Why B-12, B-6 and Folic Acid Is So Important To Us
VITAMIN B-12 (CYANOCOBALAMIN)
Vitamin B-12 is needed to prevent anemia. It aids folic acid in regulating the formation of red blood cells, and helps in the utilization of iron. This vitamin is also required for proper digestion, absorption of foods, the synthesis of protein, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It aids in cell formation and cellular longevity.
In addition, vitamin B-12 prevents nerve damage, maintains fertility, and promotes normal growth and development by maintaining the fatty sheaths that cover and protect nerve endings. Vitamin B-12 is linked to the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that assists memory and learning.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can be caused by malabsorption, which is most common in elderly people and in those with digestive disorders. Deficiency can cause abnormal gait, chronic fatigue, constipation, depression, digestive disorders, dizziness, drowsiness, enlargement of the liver, eye disorder, hallucinations, headaches, inflammation of the tongue, irritability, labored breathing, memory loss, moodiness, nervousness, neurological damage, palpitations, pernicious anemia, ringing in the ears, and spinal cord degeneration.
Strict vegetarians must remember that they require vitamin B-12 supplementation, as this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal tissues. Because the body can store up to five year worth of vitamin B-12, people adopting a strictly vegetarian diet may not see signs of the deficiency for some time.
VITAMINE B-6 (PYRIDOXINE)
Pyridoxine is involved in more bodily functions than almost any other single nutrient. It affects both physical and mental health. It is beneficial if you suffer from water retention, and is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid and the absorption of fats and protein.
Pyridoxine also aids in maintaining sodium and potassium balance, and promotes red blood cell formation. It is required by the nervous system, and is needed for normal brain function and for the synthesis of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA, which contain the genetic instructions for the reproduction of all cells and for normal cellular growth. It activates many enzymes and aids in the absorption of vitamin B-12, in immune system function, and in antibody production.
Vitamin B-6 plays a role in cancer immunity and aids in the prevention of arteriosclerosis. It inhibits the formation of a toxic chemical called homocysteine, which attacks the heart muscle and allows the deposition of cholesterol around the heart muscle.
Pyridoxine acts as a mild diuretic, reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and it may be useful in preventing oxalate kidney stones as well. It is helpful in the treatment of allergies, arthritis, and asthma.
A deficiency of vitamin B-6 may be recognized by anemia, convulsions, headaches, nausea, flaky skin, a sore tongue, and vomiting. Other possible signs of deficiency include acne, anorexia, arthritis, conjunctivitis, cracks or sores on the mouth and lips, depression, dizziness, fatigue, hyper-irritability, impaired wound healing, inflammation of the mouth and gums, learning difficulties, weak memory, hair loss, hearing problems, numbness, oily facial skin, stunted growth, and tingling sensations. Carpal tunnel syndrome has been linked to a deficiency of vitamin B6 as well.
Considered a brain food, folic acid is needed for energy production and the formation of red blood cells. It also strengthens immunity by aiding in the proper formation and functioning of white blood cells. Because it functions as a coenzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis, it is important for healthy cell division and replication. It is involved in protein metabolism, and has been used in prevention and treatment of folic acid anemia.
This nutrient may also help depression and anxiety. It may be effective in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia.
Folic acid is very important in pregnancy. It helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, which is vital for normal development. Studies have shown that a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid in early pregnancy may prevent the vast majority of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. It may also help prevent premature birth. To be effective, this regimen must begin before conception and continue for at least the first three months of pregnancy. If a woman waits until she knows she is pregnant, it may be too late, because critical events in fetal development occur during the first six weeks before most women know they have conceived. This is why many experts recommend that every woman of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement daily as a matter of course. Folic acid works best when combined with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C.
A sore, red tongue is one sign of folic acid deficiency. Other possible signs include anemia, apathy, digestive disturbances, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, insomnia, labored breathing, memory problems, paranoia, weakness, and birth defects in ones offspring. Folic acid deficiency may be caused by inadequate consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables; consumption of only cooked or micro waved vegetables (cooking destroys folic acid); and malabsorption problems.