on various Vitamins
you eat a healthy diet, do you need to take vitamins?
Not long ago, the answer from most experts would have been a resounding
Today, though, there's good evidence that taking a daily multivitamin
makes sense for most adults
Harvard School of Public Health.
- B2 - B3 - B5
- B6 - B12 - B9 (Folic
Acid)- C & E
" A mood-mending vitamin"
Researchers from the department of
psychology at the University of Wales in Swansea, together with
the Basel, Switzerland-based Hoffman-LaRoche pharmaceutical company,
recently put these questions to the test. One hundred twenty healthy
female college students were given thiamine, or a placebo. At the beginning
of the study all but one volunteer had normal thiamine levels as measured
by the standard erythrocyte transketolase test.
Despite their ostensibly normal nutritional status, after
two months the students who took extra thiamine more than doubled their
scores on the clear-headedness and mood subclasses of the bipolar
Profile of Mood States (POMS) psychological test. Students treated with
placebo showed no change. Those taking thiamine also increased
their quickness on a reaction-time test. Again, the placebo
group was unchanged. Finally, improvement also occurred on POMS
subscales that measured if a participant felt confident, composed or
elated. University of Wales in Swansea, together with the
Basel, Switzerland-based Hoffman-LaRoche pharmaceutical company,
When patients with evidence of thiamine deficiency
were supplemented, their behavior improved. Lonsdale
D, Shamberger R, Am J Chin Nutr 33(2):205-1 1, 1980.
• A 1957 study found that thiamine deficiency
was associated with increased hypochondriasis, depression and hysteria
scores on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test
(MMPI).Brozek J. Psychological effects of thiamine restriction and
deprivation in normal young men. Am J Clin Nutr 1957;5:109-18.
Thiamin (also spelled thiamine) is a water-soluble
B-complex vitamin, previously known as vitamin B1 or aneurine
Thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) is a required coenzyme for a small number
of very important enzymes. Thiamin deficiency affects the cardiovascular,
nervous, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems.
Reviewed by: Charles K. Singleton, Ph.D.- Professor - Department
of Biological Sciences - Vanderbilt University
Interestingly, vitamin deficiencies are commonly associated
with psychological symptoms (irritability, easy frustration,
anger, etc.) that may interfere with the normal athlete-coach
relationship, further complicating the potential for effective
athletic training. Dan Benardot, Ph.D., R.D., College of Health and
Human Sciences Atlanta, Georgia
(Vitamin B-1) is established as a circulatory enhancer and for
maintaining muscle tone of the heart, stomach and intestines.
Recent studies implicate thiamine in cognitive dysfunction.
On a group of Alzheimer's patients who were not deficient in B-1,
Mimori and colleagues at the Hiroshima University School of Medicine
in Japan found that oral supplementation of a thiamine derivative
had a mild beneficial effect on emotional as well as intellectual
functions. This is an important clue for researchers investigating
the biological origins of Alzheimer's Disease.
Riboflavin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, also known as vitamin
Oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions - Living organisms derive most
of their energy from oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions, which are
processes involving the transfer of electrons.. Flavins are critical
for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Nutrient Interactions:B-complex vitamins: Because flavoproteins are
involved in the metabolism of several other vitamins (vitamin B6, niacin,
and folic acid), severe riboflavin deficiency may impact many
enzyme systems. Iron: Riboflavin deficiency alters
Toxicity -No toxic or adverse effects of high riboflavin intake in humans
Reviewed by: Donald B. McCormick, Ph.D. F. E. Callaway Professor,
Emeritus - Department of Biochemistry - Emory University School of Medicine
B3 (Niacin ):
Supplementation may be helpful for the symptoms of hyperactivity,
deteriorating school performance, perceptual changes and inability to
acquire or maintain social relationships. Hoffer, A, Vitamin
B3 Dependent Child, Schizophrenia, 3:107-113, 1971.
is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin B3. The term niacin
refers to nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, which are both used by the
body to form the coenzymes, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)
and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phospate (NADP). Neither form
is related to the nicotine found in tobacco, although their names are
Functions:: Oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions - Living organisms
derive most of their energy from oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions,
which are processes involving the transfer of electrons. As many as
200 enzymes require the niacin coenzymes, NAD and NADP, mainly to accept
or donate electrons for redox reactions.
Deficiency: Severe deficiency result in pellagra.The most common
symptoms of niacin deficiency involve the skin, digestive system, and
the nervous system. The symptoms of pellagra were commonly
referred to as the four D's: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death.
Neurologic symptoms include headache, apathy, fatigue, depression, disorientation,
and memory loss. If untreated, pellagra is ultimately fatal. Niacin
deficiency or pellagra may result from inadequate dietary intake of
niacin and/or tryptophan.Other nutrient deficiencies may also contribute
to the development of niacin deficiency.
Reviewed by Elaine L. Jacobson, Ph.D. Professor Department of Pharmacology
and Toxicology and Arizona Cancer Center- University of Arizona
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
acid, also known as vitamin B5, is essential to all forms of life. Pantothenic
acid is found throughout living cells in the form of coenzyme A (CoA),
a vital coenzyme in numerous chemical reactions.
FUNCTION: Coenzyme A- Pantothenic acid is a component of coenzyme A
(CoA), an essential coenzyme in a variety of reactions that sustain
life. CoA is required for chemical reactions that generate energy
from food (fat, carbohydrates, and proteins). The synthesis
of essential fats, cholesterol, and steroid hormones requires CoA, as
does the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, and the hormone,
Acyl-carrier protein - The acyl-carrier protein requires pantothenic
acid in the form of 4'-phosphopantetheine for its activity as an enzyme
. Both CoA and the acyl-carrier protein are required for the synthesis
of fatty acids. Fatty acids are a component of some lipids, which are
fat molecules essential for normal physiological function.
Among these essential fats are sphingolipids, which are a component
of the myelin sheath that enhances nerve transmission,
and phospholipids in cell embranes.:
Reviewed by: Nora Plesofsky, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor-
College of Biological Sciences University of Minnesota -
(vitamin B6): Was found to be more effective than methylphenidate (Ritalin)
in treating a group of hyperactive children in a double-blind,
crossover study. A Preliminary Study of the Effect of Pyridoxine Administration
to a Subgroup of Hyperkinetic children: A Double-blind, crossover Comparison
with Methylphenidate, Coleman, et al, Bid. Psychiatry, Vol. 14,
No. 5, 1979, pp. 741-751.
When B6 Pyridoxine was given to hyperactive
children with low blood serotonin levels, their hyperactivity disappeared
and serotonin levels returned to normal. The effect of
pyridoxine hydrochloride on blood serotonin and pyridoxal phosphate
contents in hyperactive children, Pediatrics, 55:437-41, 1975.
Researchers studied the effects of folate and vitamins
B12 and B6 on cognition and mood in 211 healthy younger, middle-aged
and older women. The researchers studied the effects of supplementation
with B vitamins and dietary intake. Subjects took either a placebo or
750 mcg of folate, 15 mcg of vitamin B12, and 75 mg of vitamin B6 daily
for 35 days. The study authors also used a retrospective, self-report,
quantified food frequency questionnaire to assess dietary intake of
these vitamins. The subjects were given standardized tests of cognitive
function, memory, verbal ability, and self-report mood measures, both
before and after supplementation.
The study results indicated that supplementation with folate,
vitamin B12 and B6 could significantly improve memory performance in
all age groups tested. In addition, the amount of these B vitamins
consumed in the diet was linked to the speed subjects could
process information, recall, and recognition, as well as verbal ability,
particularly in the younger women. In fact, 29% of the younger women
had dietary intakes of folate below recommended levels and 20% of the
women had vitamin B12 below desired levels. Bryan J, Calvaresi E,
Hughes D. Short-term Folate, Vitamin B-12 or Vitamin B-6 Supplementation
Slightly Affects Memory Performance but Not Mood in Women of Various
Ages. Journal of Nutrition. 2002;132(6):1345-1356.
B12 is the largest and most complex of all the vitamins.
FUNCTION Cofactor for methionine synthase- Methylcobalamin is required
for the function of the folate-dependent enzyme, methionine synthase.
This biochemical reaction plays an important role in the production
of energy from fats and proteins. Succinyl CoA is also required for
the synthesis of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in red blood
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:Vitamin B12 deficiency results in
impairment of the activities of B12-requiring enzymes. Impaired activity
of methionine synthase may result in elevated homocysteine levels, traps
folate in a form that is not usable by the body, resulting in symptoms
of folate deficiency even in the presence of adequate folate levels.
Thus, in both folate and vitamin B12 deficiency, folate is unavailable
to participate in DNA synthesis. This impairment of DNA synthesis affects
the rapidly dividing cells of the bone marrow earlier than other cells,
resulting in the production of large, immature, hemoglobin-poor red
blood cells. The resulting anemia is known as megaloblastic anemia and
is the symptom for which the disease, pernicious anemia, was named.
Neurologic symptoms: The neurologic symptoms of vitamin B12
deficiency include memory loss, disorientation, and dementia, with or
without mood changes. Vitamin B12 deficiency is known
to damage the myelin sheath covering cranial, spinal, and peripheral
nerves, the biochemical processes leading to neurological damage
in B12 deficiency are not well understood
Depression - Observational studies have found as many as 30%
of patients hospitalized for depression to be deficient in vitamin B12.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. Professor and Associate
Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging - Tufts University
B-6 and B-12. B vitamins' ability to lower homocysteine levels was demonstrated
in a battery of cognitive tests involving 70 male subjects from 54 to
81 years of age. Low concentrations of vitamin B-6 and B-12
correlated with a high concentration of homocysteine produced
poor memory response. High levels of vitamins B-6 and B-12
improved the performances on two measures of memory.
A byproduct of the amino acid methionine, homocysteine attacks the epithelium,
the inner lining of blood vessels, causing lesions that trigger
atherosclerosis. This theory was advanced, first, in a study
by biochemists Kilmer S. McCully (see "NNFA Honors Pioneers,"
July 1998 BN) and R.B. Wilson in Atherosclerosis and, since, by numerous
B-12. Several studies indicate that a deficiency of vitamin
B-12 can undermine mental and emotional health, causing memory loss,
difficulty in thinking, confusion, delusions, depression, and hallucinations.
This is actual]y one of the most important nutrients for contributing
to a sound and dependable memory.
One of the researchers who has more recently elucidated the
relationship between memory loss and vitamin B-12 deficiency is John
Lindenbaum, M.D., of New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
Lindenbaum also found that a vitamin B-12 deficiency caused symptoms
such as dementia and various other neurological problems, tingling fingers
and toes, difficulties in walking, and fatigue.
Recent studies now find an important role for
B-12 in cognition. Cunha and colleagues from Brazil
administered B-12 to cobalamin-deficient patients experiencing dementia.
Those who fared the best on treatment, showing notable improvement
on mental state exam, were patients who succumbed to dementia more recently
-- within the last two years. Consequently, Cunha suggested
that B-12 screening would be a valuable tool in patients with recent
changes in mental performance. In an assessment of veterans, Bernard
and associates from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
at Oklahoma City found that veterans with subnormal B-12
blood levels experienced deficits in cognitive performance.
Folic acid deficiency may result from dietary deficiency,
physical or psychological stress, excessive alcohol consumption, malabsorption
or chronic diarrhea. Deficiency may also occur during pregnancy or with
the use of oral contraceptives, other estrogen preparations or anticonvulsants.
Psychiatric symptoms of folate deficiency include depression,
insomnia, anorexia, forgetfulness, hyperirritability, apathy, fatigue
and anxiety. Howard JS III. Folate deficiency in psychiatric
practice. Psychosomatics 1975;16:112-5.
The terms folic acid and folate are often used interchangeably
for this water-soluble B-complex vitamin. Folic acid, the most stable
form, occurs rarely in foods or the human body, but is the form most
often used in vitamin supplements and fortified foods. The only function
of folate coenzymes in the body appears to be mediating the transfer
of one-carbon units Folate coenzymes act as acceptors and donors of
one-carbon units in a variety of reactions critical to the metabolism
of nucleic acids and amino acids.
Amino acid metabolism: Folate coenzymes are required for the metabolism
of several important amino acids. The synthesis of methionine from homocysteine
requires a folate coenzyme as well as a vitamin B12 dependent enzyme.
Thus, folate deficiency can result in decreased synthesis of methionine
and a build up of homocysteine.
• Nutrient interactions: Vitamin B12 and vitamin
B6: The metabolism of homocysteine, an intermediate in the metabolism
of sulphur-containing amino acids, provides an example of the interrelationships
among nutrients necessary to optimize physiological function and health.
Thus, the amount of homocysteine in the blood is regulated by
three vitamins: folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.
Deficiency:Causes: Folate deficiency occurs in a number of situations.
For example, low dietary intake and diminished absorption, as in alcoholism,
can result in a decreased supply of folate.
• Alzheimer's disease and cognitive impairment
The role of folate in nucleic acid synthesis and methylation
reactions is essential for normal brain function. Over the
past decade several investigators have described associations between
decreased folate levels and cognitive impairment in the elderly. In
the same study, low folate levels were associated with an increased
likelihood of short-term memory problems in elderly individuals who
did not show signs of dementia. Reviewed by: Barry Shane, Ph.D.
Professor- Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology - University
of California, Berkeley
• Folic acid is a coenzyme that helps cells
with the process of cell division and replication, and as such, is most
well known as the vitamin that prevents birth defects. Ebly and
colleagues at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, discovered
that low blood levels of folate correlated to an increased likelihood
of stroke. Additionally, dementia and depression were
associated with those with low folate levels. The individuals
who showed cognitive impairment without dementia were prone to difficulties
with short-term memory.
C & E
of vitamin E and vitamin C supplements in combination is associated
with reduced prevalence and incidence of Alzheimer Disease.
Antioxidant supplements merit further study as agents for the primary
prevention of Alzheimer Disease. The Cache County Study Arch Neurol.
study among a group of British senior citizens observed that the
subgroup with the worst vitamin-C status came out with the lowest score
in a test in which the cognitive performance was evaluated.
Furthermore the results showed that both a low score in this test and
a bad vitamin-C status were associated with increased mortality, in
particular with a higher risk of dying from an ischemic stroke.
Cognitive impairment and mortality in a cohort of elderly people; Gale
CR et al. (MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton,
Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK); BMJ, 312(7031):608-611,
1996 March 9)
• Among people aged 65 and older, higher
vitamin C and beta-carotene levels in the blood have been associated
with better memory performance. Perrig WJ, Perrig P, Stahelin
HB. The relation between antioxidants and memory performance in the
old and very old. J Am Geriatr Soc 1997;45(6):718–24.
The role of Vitamin C as a free radical scavenger
was investigated by Riviere and colleagues from the Hopital La Grave-Casselar
in Toulouse, France. Finding that regardless of the actual dietary
intake through foods, actual blood levels of vitamin C were
depressed in individuals with Alzheimer's disease in a manner reflective
of the severity of the illness. Because actual intake was not
a relevant factor, this study confirms that free radicals cause damage
that results with in cognitive impairment. Indeed, dietary antioxidants
may serve a critical role in protecting against cognitive impairment
associated with aging.
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