Are you getting more forgetful these days? Do your fingertips sometimes feel numb? How about the sudden tingling in your muscles? Do you suddenly get irritated over trivial matters? These may be signs of vitamin B deficiency. Sadly, these symptoms are often disregarded until more serious complications have set in.
As we age, we become more susceptible to several health risks including memory lapse, nerve glitch, stroke and anemia. Many of us think that maintaining a balanced diet and active lifestyle are enough for us to avoid health problems. In a way, it is indeed true, but not for the elderly, specifically those aged 80 and above. Even when maintaining a healthy diet, they can still be affected with vitamin deficiency because their bodies are naturally finding it difficult to absorb vitamins from their food.
This is why it is highly important for older people to supplement with the necessary vitamins and minerals. Just like giving the right amount of B vitamins that can help address the elderly symptoms.
The water-soluble B vitamin family is important in the improvement of energy production, metabolism and formation of red blood cells. The B vitamins promotes healthy skin, nerves, heart and muscles.
Let us get to know more about the B vitamin family.
VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine mononitrate)
Vitamin B1, often called the “anti-stress vitamin,” plays a major role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and improving the body’s cardiovascular functions. It also promotes a healthy skin, eyes, and hair. Aside from that, thiamine helps improve the body’s capability to endure stress; reason why it is called as the anti-stress vitamin.
In addition to these benefits, vitamin B1 is essential in preventing beriberi, a condition affecting the cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems.
VITAMIN B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is needed in the body due to its multiple benefits: first, it has shown to be a natural remedy to headaches and migraine. Second, it helps prevent eye disorders such as cataract, keratoconus and glaucoma, which is the leading cause of eyesight loss or blindness. 6
With age, our body produces less red blood cells which could lead to anemia. Good thing another benefit of riboflavin is its ability to help prevent anemia since it aids in the transportation of oxygen to the cells as well as in the mobilizing of iron. Vitamin B2 is also crucial to the body’s neurological condition, for it offers protection from neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease and sclerosis. 6
Finally, it acts as a great anti-aging agent. It provides antioxidant properties and maintains collagen levels, which is needed to maintain a healthy skin and hair. Naturally, it slows down signs of aging! 6
VITAMIN B3 (Nicotinic acid)
Cholesterol levels have a tendency to increase with age since the body’s metabolism slows down, making it harder to digest and absorb nutrients. Vitamin B3, also known as nicotinic acid or niacin, plays an important role in controlling high blood cholesterol levels. It lowers blood cholesterol by increasing good cholesterol levels and decreasing bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In turn, it reduces a person’s risk for heart diseases, heart attack, and stroke. 7
VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)
Primarily, vitamin B6 may help reduce a person’s risk for heart disease and prevent clogged arteries by lowering the homocysteine levels. In addition, pyridoxine plays a role in mood regulation. Studies show that older adults are at high risk for vitamin B6 deficiency, thus increasing their likelihood of depression. It works by decreasing the high blood levels of amino acid homocysteine, which is normally connected to depression and other psychiatric conditions.
Vitamin B6 also helps in the formation of red blood cells, so it aids in keeping the immune system strong. 8
VITAMIN B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Many of the elderly can develop serious deficiencies in vitamin B12, also called as cyanocobalamin or cobalamin. This is because as people get older, the ability to absorb this vitamin decreases because of impaired production of acid and stomach enzymes – both are needed to process vitamin B12. 9
Now, how crucial is vitamin B12 to our body? Cobalamin helps build blood cells, synthesize DNA, and maintain healthy nerve cells in our body. With the proper amount of vitamin B12 intake, our homocysteine levels will be regulated and will help decrease the risk of memory loss, as well as the risk of stroke and heart attack.10
Vitamin B12 is also essential because it regulates a chemical linked to depression. 11 Depression due to vitamin B12 deficiency can be easily addressed especially with the right dose of vitamin B12.
Each of these B vitamins indeed play important roles in keeping our body healthy as we age. They work even better together – taking a B-complex supplement will be more helpful and convenient.
See, aging does not really have to be complex with vitamin B-complex! Vitamin B complex supplements help relieve stress, boost mental performance, maintain healthy nerve function and help alleviate signs of anxiety and depression. With proper diet and healthy lifestyle, we can age gracefully.
To know more about vitamin B and the right amount of B-complex supplements, always consult your doctor.