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Research on various Vitamins
If you eat a healthy diet, do you need to take vitamins?
Not long ago, the answer from most experts would have been a resounding "no".
Today, though, there's good evidence that taking a daily multivitamin makes sense for most adults
Harvard School of Public Health.

B1 - B2 - B3 - B5 - B6 - B12 - B9 (Folic Acid)- C & E

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine):
" 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

Thiamine (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.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, also known as vitamin B2.
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 iron metabolism.
Toxicity -No toxic or adverse effects of high riboflavin intake in humans are known.
Reviewed by: Donald B. McCormick, Ph.D. F. E. Callaway Professor, Emeritus - Department of Biochemistry - Emory University School of Medicine

Vitamin 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.

Niacin 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 similar.
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

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic 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, melatonin.
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 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine (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.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Vitamin 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 cells.
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 Director
Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging - Tufts University

Vitamins 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 other scientists.

Vitamin 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 (B9)

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.


Vitamin C & E

Use 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. 2004;61:82-88.

A 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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