B Supplements – Why Most Don’t Work & How to Find a Good One
Vitamin B Supplements are one of the least understood despite being one of the most common and popular nutritional supplements. Nevertheless, these synergistic vitamins are essential in maintaining a high quality of life, health, and vitality.
You’ve likely heard the common advice “Biotin will make your hair and nails stronger” and “B12 will give you energy”, but these general statements are missing key pieces of information. Thus, countless people waste money on products that can’t deliver the true benefits of B vitamin supplements.
The synergistic relationships between the B-vitamins mean supplementing with just one will not likely provide the desired result. Therefore, the best way to supplement them is with the entire B-complex.
More often than not, when we are deficient in one B-vitamin, we are also deficient in at least one other. You’ll notice further into this article that many B-vitamins share deficiency symptoms as well as benefits.
Synthetic Vitamin = Double Trouble
Most B vitamin supplements sold today are synthetic because synthetic forms are cheap to produce. Thus, they can be sold at low prices that appeal to the average consumer. But in most cases, consumers don’t realize there is a difference and figure one vitamin is as good as any other.
Generally speaking, there are two main flaws in synthetic vitamin supplementation:
- Surprisingly, an estimated 45-50% of the population now have MTHFR genetic mutations. These mutations reduce the efficacy of vitamin supplementation when using synthetic forms.
- Even if your body can convert these vitamins, that conversion uses other nutritional resources.
Given that those with MTHFR genetic mutations struggle with the conversion of synthetic vitamins, their bodies simple don’t know what to do with them. The immune system then marks them as toxins and systematically removes them from the body. Consequently, we waste money and begin to feel sluggish as our natural detox processes become overloaded.
On the other hand, if we can convert synthetic vitamins, our bodies have to pull resources from other processes to complete the conversion. Consider the phrase “you have to spend money to make money”. Except in this case “our money” refers to our existing vitamin, mineral, and energy resources. As a result, our bodies have insufficient resources to complete the other biological processes effectively. As a result, people start thinking b vitamin supplements just don’t work!
Biologically active vitamins may have a higher price tag, but they are effective.
No conversions, no toxic buildup, no stolen or wasted resources. Only pure, effective supplementation. Just as nature intended.
B Vitamin Deficiency
Today, people from all walks of life are experiencing B vitamin deficiencies. Common causes of B vitamin deficiency include:
- Chronic Stress
- Impaired Absorption
- Vegetarian & Vegan Diets
- Old Age
- MTHFR Gene Mutations
- Poor Diet
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption
- Certain Medications
In Mother Earth Labs’ Bioactive B-Complex, you’ll receive a balanced profile that includes dual forms of Folate and Cobalamin, name-brand ingredients with scientific backing, and important cofactors to support absorption and cellular utilization.
Common Deficiency Symptoms
Everyone experiences B vitamin deficiencies differently, but some of the more common symptoms are:
- Poor Digestion
- Mood Disturbances
- Reduced Brain Function & Memory
- Brittle Nails or Thinning Hair
- Numbness, Tingling, & Muscle Weakness
- Changes in Cardiac Rhythm
B1 Thiamine / Benfotiamine
B1 support energy metabolism, the growth and function of cells, and the metabolism of glucose, amino acids, and lipids.
Our Bioactive B-Complex features BenfoPure® Benfotiamine that has been extensively studied and prescribed as a pharmaceutical by doctors in Europe to treat diabetes, inflammation and the management of diabetic damage such as peripheral neuropathy by activating an enzyme responsible for protecting blood vessels and nerve cells from glucose-derived compounds.
This form has also shown to reduce advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) by 40%. AGEs contribute to the development and worsening of several degenerative diseases including diabetes, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Further, this reduction appears to benefit individuals with type 2 diabetes by helping to prevent vascular endothelial dysfunction.
The need for thiamine increases with the use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, certain medications, high carbohydrate consumption, and heavy alcohol or caffeine use. Common deficiency symptoms include fatigue, irritability, poor coordination, general weakness, and digestive disturbances.
B2 Riboflavin 5′-Phosphate
Riboflavin has many important jobs in the body including:
- helping to maintain the body’s energy supply
- supporting the activation of vitamin B6
- the conversion of tryptophan to niacin and folate to folate’s various active forms
- supporting the metabolism of fats and glucose
- red blood cells synthesis
- promoting healthy methylation
- producing and regulating certain hormones
- helps maintain & improve digestive mucous membranes that protect intestinal tissues
- supports iron absorption
- promotes oxygen use throughout the body
The key to effective vitamin B2 is having it in its active coenzyme form, riboflavin 5′-phosphate (R5P).
Poor absorption, antibiotics, certain medications, alcohol, strenuous exercise, and oral contraceptives all contribute to an increased need for Riboflavin. Common deficiency symptoms include eye disorders, poor digestion, hair loss, mouth sores and inflammation of the tongue.
B3 NADH (bioactive niacin)
Vitamin B3 is commonly seen as niacin. However, the body always converts niacin into the coenzyme Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) to use in over 400 enzyme reactions in the body. NAD supports:
- healthy circulation
- adequate stomach acid levels
- mental stability and function
- digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
- healthy cholesterol & triglyceride levels
- reduced oxidative stress
- reduced inflammation
Our Bioactive B-Complex incorporates the reduced form of niacin called NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide + hydrogen) under the branded name PANMOL®. PANMOL® NADH is able to maintain its potency and effectiveness thanks to a protective coating made from chlorophyll, beeswax, and plant fats.
Common deficiency symptoms include depression, fatigue, headaches, canker sores, and diarrhea.
Our bodies use pyridoxine in over 150 functions and enzyme processes. However, most B vitamin supplements use synthetic pyridoxine hydrochloride for B6. Thus, this synthetic form must be converted by the liver into the naturally bioactive form, Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate (P5P). On the other hand, supplementing with P5P skips this conversion step and goes to work right away.
Vitamin B6 does a lot for our bodies including:
- helping to increase physical & mental energy
- supporting hemoglobin production
- supporting improved neuron communication
- promoting increased focus & memory
- reducing stress and supporting motivation & positive mood
- supporting reduced homocysteine levels
- supporting normal stomach acid production
- promoting electrolyte balance
- assisting with antibody production
- supporting RNA & DNA synthesis
Those most at risk for vitamin B6 deficiency have liver, kidney, or digestive diseases, use tobacco and/or alcohol, or are pregnant. Common deficiency symptoms include anemia, headaches, nausea, depression and other mood disturbances, difficulty learning and forming memories, and fatigue.
Folate is vitally important for health and wellbeing.
- involved in protein metabolism
- helps with depression & anxiety
- helps manage homocysteine levels
- supports RNA/DNA synthesis
- helps regulate fetal nerve cell function
- helps prevent premature birth
The most used form of Folate in supplements and fortified foods is Folic Acid. Folic Acid is synthetic form of folate that our bodies do not easily process. Nevertheless, it must be converted by the liver into L-5-Methyltetrehydrofolate (L-5-MTHF) before it can be used. Unfortunately, this conversion takes a considerable amount of time, if it can be done at all. Since our bodies only hold onto water soluble vitamins like folic acid for a limited time before removing it, the conversion process leads to a lot of waste. Moreover, it should be noted that the detection of unmetabolized folic acid in blood has been associated with increased cancer risk and hidden B12 deficiencies. B vitamin supplements that provide folate as L-5-MTHF skip these pitfalls and readily support over 200 enzymatic reactions.
Folinic acid, commonly seen under the prescription name “leucovorin”, is another bioactive form of folate. It is often preferred in clinical settings because it has shown to be effective in individuals with MTHFR mutations.
Our Super-Potency B-Complex includes both Metafolin® L-5-MTHF and folinic acid. Since Metafolin® is the only form shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, it effectively supports the central nervous system without masking B12 deficiencies.
Aside from conversion and absorption issues, common causes of deficiency include malnutrition, oral contraceptives, and alcohol use. The most notable deficiency symptoms are anemia, digestive disturbances, fatigue, memory problems, birth defects, and emotional imbalance.
Vitamin B12 is the most familiar B vitamin, but it is not well understood by consumers. B12 is an essential vitamin that:
- promotes red blood cell formation
- helps reduce the risk of anemia
- helps protect against mental decline
- supports emotional wellbeing
- encourages natural energy production
- supports heart health
- helps reduce homocysteine levels
The form most often encountered in fortified foods and supplements is the synthetic form cyanocobalamin. Consequently, as a synthetic, our bodies must convert cyanocobalamin into one of 2 cell-ready, bioactive forms: Methylcobalamin or Adenosylcobalamin. Once again, wasting existing nutritional resources and relying on the ability to convert synthetic vitamins.
- Methylcobalamin is the second most common form in supplements. This natural, bioactive form of B12 supports DNA/RNA production, liver health, detoxification, neurotransmitter production and regulation, cellular energy, and the metabolism of fats, estrogen, and histamine.
- Adenosylcobalamin is rarely found in supplements, but its importance cannot be overlooked. During the Krebs Cycle, our bodies use this form is directly to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Our bodies run on ATP cellular energy.
Those most at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency are individuals with MTHFR gene mutations, impaired absorption, vegetarian and vegan diets, chronic stress, and those taking certain medications such as anticoagulants, antigout, and potassium supplements. Common deficiency symptoms are chronic fatigue, irritability and mood disorders, migraines, memory loss and other neurological problems, and digestive disorders.
B5 Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic Acid, also known as pantothenate, is essential in numerous biochemical processes including:
- the conversion of food into energy
- the production of red blood cells and hormones
- wound healing
- regulating cholesterol levels
- regulating inflammation responses
- supporting healthy nerve function
- supporting memory and learning
Our Bioactive B-Complex features Pantesin® Pantethine. Specifically, this pharmaceutical-grade, active form of pantothenic acid has a high bioavailability with extensive scientific backing in helping to improve cholesterol and triglyceride.
Deficiencies in Pathethine, although rare, are known to cause adrenal gland atrophy, fatigue, headaches, and sleep disturbances. Those most at risk of a B5 deficiency include alcoholics and the malnourished. Impaired digestion and oral contraceptives can also reduce the amount of B5 absorbed from foods and supplements.
Biotin is known to help strengthen hair and promote healthy skin. Named for “Haar und Haut”, German for “hair and skin”, Biotin was originally called vitamin “H” when hair loss and inflamed skin were recognized as deficiency symptoms for a previously unknown vitamin. Biotin is also used in the creation of energy from fats and carbohydrates, cell growth and repair, and protein synthesis.
While biotin can be produced by beneficial bacteria within the GI tract, modern diets can alter the bacterial balance and lead to reduced biotin production. This leaves us reliant on food and supplements for our biotin needs. Unfortunately, the nutritional value of our crops have been declining over the last century due to poor farming practices making food a less reliable source. (What is happening to our foods?)
Those most at risk of a Biotin deficiency include individuals with poor absorption, certain drugs such as antibiotics and anti-seizure medications, and genetic mutations that lead to Biotinidase deficiency (BTD). Deficiency symptoms include brittle or thinning hair, dry skin and eyes, depression, nausea, and insomnia.
The difference when taking a high-quality bioactive b-complex is unmistakable.
Experience it for yourself today!
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