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B Good to Yourself

By James Barber M.D.
Cosmetic Surgery Expert
Updated: September 10, 2008
Vitamin B complex is a set of 12 water-soluble substances. Four of these are synthesized by the body in adequate amounts, the other eight need to be a part of our daily diet or supplemental regiment. These eight, which you have probably read on a "Nutrition Facts" label, include: Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), Folic Acid (B9), and Cobalamin (B12). The reason some numbers are skipped (i.e. - B4, B8…) is because those substances were very similar to the listed ones or were found to be non-vitamins. You should also note that Biotin (B7) is not always included in substances that claim to be "B complex".

As a group, B complex vitamins perform a host of helpful functions in our bodies. They cover nerve cells, protecting us from a multitude of neurological symptoms. The team also decreases our homocysteine levels, which have a strong correlation with heart disease. In addition, B complex can support our immune functioning, help us maintain healthy red blood cells, regulate cell growth, aid in hormone production, and even have a role in cancer prevention. Externally, this group of vitamins can assist us in looking our best with healthy hair, nails, and skin.
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Each of the individual substances in B complex also has its own special properties that allow it to help our body independently of its partners. Niacin, for instance, can help us balance our HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol. It can also help to prevent juvenile diabetes and some of the cramping associated with decreased blood flow in osteoarthritis sufferers. Pyridoxine stimulates typtophan formation, leading to an increase in serotonin levels. If you remember from previous talks, serotonin gives us a sense of relaxation and curbs hunger cravings. Pyridoxine is also known for its ability to relieve the nausea women experience with morning sickness and PMS. Riboflavin is used to treat migraines, cutting both their frequency and severity, while Cobalamin aids in boosting male fertility. Finally, Folic Acid has made news for reducing the odds of colon and cervical cancer among certain risk groups.

Forever Facts:

• A study at Yale has shown that males who stay away from veggies because of their bitter taste are more likely to get colon-polyps, a precursor to cancer. Fortunately, a New York company is working on a supplement that limits people's ability to taste bitterness in their diet.

• A maximum of 10% of your daily calories should come from sugars.

• According to a new University of North Carolina study, men with type-2 diabetes can reduce their susceptibility to minor infections by increasing the amount of vitamin-rich foods in their diet.

Words of Wisdom:

-"If you're going through hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill
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