At the start of this year I decided I was going to go a while without taking any supplements whatsoever, nothing but real food for my vitamins and minerals. This wasn’t too much of a big deal as I never took too many Vitamins to start (Vitamin C, Magnesium and Multi’s on occasion) but I had never been on a prolonged period without taking any supplements since I got into Health and Fitness years ago.
To cut a long story short after a few months off Vitamins I slowly started re-introducing them with the main addition being a high quality B-Vitamin Complex and some Vitamin C on occasion. This was meant to be a trial session as It would allow me to really gauge if I felt better or any difference while taking these vitamins. Surprisingly I did, even though I had my doubts the B-Complex seemed to help with energy, digestion and an improved tolerance to stress – I Just felt better…..
A Vitamin B-Complex is compromised of the full spectrum on B-Vitamins, this is important as they work in harmony so are best taken in a complex. The group includes Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, B-6, Folate, B-12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Choline. And we need adequate B-Vitamins for a host of functions:
- Nervous System Health
- Increase Metabolism and Energy Levels
- Production of Stomach Acid
- Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
To me these are key functions in the body and are vital especially in the modern day and age. Now days living in cities and working long hours, we are more stressed than ever. Whether we realise it or not stress hits from all angles (noisy environments, pollution, commuting, food toxins, over exercising, trying to do too much, working long hours etc….) however it arrives, we all have different stressors in our lives. But to our body stress is stress in whatever form it comes along.
Add to this many people have problems digesting foods, which lead to nutrient deficiencies caused by not producing enough stomach acid – which in turn leads to being exhausted and tired all of the time. To top it all off modern day food is not as nutrient dense as it once was- soil has been so used and abused that it is a shadow of its former self in terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals it supplies. This further exacerbates the problem and means even eating the most nourishing of diets can make it hard to get adequate nutrients.
Let’s face it though, we live in the real world and cannot always eat the healthiest or nutrient rich food all of the time. This to me is enough reason to give ourselves a little extra help via a B-Vitamin. Not to say it should replace healthy eating but at certain times in our lives a little help is necessary. Times you are feeling run down, stressed, have been eating poorly or not getting enough sleep are all ideal times to take B-Vitamins. They don’t need to be taken year round in my opinion and work fine even taken just a few times a week.
In fact only the other week a friend of mine who is a herbalist and practices chinese medicine suggested we should all use a B-Complex every other day, especially if we live in a city. This seems like sensible advice.
Some Basic Tips for B-Vitamins are:
- Always get a complex like a B-50 or B-100 as they work together
- Take them with food
- Don’t take them Everyday
- Still emphasise B-Vitamin rich foods in your diet
- Take earlier in the day as they can be energising
- Buy from a quality manufacturer
The fact that B-Vitamins have been shown to help with diseases like Alzheimer’s shows that these synthetic compounds do somehow get absorbed and utilised by the body. And whilst I am still a firm believer that Vitamins are best obtained through nature due to their ability to work in sync with thousands of other compounds, we do not have the good fortune of a low stress lifestyle and nutrient rich soil our ancestors once had.
Supplements are not a cure all or panacea but they can help, and a little help is needed at times. We need to remember we live in a very different world to the one we used to. A world that calls for some assistance with wise supplementation to keep up with modern lifestyles…..