found naturally in many foods and is added to other foods. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin B6 by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

  • Poultry, fish, and organ meats, all rich in vitamin B6.
  • Potatoes and other starchy vegetables, which are some of the major sources of vitamin B6 for Americans.
  • Fruit (other than citrus), which are also among the major sources of vitamin B6 for Americans.

What kinds of vitamin B6 dietary supplements are available?

Vitamin B6 is available in dietary supplements, usually in the form of pyridoxine. Most multivitamin-mineral supplements contain vitamin B6. Dietary supplements that contain only vitamin B6, or vitamin B6 with other B vitamins, are also available.

Am I getting enough vitamin B6?

Most people in the United States get enough vitamin B6 from the foods they eat. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin B6:

  • People whose kidneys do not work properly, including people who are on kidney dialysis and those who have had a kidney transplant.
  • People with autoimmune disorders, which cause their immune system to mistakenly attack their own healthy tissues. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease sometimes have low vitamin B6 levels.
  • People with alcohol dependence.

What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon in the United States. People who don’t get enough vitamin B6 can have a range of symptoms, including anemia, itchy rashes, scaly skin on the lips, cracks at the corners of the mouth, and a swollen tongue. Other symptoms of very low vitamin B6 levels include depression, confusion, and a weak immune system. Infants who do not get enough vitamin B6 can become irritable or develop extremely sensitive hearing or seizures.

What are some effects of vitamin B6 on health?

Scientists are studying vitamin B6 to understand how it affects health. Here are some examples of what this research has shown.

Cardiovascular disease

Some scientists had thought that certain B vitamins (such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6) might reduce cardiovascular disease risk by lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. Although vitamin B supplements do lower blood homocysteine, research shows that they do not actually reduce the risk or severity of heart disease or stroke.

Cancer

People with low levels of vitamin B6 in the blood might have a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer, such as colorectal cancer. But studies to date have not shown that vitamin B6 supplements can help prevent cancer or lower the chances of dying from this disease.

Cognitive Function

Some research indicates that elderly people who have higher blood levels of vitamin B6 have better memory. However, taking vitamin B6 supplements (alone or combined with vitamin B12 and/or folic acid) does not seem to improve cognitive function or mood in healthy people or in people with dementia.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Scientists aren’t yet certain about the potential benefits of taking vitamin B6 for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). But some studies show that vitamin B6 supplements could reduce PMS symptoms, including moodiness, irritability, forgetfulness, bloating, and anxiety.

Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

At least half of all women experience nausea, vomiting, or both in the first few months of pregnancy. Based on the results of several studies, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends taking vitamin B6 supplements under a doctor’s care for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Can vitamin B6 be harmful?

People almost never get too much vitamin B6 from food or beverages. But taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements for a year or longer can cause severe nerve damage, leading people to lose control of their bodily movements. The symptoms usually stop when they stop taking the supplements. Other symptoms of too much vitamin B6 include painful, unsightly skin patches, extreme sensitivity to sunlight, nausea, and heartburn.

The daily upper limits for vitamin B6 include intakes from all sources—food, beverages, and supplements—and are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking vitamin B6 for medical reasons under the care of a doctor.

Life Stage Upper Limit
Birth to 12 months Not established
Children 1–3 years 30 mg
Children 4–8 years 40 mg
Children 9–13 years 60 mg
Teens 14–18 years 80 mg
Adults 100 mg

 

Does vitamin B6 interact with medications or other dietary supplements?

Yes, vitamin B6 supplements can interact or interfere with medicines that you take. Here are several examples:

  • Vitamin B6 supplements might interact with cycloserine (Seromycin®), an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, and worsen any seizures and nerve cell damage that the drug might cause.
  • Taking certain epilepsy drugs could decrease vitamin B6 levels and reduce the drugs’ ability to control seizures.
  • Taking theophylline (Aquaphyllin®, Elixophyllin®, Theolair®, Truxophyllin®, and many others) for asthma or another lung disease can reduce vitamin B6 levels and cause seizures.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, and other healthcare providers about any dietary supplements and medicines you take. They can tell you if those dietary supplements might interact or interfere with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines or if the medicines might interfere with how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down nutrients.

Vitamin B6 and healthful eating

People should get most of their nutrients from food and beverages, according to the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other components that benefit health. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements are useful when it is not possible to meet needs for one or more nutrients (e.g., during specific life stages such as pregnancy). For more information about building a healthy dietary pattern, see the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate.

Where can I find out more about vitamin B6?

  • For general information on vitamin B6:
  • For more information on food sources of vitamin B6:
  • For more advice on choosing dietary supplements:
  • For information about building a healthy dietary pattern:

Disclaimer

This fact sheet by the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific product or service, or recommendation from an organization or professional society, does not represent an endorsement by ODS of that product, service, or expert advice.


Updated: January 15, 2021 History of changes to this fact sheet

90,000 What threatens an overdose of vitamins? – Harmony of health

Before taking vitamin preparations, make sure that your body really needs them. An overdose of vitamins can be more threatening than a lack of them. Hypervitaminosis is a group of symptoms caused by an excess of vitamins in the body, most often as a result of an overdose. It concerns, first of all, fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K. With too much intake of water-soluble vitamins, the body can cope by excreting them along with urine.Another situation arises with an excess of fat-soluble vitamins, they cause hypervitaminosis.

Before taking vitamin preparations, make sure that your body really needs them. An overdose of vitamins can be more threatening than a lack of them. Hypervitaminosis is a group of symptoms caused by an excess of vitamins in the body, most often as a result of an overdose. It concerns, first of all, fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K. With too much intake of water-soluble vitamins, the body can cope by excreting them along with urine.Another situation arises with an excess of fat-soluble vitamins, they cause hypervitaminosis.

Excess vitamin D – has a very dangerous effect. In adults, it manifests itself as nausea, vomiting, itching of the skin, head and eye pain, diarrhea, increased urination, as well as the deposition of excess calcium in soft tissues, in the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and blood vessels. The consequences of an overdose of vitamin D in pregnant women and lactating mothers are dangerous. They cause fetal deformities, bone disease in newborns.Too large doses of vitamin E can cause gastrointestinal upset, feeling tired and weak, as well as drowsiness, headaches, muscle weakness, and diplopia. The increased supply of vitamin E has fewer side effects compared to many other vitamins. An overdose of this vitamin occurs, but rarely.

Vitamin A in too high doses can cause nausea, blurred vision, fatigue, heaviness, irritability, lack of appetite, vomiting, headache, hair loss, itching, cracked and bleeding lips, stunted growth in children, peeling skin, ulcers, bone damage , bleeding, deformation of the skull and face, dysfunction of the heart, kidneys, fibrosis of the liver and central nervous system.To an excess of vitamin. And most often the unlimited use of food additives leads.

An overdose of vitamin K, which regulates the process of blood clotting, leads to the breakdown of red blood cells and, consequently, to anemia. The consequences of an excess of this element are also sweating and a feeling of heat, and in newborns – jaundice, and even damage to brain tissue! The human body is especially sensitive to an overdose of vitamin C (the so-called ascorbic acid), which is found mainly in vegetables and fruits.Its excess can lead to crystallization of salts and the formation of kidney stones, and taking very large doses can lead to disturbances in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system. In addition, excess vitamin C causes skin breakouts. Its consumption in large doses has a bad effect, especially on the following category of people: pregnant women with diabetes mellitus, in people with lens cataracts and thrombophlebitis, it causes hypervitaminosis.

In addition to the harmful effects, an excess of some elements provokes a decrease or loss in the body of other substances it needs.Thus, in addition to the consequences of hypervitaminosis, there is a deficiency of minerals and other vitamins that affect the processes occurring in the body. A proper diet will help you avoid taking special supplements, as well as hypervitaminosis. Nutritionists all over the world claim that we can get all the necessary elements for the full functioning of the body with our daily food.

But if proper nutrition is not possible, a general practitioner can prescribe vitamin preparations, usually from domestic manufacturers.These drugs are created for residents of the region who have the same needs for elements. These drugs are strictly controlled and tested so that they do not lead to hypervitaminosis.

There is a category of drugs where the daily intake of vitamins can be ten or even twenty times higher. They cannot be used without consulting a doctor, otherwise an overdose of vitamins cannot be avoided. Therefore, before you include vitamin supplements in your daily diet, you should consult a specialist.Do not use additional supplements all year round. It is acceptable to use them in winter and autumn: during the rest of the year, our diet does not need to include vitamin supplements. It is also recommended, in taking synthetic vitamins, to take breaks every three to four weeks, since the constant intake of special supplements can provoke hypervitaminosis.

Vitamin deficiency and excess – how to recognize?

The main source of vitamins and microelements should be the diet, but it is not always possible for a person to eat in a balanced way in order to saturate the body with the necessary substances.Vitamin deficiency – avitominosis – disrupts almost all functions of the body, but this is a rare disease in the modern world. Such a diagnosis is made only by a doctor after an examination. For this and many other reasons, it is impossible to independently prescribe a course of vitamins during the imaginary “spring avitominosis”.

To figure out what the norm and lack of vitamins in the body is manifested in and whether it is necessary for an ordinary person to take synthetic vitamins (multivitamins, vitamins of a certain group), we will talk with an expert of the LabQquest personalized medicine laboratory Irina Valentinovna Martirosova.

Vitamin C

The most striking example of avitominosis is the diagnosis of scurvy. This “sailor’s disease” has in the past been linked to vitamin C deficiency due to a poor diet. Today it is quite difficult to reach such a state, but let’s talk about everything in order.

Vitamin C is responsible for the body’s protective functions. It enhances the immune response in response to a foreign pathogen in the body, participates in the growth and development of tissues, and promotes wound healing.

The richest sources of vitamin C are: greens, rose hips, green vegetables, citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes.

Lack of this vitamin is manifested by hair loss, dry and pale skin, inflammation in the mouth and bleeding gums, increased fatigue, fragility of bones, increased tendency to viruses and infections and other consequences.

A long-standing myth about the need to take ascorbic acid in almost any amount can lead to an excess of the vitamin, which is no less dangerous than a deficiency.It is often accompanied by similar symptoms caused by vitamin deficiency, to which are also added acute problems with the gastrointestinal tract and a predisposition to the formation of kidney stones. However, all these signs can appear in a person who really “went over” with vitamin C from a jar. In general, the body tries to excrete excess vitamin on its own with feces and urine.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the most “controversial” one, because often in studies and meta-analyzes, scientists come up with conflicting conclusions about the benefits or even uselessness of a synthetic vitamin.

Vitamin D is a prohormone that participates in various biochemical processes in the body. It is necessary for the normal function of the immune system, the prevention of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, and is an oncological protector.

Distinguish between vitamin D2 and D3. The first form of the vitamin is found in food, while the second is formed in the skin from D2 when exposed to sunlight.

Global statistics show that about 70% of the world’s population is deficient in vitamin – mainly in the northern countries.Its deficiency is well manifested externally – problems with skin, hair, nails and, of course, mood. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a high risk of depression and anxiety.

An excess of vitamin for residents of Russia is difficult to achieve, therefore, doctors often recommend taking synthetic vitamin throughout the year for adults and children. Doses should be consulted with a specialist.

Vitamin B12

The main source of vitamin B12 is animal products, so people who, for one reason or another, have been excluded from the diet of meat, fish and dairy products, are at an increased risk group.

Vitamin is vital for blood formation and the nervous system, it is involved in the synthesis of DNA components.

B12 deficiency is manifested by weakness, dizziness and tinnitus, increased irritability, memory loss, and signs of depression. The excess is accompanied by hives, and according to some reports, skin problems, including acne and acne. People may experience allergic reactions, hyperexcitability. There are other symptoms, but you can find out about them from laboratory tests.

Vitamin B9 or folic acid

This vitamin is usually given in tandem with B12 for a synergistic effect. Folic acid is also essential for the immune and circulatory systems, participates in the formation of new cells, and is needed for a healthy metabolism.

The deficiency is manifested by neurological symptoms – anxiety, aggression, an increased sense of fear, and also contributes to the risk of panic attacks and depression.Against the background of excess, aggression and increased excitability also persist, symptoms of digestive disorders appear.

Pregnant women and young mothers need additional intake of B9 for a long time. Other people, as well as pregnant women, are shown control and recommendations of a specialist.

Vitamin A

Provitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, protects against cardiovascular diseases, is an oncological protector, and is essential for the body’s immune and reproductive systems.

Vitamin deficiency can also be easily identified by external factors, which nevertheless overlap with symptoms of other vitamin deficiencies. The lack of beta-carotene includes: dry skin and eyes, hair loss, vision problems (development of “night blindness”), skin diseases, disorders of skeletal tissue development and other problems.

An excess of vitamin A should be the primary concern of smokers, as it increases the risk of developing malignant tumors.Symptoms of excess can be different, but the main ones include: hair loss and baldness, impaired appetite, skin inflammation, diarrhea, increased fatigue, muscle pain.

A competent approach to taking vitamins

Vitamins should be prescribed by a doctor – an axiom that constantly requires proof among Russians. We are used to buying multivitamins in the spring or some specific jar of synthetic vitamin on someone’s advice, but this is fundamentally wrong.

A person can be deficient in one vitamin and an overabundance of another, so multivitamins can be harmful to him. Also, taking one group of vitamins can neutralize another, and then it’s wasted time and money.

Doctors emphasize that it is not necessary to undergo comprehensive tests for the status of the supply of vitamins in the body. A person needs to consult with a therapist who will listen to complaints, examine and only then recommend specific laboratory tests.Or, perhaps, he simply advises to diversify the daily diet.

90,000 why they can’t be drunk just like that and how it can end

Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary in small quantities to support life. Nutrition experts say that people only need the RDA – the amount found in a regular, balanced diet. The manufacturers claim that the usual diet does not contain enough vitamins, and the more you take, the better.But modern research shows that supplements cause not only temporary negative effects on human health, but can also provoke serious illness, even death.

B vitamins

Previously, people thought that B vitamins were harmless, because, like vitamin C, they are soluble in water and cannot accumulate in the body, like fat-soluble A, D, E and K. However, now scientists have determined, that excessive consumption of certain B vitamins causes serious health problems.

For example, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) can cause neurodegenerative changes even if the recommended dose is slightly exceeded for a long time. Higher doses of B6 accumulate in the body and damage the nerve endings, causing numbness and tingling in the extremities, which can eventually become irreversible. Too much can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight, resulting in skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, chronic abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and liver dysfunction.

High doses of vitamin B3 (niacin) also cause problems when the dosage is exceeded 2-3 g per day for lowering cholesterol levels. Reactions range from redness, itching, nervousness, and headache to intestinal cramps. Those who exceed the recommended dose of niacin may experience nausea, jaundice, increased liver enzymes, and a toxic picture that mimics hepatitis. Symptoms disappear when niacin is discontinued. Lean meats, milk, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and protein foods are the best natural sources of niacin.If you follow a balanced diet, there is no need for additional intake.

In humans, vitamin B12 plays a role in metabolism, the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of the central nervous system. An overdose of B12 can contribute to acne, according to a 2015 study. The study showed that when in contact with it, the skin bacteria P. acnes with the help of porphyrin begins to activate the process leading to inflammation of acne. This is a key step in the later stages of acne development.

Huiying Li, study co-author and assistant professor of pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, is confident the link is clear. Her team decided to conduct an experiment that clearly, at the molecular level, demonstrates the harmful effects of the vitamin. “There is still a lot of research to be done to understand if B12 actually causes acne,” Lee says. She also warned that it is too early to say that people with rash problems should stop taking multivitamins with B12.The scientist noted that most of the studies that found an increase in inflammation associated with taking the vitamin involved a single injection of high doses.

Vitamin C

With the right dose, vitamin C neutralizes charged free radicals by accepting their free electron. This is a true “molecular martyr”, taking the blow to protect the cellular neighborhood.

But, taking an electron, vitamin C itself becomes a free radical, capable of damaging cell membranes, proteins and DNA.As food chemist William Porter wrote in 1993, “Vitamin C is truly a two-faced Janus, Dr. Jekyll is Mr. Hyde, an oxymoron of antioxidants.” Chemical pathologists at the University of Leicester discovered in a six-week study in 30 healthy men and women that a daily vitamin C supplement of 500 mg has prooxidant as well as antioxidant effects on the DNA of genetic material. The researchers found that at a level of 500 mg, vitamin C contributes to genetic free radical damage to part of the DNA, the adenine bases.

The results published in Nature confirm the warnings issued for decades by the American physician, Dr. Victor Herbert, professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Herbert has shown, primarily through laboratory studies, that vitamin C supplementation promotes the production of iron free radicals in the body.

“Vitamin C supplements mobilize harmless iron stored in the body and convert it into the iron that causes damage to the heart and other organs,” says Dr. Herbert.- Unlike a vitamin naturally found in foods such as orange juice, it is not an antioxidant as a supplement. It is a redox agent – an antioxidant in some circumstances and a prooxidant in others. ”

Many people think that vitamin C helps prevent colds. Despite research from around the world, there is still no conclusive evidence to support this. Some experiments have shown that taking large doses of vitamin C (over 1,000 mg per day) continuously or at the first sign of a cold can ease some symptoms and their duration – making them about half a day shorter.And this does not in the least interfere with a cold.

Large doses may cause nausea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fatigue, kidney stones, and diarrhea. It can also interfere with the body’s ability to process (metabolize) other nutrients, such as causing iron levels to spike.

Excessive amounts of vitamin C in the body can also affect medical tests such as diabetes. Adults need about 45 mg of vitamin C per day. However, almost any excess amount is rapidly excreted from the body.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is often referred to as a potential source of youth. However, there is no evidence that taking high doses can either stop or reverse the signs of aging. None of the vitamins can restore sex drive or cure infertility.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1994, 29,000 Finnish men, all smokers, received daily vitamin E, beta-carotene, both, or a placebo.The study found that those who took beta-carotene for five to eight years were more likely to die of lung cancer or heart disease.

Two years later, another study on vitamin supplementation was published in the same journal. In it, 18,000 people who had a history of an increased risk of lung cancer due to exposure to chemicals or smoking received a combination of vitamin A and beta-carotene or a placebo. The researchers ended the experiment when they found that the risk of dying from lung cancer was 46% higher for those taking the vitamins.

Then, in 2004, the SELECT Study (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Study – High-Tech) was developed to determine the long-term effects of selenium and vitamin E supplementation on prostate cancer. Previous experiments have hinted that both of these substances may provide protection against prostate cancer. But the study showed a 17 percent increase in the risk of prostate cancer in men who took 400 units of vitamin E daily.

More than 35 thousand.Men from the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico were divided into four groups in a randomized controlled trial. One group took 400 international units of vitamin E per day, the second took 200 mcg of selenium per day, the third took both vitamin E and selenium, and the fourth took only an inactive placebo.

All men were 50 years of age or older and had no early signs of prostate cancer as evidenced by digital rectal examinations and PSA levels. The experiment began in August 2001 and ended in June 2004.

Preliminary results from the study showed an increase in the incidence of prostate cancer in both the vitamin E and selenium groups. While this increase was not statistically significant, the increase in the vitamin E group was much the same. The trial aimed to test the protective effect of vitamin E or selenium, but found only evidence of potential harm.

Another review published in 2005 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 19 trials involving nearly 136,000In humans, supplemental vitamin E increased the risk of premature death. In people with vascular disease or diabetes, it increased the risk of heart failure.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is known for maintaining good vision, healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissues, mucous membranes. People who do not get enough vitamin A are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases and eye problems.

But a high dose of the vitamin causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, poor muscle coordination, itching and flaking of the skin, bone pain, hair loss, irregular menstruation in women , osteoporosis, and temporary or permanent liver damage. High doses of vitamin A also increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. The problem with it is that, unlike other vitamins, excess amounts are not washed out in the urine, but rather accumulated in the liver.

Acute vitamin A hypervitaminosis was first documented in Arctic researchers who unknowingly consumed the liver of many Arctic animals – seals, huskies and even polar bears – rich in vitamin A. The symptoms of this extremely unpleasant condition among scientists were hair loss, damage to the skin and liver, hemorrhage, coma and death.


In November 1912, a group of three men and 16 dogs departed from a remote base in East Antarctica to explore a series of ice cracks.

Three months later, only one of the men returned. His name was Douglas Mawson. His skin was peeling and his hair was falling out. He has lost almost half of his weight. He said that Sir Edmund Hillary called the expedition “the greatest survival story in the history of polar exploration.”

After a month of travel, one team member, along with a tent, provisions and six dogs, fell into a crevice. Mawson and his colleague Xavier Merz decided to return to base, surviving by eating the remaining dogs.A few weeks later, Merz developed severe abdominal pains. Then his skin began to peel off, his hair fell out. He died of dehydration in a delirium a few days later.

Mawson had similar symptoms, but managed to survive despite hunger and lack of vital nutrients. Mawson’s description of his symptoms is an almost educational description of a vitamin A overdose – probably from eating a dog’s liver. Just 100 grams of husky liver can give a hungry researcher a lethal dose.


Douglas Mawson Arctic Expedition

Vitamin D

Our genetics affect vitamin D levels. We can use this information to determine if a low amount may actually increase your risk of illness (rather than a consequence). So far, the available evidence suggests that low levels of vitamin D are either irrelevant or only a marker of disease. But research over the past five years has shown that even vitamin D and calcium supplements and their ineffectiveness in preventing fractures can increase the risk of heart disease.

While several studies in normal humans did not find any protective effects from vitamin D, others were more alarming. One randomized study in 2015 among 409 older adults in Finland found that it did not offer any benefit over placebo or exercise, and that the fracture rate was actually slightly higher.

The usual prescribed dose in most countries is 800 to 1,000 units per day (i.e. 24-30 thousand.units per month). However, two randomized trials have found that vitamin D at 40,000 to 60,000 units per month actually becomes a hazardous substance.

A study of more than 2,000 elderly Australians showed that in patients who received high doses until blood levels of vitamin D were within the optimal range, the incidence of fractures and falls only increased by 20-30% compared with those who received low doses or has not reached “optimal blood levels”.

Explaining why vitamin D supplements are often harmful is more difficult. Some people who do not take supplements have naturally high blood levels of the vitamin. This could be due to the fact that they spend a lot of time in the sun or regularly eat fatty fish – and there is no evidence that this is harmful. Above average levels can also be due to genes that, on average, contribute about 50% of the differences between people. Thus, doctors’ obsession with trying to bring everyone to a standard normal target blood level is as unprofessional as a one-size-fits-all approach to diet.

Calcium

Calcium is an important nutrient for bone health, but new research shows that older women who take high doses of this substance are at risk of cardiovascular disease, which can be fatal.

Swedish researchers followed 61,433 women born between 1914 and 1948, an average of 19 years, noting the causes of their deaths. The researchers also used questionnaires to record the intake of various calcium supplements.Taking into account measures of physical activity, bad habits and dietary factors, they found that women who consumed 1,400 mg or more of calcium per day had twice the risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those who took 600 to 1,000 mg. These women also showed a 49% higher death rate from cardiovascular disease and a 40% higher death rate from any cause.

The authors note that calcium may increase blood protein levels associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

“If you have a normal diet, you do not need to take calcium supplements,” said Dr. Karl Mikaelsson, professor and orthopedic surgeon at Uppsala University in Sweden. “Calcium supplements are helpful if your intake is very low, but only your doctor can calculate the exact dosage.”

Iron

Anemia is a condition that occurs when a person does not have enough healthy red blood cells to supply enough oxygen to your tissues.It is common in women and can cause fatigue and weakness.

Taking iron supplements without the dose recommended by your doctor is extremely fraught. Waste iron builds up in the body and can even rise to toxic levels. Taking more iron causes skin discoloration, enlarged liver or spleen, abdominal pain, congestive heart failure, irregular heart rate, and insulin-dependent diabetes.

Excessive amounts of iron are especially common in pregnant women.A recent study by a group of doctors in India showed that excessive iron intake in healthy women who do not suffer from anemia can lead to problems such as low birth weight, premature birth, and poor baby growth during the uterus.

Why is it dangerous?

The fight of antioxidants against oxidation from the lips of representatives of pharmaceutical companies sounds like a fight between good and evil. Oxidation takes place in cell organelles called mitochondria, where the body converts food into energy – a process that requires oxygen.One of the consequences of oxidation is the generation of free radicals. They can damage DNA, cell membranes and the lining of the arteries; unsurprisingly, they’ve been linked to aging, cancer, and heart disease.

To neutralize free radicals, the body produces antioxidants. Antioxidants can also be obtained from fruits and vegetables, especially selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E. Some studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower incidences of cancer and heart disease and live longer.The logic is obvious. If fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, and people who eat fruits and vegetables are healthier, then those who take additional antioxidants should also be healthier. But it doesn’t work.

A likely explanation is that free radicals are not as bad as they are said to be. (In fact, humans need them to kill bacteria and destroy new cancer cells.) And when people take large doses of antioxidants in the form of extra vitamins, the balance between the production and destruction of free radicals can shift too much in one direction, causing an unnatural condition where the immune system stops working properly.Researchers call this the antioxidant paradox.

The news that any vitamin can be dangerous is very disturbing. We need to take the abuse of these chemicals much more seriously before adding them to foods on a regular basis. The billions we spend on these foods, supported by a poorly regulated but rich and powerful vitamin industry, would be worth spending on proper healthcare. And people should understand that it is much wiser to organize themselves competent nutrition, physical activity and sufficient exposure to fresh air.For most people, this lifestyle will be a guarantee of all the beneficial vitamins they will ever need.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) – deficiency and excess of vitamin, what it contains and what it is needed for.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) – deficiency and excess of the vitamin, what it contains and what it is needed for.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is very important for the health of the brain, nervous system, DNA synthesis and the formation of blood cells, it is food for the brain.Its use is key at any age.

What is vitamin B12 for?

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, plays a fundamental role in the production of red blood cells in the formation of bone marrow.

What foods contain vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is present in all animal products, albeit in small amounts. In particular, it is found in meat, fish, liver, milk and eggs.

What is the daily intake of vitamin B12?

The daily requirement for vitamin B12 is approximately 2-2.4 mcg.Women who are pregnant should consume twice the daily requirement.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

It is difficult to write down the situation with vitamin B12 can occur in people who adhere to a very strict vegetarian diet or in case of intestinal malfunction – the mechanism of absorption of the vitamin at the intestinal level does not work.
The consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency are disorders of the nervous system and a form of anemia called “noxious”, caused by poor production of blood cells.Vitamin B12 deficiency should be avoided by pregnant women to avoid harmful effects on the unborn child.

Excess vitamin B12

Usually, excess vitamin B12 is excreted in the urine. In rare cases, there may be situations of overdose of this vitamin with symptoms ranging from tremor to edema, from excessive nervousness to allergic reactions and heart palpitations.
An excess of vitamin B12 in the blood, in this case too rare, can cause kidney problems.

Is it true that those on a vegan diet are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?

There are no plants in nature that contain vitamin B12.
Some algae, brewer’s yeast and some products (legumes) and kombucha, being vegetables, contain vitamin B12, but in infinitesimal quantities that are useless for human needs, since they are not even absorbed by our body.

90,000 Vitamins of group B. Part 2

B vitamins are very important for the functioning of the central nervous system and not only.

Pixabay

We have already talked about the four “members” of the group (Vitamins of group B. Part 1). Today the second four are in turn – vitamins B6, B7, B9, B12.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Regulates the activity of the nervous system, improves digestion, normalizes liver function. In diabetes mellitus, it lowers blood sugar levels, regenerates red blood cells, increases the resistance of the immune system, participates in the synthesis of antibodies, and regulates the balance of sodium and potassium in the body.

With a lack of vitamin B6, hair loss, dandruff formation, long-term non-healing wounds, lack of appetite, sore red tongue, mouth ulcers, nausea, depression, dizziness, numbness of the extremities, drowsiness, and increased fatigue are possible.

With an excess of pyridoxine in the body, tingling and numbness are felt in the arms and legs, joint pain, muscle weakness are possible.

Vitamin B6 is found in many animal and plant foods.In greatest quantities – in the liver, kidneys, brain, meat and fish. From plant products, legumes, wheat germs, yeast are rich in them.

Vitamin B7 (biotin)

Plays a key role in the metabolism of macronutrients, lowers blood sugar, improves the condition of the skin, hair and nails. For this he is called the “vitamin of beauty”.

Signs of biotin deficiency in the body – hair loss, dandruff, dry or oily skin, anemia, depression, drowsiness, weakness, lack of appetite, nausea, muscle pain.

Sources of vitamin B7 are liver, egg yolks, crabs, sardines, dairy products, mushrooms, yeast, bananas, legumes, cabbage, carrots, nuts, bran, wheat, tomatoes, apples.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid)

Stimulates and normalizes hematopoiesis, affects the stability of the nervous system, productive mental activity, improves the functioning of the liver and gastrointestinal tract, ensures normal growth, good appetite, healthy hair.

With a deficiency of vitamin B9, anemia, depression, weakness, headache, insomnia, memory impairment, impaired growth, weight loss, indigestion, premature graying occur.

An excess of folic acid is characterized by allergic skin reactions, flatulence, lack of appetite, sleep disorder with very vivid dreams, malaise, irritability.

Sources of vitamin B9 are coarse grains, carrots, liver, tomatoes, fresh leafy vegetables, eggs.

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

Activates carbohydrate metabolism in the body, stimulates the process of hematopoiesis, increases blood clotting, lowers blood cholesterol levels, improves liver function, accelerates wound healing, regeneration, is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Lack of cyanocobalamin contributes to the occurrence of anemia, fatigue, depression, irritability, dizziness, headache, numbness of the extremities, difficulty in walking, inflammation of the oral cavity, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Signs of excess – acne on the skin.

Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as liver, kidneys, meat, brain, oysters, fish (herring, mackerel, sardines in butter, trout), as well as milk, dairy products, and egg yolk.

Vitamins of group B (except for vitamin B12) do not accumulate in the body, therefore, symptoms of hypervitaminosis rarely appear. However, when taking large amounts of B vitamins, it is still possible to develop intoxication in the form of general agitation, insomnia, increased heart rate, headache, dizziness, convulsions, sometimes fatty degeneration of the liver develops.

Each vitamin of group B performs its function, but they act most effectively in combination. And in foods, it is usually contained together. Therefore, a complete healthy diet will help you get all the necessary B vitamins at once. Incorrect nutrition usually leads to a general lack of B vitamins.

Based on materials from the site “HEALTHY FOOD” (https://zdorovoe-nutrition.rf)

Vitamin B (group of vitamins) – effects on the body, benefits and harms, description

General characteristics of vitamin B (group of vitamins)

B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play an important role in cellular metabolism and body improvement.

Vitamin B was discovered in 1912 by the scientist K. Funk. But after a while, scientists found out that this is not one compound. Vitamin B is a whole complex of substances that are united by the presence of nitrogen in the molecule. The collection of these nitrogenous substances is known as the B vitamins, each element of which is numbered from B1 to B20. Many of the vitamins of this group have not only a serial number, but also their own names.

Over time, scientists have established the exact structure of each B vitamin.As a result of research, it became clear that some of the substances called vitamins are not (calorizer). For example, B11 completely matches the formula with the amino acid L-carnitine.

The best known are 8 elements: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, biotin (B7), folic acid (B9) and vitamin B12. There are also vitamins of this group: B4, B8, B13, B15, B17.

Daily requirement of B vitamins

The daily intake of B vitamins, as a rule, differs depending on: age, occupation, season of the year, pregnancy, gender and other factors.

Each B-vitamin has its own specific daily requirement.

Food sources of B vitamins

B vitamins are found in the following foods: whole grains, meat products, eggs, potatoes, pasta, white bread, brewer’s yeast, nuts, green leafy vegetables, liver and many others.

Useful properties of B vitamins

Each vitamin has its own biological value. All vitamins of this group ensure the normal functioning of the nervous system and are responsible for energy metabolism, maintain the digestive system in a normal state, increase resistance to stress, and help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Considering the ability of B-vitamins to reduce the effect of stress, they are useful and necessary for every person, and for athletes they are indispensable. They also complement well the treatment of anemia, neurological and psychiatric history.

B vitamins work more effectively together than the work of each B vitamin separately.

The activity of the immune system and the efficiency of the processes of growth and reproduction of cells also largely depend on the presence of B vitamins.

Deficiency of B vitamins

Lack of vitamins of this group leads to a violation of the nervous system, insomnia, the condition of the skin worsens (itching, burning sensation, goose bumps, dryness), muscle atrophy, numbness of arms and legs, muscle inflammation, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations at the slightest physical stress, lack of appetite, early skin aging, enlarged liver, hair loss (calorizator). Also, with a lack of vitamins of this complex, photosensitivity, increased fatigue, and dizziness appear.

Excess B vitamins in the body

Group B hypervitaminosis (excess of vitamins) is very dangerous. When excessive doses are used, intoxication of the human body develops. Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 can cause liver dystrophy. B6 and B12 are the most toxic. B1, B2, B6 and B12, when oversupplied, cause allergic reactions.

An excess of B-vitamins has similar symptoms as with its deficiency:

  • Skin redness
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Stool disorder, abdominal pain
  • Skin tingling sensation and hypersensitivity
  • Sleep disorders (insomnia)
  • Cramps in the calf muscles

Each vitamin from group B can cause symptoms of hypervitaminosis characteristic only for this.

Harmful properties of B vitamins

Vitamins of group B should be taken only as part of a complex, since long-term use of certain vitamins of this group in large quantities can cause a disease caused by a lack of other vitamins.

Important! When B vitamins are consumed, urine turns dark yellow and has a specific odor.

Below are all the vitamins of group B, you can enter each one and read more about it.

Vitamin B Vitamin functions Food source
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) Participates in the processing of fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy Buckwheat, oatmeal, wholemeal bread, green peas
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Indispensable in all types of metabolic processes of the body, normalizes the condition of the skin, visual functions, mucous membranes, participates in the process of hemoglobin synthesis Dairy products, eggs, yeast, liver meat, cabbage of all kinds, buckwheat, pasta, white bread.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin, nicotinic acid, PP vitamin) Synthesizes proteins and fats, releases energy from all potassium-containing nutrients Yeast, nuts, liver, fish, milk, egg yolk, legumes, buckwheat, green vegetables
Vitamin B4 (Choline) Reduces blood sugar, protects cell membranes from destruction and damage, has soothing properties, normalizes fat metabolism and helps weight loss Egg yolk, liver, kidneys, cottage cheese, cheese, unrefined vegetable oils, legumes, cabbage, spinach
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid, calcium pantothenate) Participates in the formation of “good” cholesterol, releases food energy Poultry, liver, green peas, buckwheat, oatmeal, green vegetables, fish roe, hazelnuts
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Regulates the activity of the nervous system, participates in the regeneration of erythrocytes, carbohydrate metabolism, hemoglobin synthesis, promotes the formation of antibodies Potatoes, hazelnuts, walnuts, spinach, carrots, cabbage, legumes, cereals, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, dairy products, meat, liver, fish
Vitamin B7 (Biotin, vitamin H, coenzyme R) Essential for healthy skin and hair, contributes to the health of sweat glands, nerves and bone marrow Yeast, tomatoes, spinach, soy, egg yolk, mushrooms, liver, kidneys
Vitamin B8 (Inositol, Inositol, Inositol Droretinol) Promotes weight loss, regulates cholesterol levels, prevents the development of atherosclerosis, stimulates brain activity Brewer’s yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, beef heart, oranges, green peas, brains, regular flour bread
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid, vitamin M) With its help, nucleic acid is formed and cell division occurs, erythrocytes are formed Green leafy vegetables, honey, citrus fruits, legumes, yeast, wholemeal flour, liver
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Helps the formation of red blood cells, promotes the growth and activity of the nervous system Contained only in animal products (meat, liver, eggs)
Vitamin B13 (Orotic acid, uracilcarboxylic acid) Improves reproductive health, has a beneficial effect on the development of the fetus during pregnancy, normalizes liver function Root vegetables, whey, liquid part of sour or curdled milk
Vitamin B15 (Pangamic acid, calcium pangamate) Improves lipid metabolism, lowers blood cholesterol, increases oxygen uptake by tissues, eliminates hypoxia, accelerates recovery processes, increases cell life, protects the liver from cirrhosis Plant seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), brewer’s yeast, whole brown rice, whole grains, melon, watermelon, apricot seeds, nuts, liver, blood
Vitamin B17 (Laetral) Has analgesic properties, improves metabolism, relieves hypertension, arthritis and slows down the aging process Pits of apricots, apples, cherries, peaches, plums

For more information about B vitamins, see the video by Galina Borisovna Kozmina, a general practitioner, entitled “Deficiency of B vitamins is a problem of the 21st century.Lecture number 2 “

Author: Marina L. (specially for Calorizator.ru)
Copying of this article in whole or in part is prohibited.

Vitamin B6 – State Unitary Enterprise of the Chuvash Republic “Pharmacy” of the Ministry of Health of Chuvashia

Vitamin B6

19 facts about pyridoxine – its functions in the body, indications for use and compatibility with drugs

Vitamin B6 is a substance “without any special signs”. The majority of the population does not associate its name with anything significant.Doctors know it as pyridoxine. However, the activity of this vitamin in the body can be compared with the work of a very good and very modest deputy: it participates in almost everything (and not in the last roles), and when it is absent, processes in different parts of the body can “collapse”. This “modest” vitamin is abused for a long time, but if symptoms of an overdose appear, then you will have to suffer for months.

  • By vitamin B6 is meant three pyridine derivatives: pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.In the body, their active forms in the form of phosphates can pass one into another, but pyridoxal phosphate remains the main one. This water-soluble vitamin is easily absorbed by the body in the small intestine by ordinary diffusion, the excess is excreted in the urine in half a day.
  • B6 is unpretentious: it is stored for months in products, and a small proportion of the substance is lost during cooking. At the same time, the sun’s rays and various methods of sterilization and preservation are destructive for him [1, 2].
  • Pyridoxine phosphate and pyridoxal phosphate are part of many enzymes; more than 140 reactions in the body directly depend on them.
  • B6 is the only vitamin involved in the metabolism of all three macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates). Especially important for amino acid metabolism. It is directly or indirectly required for the synthesis of adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, GABA, histamine, methionine, arachidonic acid, heme, nicotinic acid and many other useful substances and compounds [2, 3].
  • The recommended daily intake for an adult is 1.3–2 mg. It is not difficult to get it simply by eating abundantly: most non-canned foods contain some amount of this vitamin. Separately, the norm will cover about 200 g of beef liver, 300 g of walnuts, five bananas, 600 g of meat, 900 g of potatoes or 1.5-3 kg of white bread. On the other hand, excess fatty and fried foods make it difficult for vitamin B6 to be absorbed [1, 4].
  • Some lucky ones do not even need to overeat too much: intestinal microflora can produce up to 50-80% of the vitamin B6 norm.But for this, it must have an appropriate composition, which, in turn, is highly dependent on the same food. A lot of bread, for example, “own production” of pyridoxine will bring to naught [5].
  • The main causes of B6 hypovitaminosis: insufficient or inadequate nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, pregnancy, inflammatory diseases of the small intestine, chronic renal failure, prolonged hemodialysis, autoimmune diseases. In breastfed babies – a lack of vitamin in the mother for the reasons listed above.The absorption of pyridoxine is reduced in the elderly [1, 3].
  • The listed conditions also have a bad effect on the metabolism of other vitamins, therefore, isolated hypovitaminosis B6 is rare – as a rule, it is accompanied by a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12. In addition, B6 hypovitaminosis itself leads to a deficiency of niacin [3].
  • Increases the risk of hypovitaminosis B6 taking the anti-tuberculosis drugs isoniazid, pyrazinamide and cycloserine, the antihypertensive drug hydralazine, the immunosuppressant penicillamine, oral contraceptives, theophylline, as well as antiepileptic drugs – valproic acid, carbamazepine and phenytoamazepine.
  • Since vitamin B6 is involved in the production of the main inhibitory neurotransmitter (GABA) from excitatory (glutamate), antiepileptic drugs due to vitamin B6 hypovitaminosis can potentially increase the risk of seizure activity and reduce the effectiveness of anticonvulsant therapy.
  • Taking vitamin B6 itself reduces the activity of levodopa and, according to some reports, phenobarbital [1, 4, 6].
  • Symptoms of B6 hypovitaminosis are nonspecific, occur in random order and do not always suggest a lack of this vitamin: weakness, irritability, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, loose stools, various dermatitis and stomatitis, as well as glossitis, abdominal discomfort and venous thrombosis.In advanced cases, hypochromic microcytic anemia and generalized seizures, which do not differ from status epilepticus. Pregnant women have toxicosis. In infants – weight retention, hypochromic anemia, irritability, convulsions [1, 6].
  • Neurological symptoms can help to suspect vitamin B6 deficiency – with sufficient qualifications of the doctor. In the early stages, this is bilateral numbness of the distal parts of the arms and legs, with persisting pyridoxine deficiency, progressing to “burning” paresthesia.Then limb weakness develops, vibration sensitivity and proprioception (the sensation of body parts relative to each other, – ed.) Are disturbed, while pain and temperature sensitivity is preserved, gait and coordination suffer, and convulsions occur. A small and not always pleasant compensation for the listed suffering can be increased hearing [1, 3, 4, 6].
  • Vitamin is available in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride in tablets of 1, 2, 5 and 10 mg and in the form of a solution for injection of 10 and 50 mg.In addition, it is part of most vitamin complexes. They also like to enrich various breakfast cereals and other healthy foods with pyridoxine.
  • Vitamin B6 in a daily dose of 10–50 mg has been successfully used in the treatment of vitamin B6 deficiency and related clinical conditions, for example, anemia (up to 600 mg / day), dermatitis or seizures when taking isoniazid. With variable but proven success – for the control of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women (30-100 mg / day, divided into three to four doses), as well as PMS (80-500 mg / day).
  • In addition, the drug can be prescribed for dozens of other diseases of the skin, mucous membranes and all internal organs. In reasonable doses, most likely, there will be no harm from it.
  • Vitamin B6, together with vitamin B12 and folic acid, is involved in controlling the level of homocysteine, an amino acid that occurs during the metabolism of methionine. Homocysteine ​​damages the inner walls of arteries, which contributes to the development of blood clots and atherosclerosis, as a result, the risk increases and worsens the course of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia, placental insufficiency.In our country, some doctors like to pay increased attention to controlling the level of homocysteine ​​when planning pregnancy, in some cases limiting themselves only to prescribing folic acid, and forgetting about other participants in the reaction. The norm of vitamin B6 for pregnant and lactating women is 5 mg / day, the upper permissible limit of the norm is 80-100 mg / day. No teratogenic effect has been described [1, 4, 6].
  • Vitamin B6 is generally tolerant of abuse. It is impossible to overeat it with food. But long-term use in the form of a drug at a dose of 1-6 g / day for 1-3 years can cause severe progressive sensory neuropathy with ataxia (the same as with hypovitaminosis B6), painful dermatitis, photosensitization, nausea, heart pain …After stopping the intake, the symptoms will regress over several months or even years. Single cases of neurotoxic effects development have been described when taking 300-500 mg / day [1, 4].
  • Vitamin B6 is used in emergency medicine for mushroom poisoning with stitches and rocket fuel, more often when taking both of them inside, but you can breathe in the miasma of stitches while cooking. The lines contain the toxin gyromitrin, which is converted in the body into monomethylhydrazine (contained in rocket fuel).The latter, like isoniazid, inhibits the production of pyridoxal phosphate. Clinics of acute poisoning include gastroenteritis, hemolysis, methemoglobinemia, acute liver and kidney damage, seizures, and coma. In addition to resuscitation and detoxification measures, pyridoxine preparations are injected intravenously at a dose of 25 mg / kg body weight [6, 7].

Sources

  1. Razumov AS Biochemical and clinical aspects of modern vitaminology. Textbook // KemSMA. – 2013 .– S.109-114.
  2. Zempleni J., Rucker R. B., McCormick D. B., Suttie J. W., editors. Handbook of Vitamins. 4th ed. CRC Press; Boca Raton, FL, USA: 2007. P. 315-360.
  3. Brown M. J., Beier K. Vitamin B6 Deficiency (Pyridoxine). StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470579/
  4. Vitamin B6. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  5. Magnúsdóttir S., Ravcheev D., de Crécy-Lagard V, Thiele I.