Health Hotline Magazine | October 2022

Could You Be Insu cient In The B Vitamins? Before modern agriculture, our diets were comprised of fruits and veggies, fresh fish and meat, and a few whole grains, supplying an abundant supply of B vitamins. Our modern, over-processed, micronutrient-depleted diets simply don’t provide optimal amounts of any of the B vitamins (or other nutrients, for that matter). Eating a diet high in processed carbohydrates also burns through reserves of B vitamins quickly, since they are required to metabolize carbs; enriching processed foods with B vitamins doesn’t do the trick either, as any added B vitamins will quickly be used by the body to metabolize those enriched grains. Poor dietary habits and factors such as chronic stress, excessive alcohol consumption, medication use (both prescription and OTC), and age can all lead to insu cient levels of the B vitamins, requiring us to supplement with a B-complex to ensure we get balanced and optimal amounts of all of these crucially important vitamins. When you support your best health with the B’s, these are some of the benefits you can expect. Be Smart And Be Focused Optimal amounts of the B vitamins are critical for maintaining overall brain and nervous system health, and are required for the production of certain neurotransmitters as well as for the synthesis of the myelin sheath, the protective covering of our nerves, critical for healthy nerve function. They are also brain-protective: One of the dramatic consequences of a B deficiency is the interference of the natural breakdown and recycling of the amino acid homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been linked to brain atrophy (shrinkage) and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as high plasma levels can lead to a build-up of toxic 12 | Health Hotline ®

amyloid plaques. Vitamins B 12 , B 6 , and B 9 (folate) are required by the body to break down homocysteine. (Elevated homocysteine is also a factor in cardiovascular disease.) Researchers studying the brains of 732 elderly individuals with AD noted, “Vitamin B supplements, such as folate, may help prevent homocysteine-related atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease by possibly reducing homocysteine levels. These atrophy profiles may, in the future, o er a potential biomarker to gauge the e cacy of interventions using dietary folate supplementation.” A three-year-long Swedish study of 370 healthy adults 75 and over found that even those with slightly low levels of vitamin B 12 and folate had twice the risk of cognitive and memory concerns as those with normal levels. They concluded, “Monitoring serum B 12 and folate concentration in the elderly may be relevant for prevention of AD.” Another study of 107 healthy participants, ranging from 61 to 87 years old, measured the e ect of B 12 on brain volume/shrinkage over a five-year period. Findings revealed that those with higher vitamin B 12 levels were less likely to experience brain shrinkage than those with lower levels, concluding that “Low vitamin B 12 status should be further investigated as a modifiable cause of brain atrophy and of likely subsequent cognitive impairment in the elderly.”

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