Nature's Life - B-100 High Folic Acid - 100 Capsules
Nature's Life B-100 High Folic Acid B vitamins are critical as coenzymes for energy production and are essential to maintain healthy nerves, skin and heart.
The B-vitamin family contains diverse members necessary for healthy functioning of almost all body processes, which is why they are “essential” nutrients. The actions of the B vitamins cover everything from energy production in the body, to maintaining blood vessels to hormone metabolism. Most B vitamins work together and, in many cases, provide the greatest benefit when supplemented together.
The Overlooked Work Horses: Vitamins B-1 and B-2
Not as well known as some B vitamins, Thiamin (B-1) and Riboflavin (B-2) are essential to good health. Both are critical for normal energy production in human cells.
Deficiency of vitamin B-1, known as beriberi, has wide-ranging symptoms including weakness, confusion, heart damage, and loss of balance. Clearly vitamin B-1 is essential for many body functions. Though beriberi is rare in the U.S. today, marginal or near-deficiency may be rampant. The typical healthy adult gets between 1.05 and 1.75 mg per day (compared to the Reference Daily Intake [RDI] of 1.5 mg per day). Near-deficiency is particularly common among the elderly and has been shown to lead to disturbances in the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
Vitamin B-1 was also linked to the health of the nervous system in another study: healthy women who took vitamin B-1 were shown to be more clear-headed and energetic as well as having faster reaction times.
Vitamin B-2 is necessary for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and several of the other B vitamins. Higher doses can help protect normal blood flow to the brain. The elderly and the poor have a high rate of marginal deficiency of this vitamin. It is unknown to what extent other people may have insufficient intake of vitamin B-2. The RDI is 1.7 mg per day.
Multipurpose Vitamin B-6
One of the most multifaceted nutrients may be vitamin B-6 (or pyridoxine). This vitamin is a component of a large number of enzymes; therefore almost every body system relies on it for optimal function. Some important enzymes that require vitamin B-6 are responsible for amino acid (protein) metabolism, formation of essential fatty acids, and formation of some neurotransmitters.
Significant research has shown that vitamin B-6 is beneficial for maintaining nerve health, hormonal balance in pre-menstrual women, and kidney activity. There is also evidence showing that vitamin B-6 supports healthy lung function. It is said to work together with magnesium, particularly by improving magnesium absorption into cells. However, this potent vitamin should not be taken in amounts over 200 mg per day for more than a few days without consulting a doctor since it has been shown to cause temporary nerve problems. Additionally, high doses of vitamin B-6 supplements could interfere with normal milk production of breast-feeding women. This supplement has been shown to be safe during pregnancy, however.
The “Hearty” Bs : Folic Acid and Vitamin B-12
Though known to doctors of natural medicine for years, one of the biggest nutritional news stories of the decade is that folic acid, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 are critical for a healthy cardiovascular system. High levels of the natural but toxic amino acid homocysteine cause damage to the blood vessels. Getting enough folic acid, vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B-6 helps maintain normal homocysteine metabolism. Nature's Life has developed a Homocysteine Formula with enough B-12, folic acid and B-6 to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Deficiency of any of these vitamins has long been known to cause a type of anemia in which the red blood cells become enlarged. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is also related to nerve and mental problems. People who are vitamin B-12 deficient and take 1,000 mcg (1 mg) of folic acid, or more, per day will show an improvement in anemia but no improvement in nervous system damage. Subclinical or marginal vitamin B-12 deficiency is fairly common, particularly among the elderly. B-12 deficiencies have been associated with difficulties in thinking, poor memory, low energy, low stomach acid and high homocysteine levels. Low levels may also lead to a weakened immune system. It has been speculated that high doses of folic acid (> 1 mg) mask proper diagnosis of B-12 deficiency, increasing the risk of permanent nerve damage.
Women who consume healthful diets and adequate amounts of folic acid daily throughout their childbearing years may reduce their risk of having a child with a neural tube defect. Such birth defects, while not widespread, are very serious. They can have many causes. Adequate amounts of folic acid can be obtained from diets rich in fruits, dark green leafy vegetables and legumes, fortified grains and cereals, or a supplement. Folic acid consumption should be limited to 1,000 mcg per day from all sources, according to the FDA.
Other Essential Bs : Choline & Biotin
Choline facilitates the movement of fats in and out of cells. Because of this, it is essential for the health of the kidneys and liver. Choline can be synthesized in the body, and is the major component of phosphatidyl choline. There is no RDI for it, but many multiple vitamin formulas contain a small amount. Choline, as a constituent of lecithin, also plays a part in neural health. As people age, the circulation of choline to the brain may be reduced, therefore supplementation is recommended.
Biotin is needed for metabolism of amino acids, fats and carbohydrates. People fed diets in which they could not absorb biotin led to deficiency symptoms including loss of appetite, nausea, swelling of the tongue, skin rash, hair loss, elevated cholesterol levels and depression. Though normal bacteria in the intestines make biotin, sufficient dietary intake is still necessary for optimal health. Maintaining healthy fingernails has been shown to be particularly dependent on biotin.
Non-Essential B Vitamins
Other substances unofficially categorized as B vitamins are para-amino benzoic acid (PABA) and pantothenic acid (“vitamin B-5”). None of these has been nearly as extensively investigated as the vitamins mentioned above, although they are beneficial.
PABA is best known as the key ingredient in topical sunscreens as it helps block ultraviolet light damage to the skin. It is considered useful for maintaining normal collagen production and immune function by some doctors of natural medicine, but this has yet to be proven.
Low pantothenic acid levels rarely occur, but are associated with fatigue, as pantothenic acid acts primarily as part of a carrier molecule known as coenzyme A in the body. This carrier is necessary for generation of energy from carbohydrates, making some hormones and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and for metabolism of fats. Pantothenic acid is needed to support the adrenal glands in particular. This critical support for the adrenal gland as it responds to stress is what makes pantothenic acid so important.
The Importance of Combining: B Vitamins
The key factor of the B vitamin family is their complex interdependence, which takes two main forms. First, some B vitamins require other B vitamins for synthesis or activation. An example would be the synthesis of vitamin B-3 from the amino acid tryptophan, which requires vitamin B-2. Vitamin B-2 is also needed to turn vitamin B-6 into its active form in the body.
Second, the potential downside of high dose B vitamins are offset by other B vitamins. A good example of this is the fact that niacin may actually elevate homocysteine levels if taken alone but not when combined in a B complex. The ability of niacin to maintain normal cholesterol levels, combined with the ability of folic acid, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 to modulate homocysteine levels, provides a better approach than using them separately to maintain cardiovascular health. The body has little trouble getting rid of excess B vitamins because they are water-soluble, and thus B vitamins in general have almost no adverse side effects.
Nature's Life B Vitamins
The water-soluble B vitamins are crucial for health maintenance. Every system in the body is affected by them, especially if there is inadequate dietary intake.
Some of the more important functions of B-complex nutrients include maintaining healthy nerves, providing energy, metabolizing coenzymes, fats and proteins, and supporting the health of skin, eyes and hair. Due to their inter-dependent relationships, B vitamins are best when supplemented together. Nature's Life has developed different B-complex formulas in both tablets and capsules to offer the greatest benefits. All products are supported by peer-reviewed, controlled, human research. In addition to our formulas, we offer the essential B vitamins as individual supplements to best meet your needs.
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