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Tag: B Vitamins

Lady holding her temples with a laptop.

Ways to Prevent and Control Migraine Headache

Migraine headache is a common condition characterized by headaches with severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. The headache is also often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. The attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe and may interfere with your daily activities. Aside from drug therapy, prevention of triggers is important to control painful attacks.

Preventing migraine  

Some people can prevent migraines simply by avoiding the following triggers:

• Changing weather: rising humidity, heat
• Lack of sleep or oversleeping
• Fatigue
• Emotional stress
• Sensory triggers: bright or flickering lights, loud noises, strong smells
• Monosodium glutamate (MSG) in food
• Dietary triggers such as missing a meal, alcohol, chocolate, nitrates in cured meats and fish, aged cheese, and an increase or decrease in caffeine.

Several studies have also documented the role of B vitamins in preventing and alleviating pain in migraine attacks. Some researchers found that taking higher doses of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B9 (folic acid) reduced headache frequency, severity, and duration. 

Also, if you spot a migraine in its very earliest stages, you may be able to control it with over-the-counter pain relievers.

If your headache persists, you need to consult your physician for prescription drugs that are needed. Always work with your doctor to find the appropriate treatment that works best for you.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/headache-when-to-worry-what-to-do

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

Liampas IN, Siokas V, Aloizou AM, Tsouris Z, Dastamani M, Aslanidou P, Brotis A, Dardiotis E. Pyridoxine, folate and cobalamin for migraine: A systematic review. Acta Neurol Scand. 2020 Aug;142(2):108-120. doi: 10.1111/ane.13251. Epub 2020 Apr 30. PMID: 32279306. 

D’Onofrio F, Raimo S, Spitaleri D, Casucci G, Bussone G. Usefulness of nutraceuticals in migraine prophylaxis. Neurol Sci. 2017 May;38(Suppl 1):117-120. doi: 10.1007/s10072-017-2901-1. PMID: 28527067.

Man holding left leg wearing gray running shoes.

Tips to Avoid Leg Cramps

The sudden, involuntary, and intense muscle pains affecting your calf, foot or thigh are what we refer to as leg cramps. Sometimes the cramp may cause your leg to spasm or tighten uncontrollably.

Although leg cramps can strike at any time, they become more common as people age. Among people over 60, almost half report having leg cramps, while about a third say they are awakened by cramps at night, and 15% report weekly episodes.

Here are some tips to prevent painful episodes of leg cramps:

1. Exercise your legs.

2. Stretch your muscles before and after you exercise to improve flexibility.

3. Stay hydrated; drink 6-8 glasses of water each day and don’t take in as much alcohol and caffeine.

4. Sleep in a proper position; use pillows to keep your toes pointed upwards if you sleep on your back, or if you lie on your front, try hanging your feet over the end of the bed.

5. Gently stretch your leg muscles before you go to sleep.

6. Keep blankets and sheets loose around your feet so that your toes are not distorted.

7. Wear shoes that fit you well and support your feet.

8. Consider taking daily Vitamin B complex; studies suggest that taking a capsule daily containing B vitamins may prevent cramps. 

If your leg cramps persist despite the strategies above, a consultation with your doctor should be sought so that your condition will be promptly managed with appropriate medications.

References:

Is there hope for leg cramp sufferers? Harvard Health Publishing. 14 February 2017

Leg cramps. Cleveland Clinic. 3 August 2020

Disclaimer:

*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor.

Healthy foods and white beans on gray table.

The Importance of Micronutrients

Micronutrients, often referred to as vitamins and minerals, are vital to the healthy development of the body, well-being, and disease prevention. However, not everyone manages to eat a healthy diet. Dietary supplementation can play an important role when nutritional requirements are not met through diet alone.

Though micronutrients are only needed by the body in small amounts, their impact on our health is critical. Therefore, regularly taking the recommended amount is important. Failing to maintain even those small quantities required by the body may cause severe and even life-threatening conditions.

Some of the functions of essential micronutrients are outlined below:

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous and immune systems healthy.

Iron

Iron is the essential component of hemoglobin, the compound which allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the different parts of the body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A supports healthy eyesight, skin, and immune system functions.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important in building strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a role in wound healing and controlling infections. It is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals that are harmful to the body.

Vitamin E

Its main role is to act as an antioxidant, scavenging “free radicals” that can damage body cells. Vitamin E also enhances the immune function and prevents clots from forming in the arteries.

Zinc

Zinc promotes immune system functions and helps the body resist infectious diseases including diarrhea and pneumonia.

References: 

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/micronutrients/index.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/micronutrients-have-major-impact-on-health

www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-c/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b6/art-20363468

Smiling lady holding a smiley emoji wearing mustard long sleeve.

Better Mood with B-Vitamins: B1, B6 and B12

It is widely known that a person’s mood and emotional state are results of situational factors and bodily processes involving elements such as hormones, neurotransmitters, and nutrients. The nutrients Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 have been found to play key roles in keeping a healthy mood as explained by the following:

1. Vitamin B1 keeps the brain active and energized  

The brain is considered a metabolically active organ accounting for over 20% of the body’s total energy expenditure. The brain is selective when it comes to its source of energy as it almost exclusively relies on glucose obtained from the carbohydrates that are consumed. The process of converting glucose into energy essentially requires Vitamin B1 or Thiamine.  This makes Vitamin B1 a crucial nutrient to keep the brains energized by allowing the conversion of glucose into energy.

2. Vitamin B6 helps the brain to synthesize the neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals responsible for one’s mood and mental function

Neurotransmitters are chemical substances made by the brain that exert an influence over mood and mental function. Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine contributes to a healthy brain function by being an essential cofactor in the production of a number of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), noradrenaline and melatonin. Dopamine plays a role in reactions involved on how pleasure is felt while serotonin contributes to feelings of well-being. GABA is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and appropriate levels are needed to regulate or calm brain activity and to help reduce anxiety. Noradrenaline helps in coping with stress and in becoming active while melatonin is important in maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle. 

3. Vitamins B6 and B12 help clear away metabolic by-products linked with depression

Whenever the body processes or metabolizes protein, it produces a substance known as homocysteine. Homocysteine accumulation has been linked to the development of depression. It was reported that up to 30% of depressed patients were found to have elevated homocysteine levels. Thankfully, the body is able to naturally clear away homocysteine through reactions involving Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and Vitamins B12 (Cobalamin). Maintaining healthy levels of Vitamins B6 and B12 may therefore be seen as a way to prevent homocysteine buildup. 

4. Deficiencies of B vitamins have been associated with the development of mood problems

Seeing that these B vitamins play numerous roles in keeping a healthy mood, it is no surprise that deficiencies of these B vitamins may lead to mood disorders. The Women’s Health and Aging Study done in 2000 resulted in findings that women with B12 deficiency had twice the risk of severe depression. In another study done in 2008 among older Korean people, it was reported that lower levels of vitamin B12 at baseline were associated with a higher risk of developing depression in 2-3 years. More recently, a study done in 2020 among Japanese yielded the outcome that in middle-aged and elderly women, moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were associated with a lower dietary intake of vitamin B6.

5. Supplementation with B vitamins has been suggested to support a healthy mood and mental well-being

The results of studies on B-vitamin supplementation to reduce the risk of developing mood disorders have been promising.  In a study done in 2010 on 35,053 older adults in the US, it was found out that higher intakes of Vitamin B6 and B12 were associated with a lower risk of developing depressive symptoms by an average of 7.2 years. In another clinical trial done in 2011, participants treated with vitamin B complex for 3 months were found to experience lower levels of perceived personal strain and sad mood compared to those who were not given vitamin B complex. 

Vitamins B1, B6 and B12 play numerous key roles in the different brain processes responsible for one’s mood, ranging from generating energy, synthesizing neurotransmitters, and even clearance of harmful substances.

Deficiencies of these vitamins have been linked to mood problems, while supplementation have been found to be supportive of a healthy mood. Click here to learn more about Polynerv 1000.

For individuals feeling symptoms of depression, it is always best to seek professional help or to consult a doctor.

References: 

Young LM et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of B Vitamin Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms, Anxiety, and Stress Effects on Healthy and ‘At-Risk’ Individuals. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2232. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/nu11092232

Stough C et al. The effect of 90 day administration of a high dose vitamin B-complex on work stress Hum Psychopharmacol. 2011;26(7):470-476. doi:10.1002/hup.1229

Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy -A Review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68. Published 2016 Jan 27.doi:10.3390/nu8020068

Seppälä J et al. Association between vitamin b12 levels and melancholic depressive symptoms a Finnish population-based study. BMC Psychiatry. 2013;13:145. Published 2013 May 24. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-145

Sangle P et al. Vitamin B12 Supplementation: Preventing Onset and Improving Prognosis of Depression Cureus. 2020;12(10):e11169. Published 2020 Oct 26. doi:10.7759/cureus.11169