Category Archives: What Vitamin Should I Take

Vitamin B12 as a Supplement

Vitamin B12 comes in many different forms and has an even larger array of benefits.  Vitamin B12 is also known by the names, cobalmin, cobrynamide, aquocobalamin, cyanocobalamin, cobinamide, cobamide, and nitrotocabalamin.  Vitamin B12 was not completely identified until 1960.  In 1934, a Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery that liver could be used to treat pernicious anemia.  A neat part of B12 is that it needs an intrinsic factor, which is made in the stomach, to take it from the gastrointestinal track to the rest of the body.

Some of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency can include a red or sore tongue, heart palpitations, memory problems, nervousness, depression, insomnia, and breathing trouble.  You may also experience ringing in the ears, an enlarged liver and poor balance.

Vitamin B12 can be of great use to those of you that are deficient.  The biggest benefit is that it helps with pernicious anemia and can also be used to treat high homocysteine levels.  Another area that B12 is greatly used for is to help with the formation and regeneration of red blood cells.  Homocysteine is an amino acid that is made from proteins that builds up and may lead to heart disease.  A difference can be seen when treating heart disease, chronic fatigue system, and male infertility.  Others are diabetes, bursitis, depression, psychiatric disorders and osteoarthritis that can benefit from vitamin B12.  Also, please don’t try to get in too much B12, as that can lead to a heart attack.  You should check with your physician first before taking any supplements.  Sometimes B12 needs other supplements to work their best, especially B6 and folic acid.

The most efficient and easiest way to get vitamin B12 into your body is by the food you eat.  The two foods with the most B12, are calf’s liver and snapper.  The calf’s liver is best braised and the snapper can be baked or broiled.  Other foods include, venison, salmon, beef tenderloin, lamb loin, scallops, shrimp, halibut and yogurt, in order of importance to volume of B12.  It is also available in eggs, soybeans, milk and brewer’s yeast cheese.

Vitamin B12 is water-soluble and is absorbed easily into your digestive track.   If at all possible, and you are diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, it would be best to change your diet to add these vitamin B12 rich foods into your diet first before trying other methods.

Vitamin B12 is also available in tablet and capsule form, making it easy for just about anyone to swallow.  Please make sure that your over the counter supplement contains no fillers or additives, such as sugar, starch, gluten, or silica.  You also don’t want any artificial colors or flavorings of any kind; your B12 should be as pure as possible.  Also a nasal spray, available only by prescription from your physician can be used.  This allows you to administer the supplement at home.  By spraying into your nose, the B12 is absorbed quickly into the mucus membranes and should start to work immediately.  You can also get injections of vitamin B12, available in your physician’s office.  These injections are absorbed into your muscle tissue and then into the blood stream very quickly, as well.

There is also a sublingual form of B12, that you put under your tongue and let dissolve.  Please don’t swallow this pill, as the effectiveness is lost.  When placed under the tongue to dissolve, it is quickly absorbed into the blood vessels under the tongue.  This is a very efficient way to get your B12 in.

No matter what form you choose, please check with your physician to make sure you have chosen the proper form and that it is ok to take a vitamin B12 supplement with the other medications you take, if any.

Vitamin B6

What is the most important vitamin of all? Linus Pauling may have considered vitamin C as fitting that role. Others might swear that vitamin B12 injections are the life-savers. Yet other folks might believe that it is vitamin E. And they are all right: the most important vitamin is the one (or ones) that you are lacking. For many people, that is vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6 is actually a family of water soluble substances that includes pyridoxine (the most common term), pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. These are converted in the body into one biologically active form, pyridoxal 5-phosphate. It’s easier just to say vitamin B6. B6 supports more vital bodily functions than any other vitamin. For example, it:

  • Is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • Is responsible for the manufacture of hormones, red blood cells, neurotransmitters, enzymes and prostaglandins.
  • Helps balance hormonal changes in both men and women.
  • Is required for production of serotonin (which controls our sleep patterns, moods, and sensitivity to pain).
  • Helps maintain healthy immune system functions.
  • Aids the nervous system to function efficiently.
  • Helps reduce damage from radiation therapy.
  • Assists in production of energy in the body.
  • Has many, many more functions.

Although a lack of vitamin B6 can cause the following symptoms, be aware that the lack of other vitamins or minerals, or some illnesses or medications can cause these same symptoms.

  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness or loss of muscular control
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Dermatitis such as acne
  • Arm and leg cramps
  • Hair loss
  • Slow learning
  • Asthma
  • Convulsions

You also may be at higher risk for a stroke or certain types of heart disease.

So how do you know if your symptoms indicate a vitamin B6 deficiency? We rarely see this deficiency in the U.S., because B6 is available in so many foods. If you have a poor diet or are an alcoholic, you probably have this deficiency and need supplemental B6. If poor diet is the cause and you change your diet, you may only need supplements for a short time. If you drink a lot of alcohol, you almost certainly need extra vitamin B6.

Good sources of B6 include lean beef, chicken, many varieties of fish, baked potatoes, bananas, citrus, grapes, garbanzo beans, peanut butter, avocados, brown rice, brewer’s yeast, and wheat germ.

Another cause of deficiency could be a medication that depletes or interferes with absorption of the vitamin; a supplement would be recommended. There are many medications that are guilty of this; a list of only some of them includes:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Erythromycin
  • Combined Estrogens
  • Phenelzine
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Tetracycline
  • Theophylline and Aminophylline  (bronchodialators)

There are other medications for which a B6 supplement may help reduce the likelihood and/or severity of side effects of the medication:

  • Docetaxel
  • Fenofibrate
  • Fluorouracil (a chemotherapy drug)
  • Resperidone

A few medications may work better if you take B6 supplementation, such as:

  • Tricyclic Antideressants
  • Hydroxychloroquine

Check with your doctor first if you are on any of these (or other) medications.

If you are taking Isoniazid or Phenobarbital, do not take a B6 supplement. The combination could cause dangerous results.

How much B6 should you take via supplements? The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams per day. Higher doses of up to 500 milligrams a day are safe, but seldom necessary. Before you go to a higher dose, check with a doctor who is knowledgeable about vitamins and supplements, who can help you determine what you need.

But before you run to the health food store, please note that a plain vitamin B6 supplement will not cut it. Vitamins are groups of chemically related compounds that work together in a way that the total effect is greater than the sum of its parts. This is synergism, and the group is known as a Vitamin Complex. These complexes are made up of an organic compound and co-factors—such as enzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, etc.  If all of the necessary components are not there, then any and all vitamins in the complex will either not be well assimilated or they will not work efficiently.

Co-factors necessary for the assimilation of vitamin B6 are potassium, all of the other B vitamins, and vitamin C. Get the best quality supplement you can find that has all of these components or you are probably wasting your money. In fact, a high quality (not necessarily equivalent to “the most expensive”) multi-vitamin and mineral complex is what you should try first. If that doesn’t do the job, then consider an additional B6 supplement with the necessary co-factors in it.

May you find “the best vitamin”—for you!

Vitamin Information

Vitamins and minerals are essential in helping our body function and thrive. In an ideal world, we should get all of our daily allowance of vitamins and minerals through a balanced diet. But as we know all too well, this is rarely possible in today’s fast food world where unbalanced lifestyles and diets persist. That’s why taking a good one a day multi-vitamin supplement is essential to top up the vitamins and minerals that we don’t get from our diet.

The quality of the multi-vitamin supplement is crucial. Make sure that you purchase a good supplement that contains a breadth of vitamins and minerals. Make sure too that each vitamin and mineral contained in the supplement contains the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for each. Check the label. The more vitamins and minerals with an RDA of 100% the better.

Here is a list of vitamins and minerals found in an average multivitamin supplement and a description of what function they have in the body.

Vitamin A
This vitamin plays an essential role in maintaining eyesight. Vitamin A helps you see in color and in the dark. It also helps you grow properly and aids healthy skin.

The B Vitamins
There are several B vitamins: B1, B2, B6, and B12 (also known as niacin, folic acid, biotin, and pantothetic acid). B vitamins help make energy and set it free when your body needs it. B vitamins also help in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.

Vitamin C
This vitamin is important for keeping body tissues (such as gums and muscles) in good shape. Vitamin C is also key if you get a cut because it helps you heal. It also helps your body resist infection.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the vitamin you need for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps maintain your body tissues, like the ones in your eyes, skin, and liver. It also protects your lungs from becoming damaged and it is important for the formation of red blood cells.



Calcium is essential to maintaining total body health. Calcium is needed every day to keep your bones and teeth strong. It also helps to ensure proper functioning of muscles and nerves.


Potassium assists in muscle contraction and in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in body cells. Potassium is also important in sending nerve impulses as well as releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism.


Magnesium is used in building bones, manufacturing proteins, releasing energy from muscle storage and regulating body temperature.


Phosphorous helps build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorous is also involved in the release of energy from fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also aids the formation of genetic material, cell membranes, and many enzymes.


Chromium functions as the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). It stimulates insulin activity thus helping in the metabolism of sugar. Without it, insulin cannot adequately control blood sugar levels. It also helps to control fat levels and cholesterol levels in the blood.


The primary function of iodine is to keep the thyroid gland healthy and capable of manufacturing thyroxine, a vital hormone needed throughout the body. This hormone helps to regulate the physical and mental growth of children.


Copper acts as an anti-inflammatory. It is also helps people with rheumatoid arthritis. It may also be useful in the treatment of hypoglycemia.


Essential for smooth functioning of the brain. Needed in the production of certain enzymes.


Protects against tooth decay. Essential for proper use of fats, carbohydrate & iron.


Zinc is an essential mineral found in almost every cell. It supports a healthy immune system, is needed for wound healing , helps maintain your sense of taste and smell, and is needed for DNA synthesis.


Selenium is a mineral that helps to fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This trace mineral is essential to many body functions and can be found in every body cell, but especially in the kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, and testes. In males, approximately half of the body’s selenium concentrates in the testicles and parts of the seminal ducts around the prostate gland.