I have not taken my Vit. B for a while, and today, I have a migraine. 

tylenol

Somebody gave me a Tyenol®, but I do not like to take drugs. According to the FDA, acetaminophen —the active ingredient in Tylenol®— was the leading cause of acute liver failure in Americans between 1998 and 2003. There is no reason to think this has changed since.

I am certainly not at risk of overdosing, but it is important to remember that acetaminophen is dangerous because just a small extra amount can create a dangerous overdose: twice the maximum safe dose taken over just several days could cause severe liver damage. Sometimes, according to  the former head of the Drug Information Center at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, “the difference between a safe dose and a dangerous dose is two Extra Strength Tylenol tablets”.

I am going to have a baby aspirin, hoping that the headache gets better, and will make a point to take Vit B more often.

Vit B is in fact a complex of 11 related nutrients that work as a team and are critical for all things mind-related: mood, memory, and migraines can benefit from the B’s.  if your stress level is high, or if your diet is low in B’s ( B-rich foods are dark-green vegetables, protein from animal sources, whole grains, yeast, and brown rice) you’ll benefit from the higher amounts found in supplements.  Always choose a food-based Vit B that offers the full family of the B’s.  And be sure to consult a physician if you’re interested in taking B’s for medicinal use.

Each member of the B-complex has a unique structure and performs unique functions in the human body.    

vitamin BB1 > Thiamine: an essential nutrient.  Tests on female volunteers at daily doses of about 50 mg have claimed an increase in mental acuity (1).

B2 > Riboflavin–helps the body produce energy and acts as an anti-oxidant–higher doses have been shown to reduce migraine headaches.

B3 > Niacin and Niacinamide–help increase energy and are needed for DNA repair.

B5 > Pantothenic acid–speeds wound healing.

B6 > (essential for amino acid metabolism) –B6 deficiencies, which often appear in conjunction with B12 deficiencies, are associated with  microcytic anemia, scaling on the lips, cracks at the corners of the mouth, depression, confusion, and weakened immune function.

B7 (biotin) > helps with  blood-sugar control , and is often recommended for for strengthening hair and nails.

B9 > Folic acid is associated with lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and birth defects and with prevention of colon cancer.

B12 > may help protect against brain atrophy or shrinkage of brain tissue in Alzheimer’s disease and deficiency is associated with impaired cognitive function. The Institute of Medicine states that because 10 to 30% of older people may be unable to absorb naturally occurring vitamin B12 in foods, it is advisable for those 51 years old and older to consume B12-fortified foods or B12 supplements to meet the recommended intake (2).  Mild B12 deficiencies can result in weakness, tiredness, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, stomach problems and can contribute to depression.

The B’s are best taken with food — they can cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach — and early in the day (Vitamin B6 increases neurotransmitter activity; when taken late in the day, it can lead to increased dreaming, resulting in a restless night’s sleep).  I have noted that when I take some Vit B regularly, I have fewer headaches.  So I will use my pain today, as a reminder…and share this tip with you.

(1) “Thiamine’s Mood-Mending Qualities” , Richard N. Podel, Nutrition Science News, January 1999

(2) Institute of Medicine. “Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline.” Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998