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Immune balance, stress and vitamin B

Posted Dec 18 2009 1:06pm
I’ve been writing about stress lately and nutritional intakes that might help mitigate physical symptoms of stress. The EpiCor I take has a rich mixture of nutritional compounds contained with its proprietaryb natural fermentate complex. Within that mixture are B-vitamins.  B-vitamins have been described in health literature as aiding against stress. The EpiCor ingredient doesn’t fight mental stress per se (if it did or was described that way, it would probably need to be regulated as a drug). EpiCor’s nutritional component blend…B-complex, amino acids, antioxidant flavanoids, polyphenols… appears to impact physical symptoms of stress through mediating the immune system response to stressful episodes or prolonged stress periods.

Still, it got me to wondering, what do those B vitamins do with regard to stress?  As you can imagine, there’s a lot of material to absorb.  There are several “kinds” of B vitamins: Thiamin (B1), Niacin (B3), Panothenic Acid (B5),  Pyridoxine HCL (B6) Folic Acid, Folate (B9), Cyanocobalamin (B12), and Biotin (Vitamin H which is a co-factor working in tandem with the B’s.

There are also a lot of interlocking functions among the B’s within various chemical processes with the body. One very good source for this kind of  B information is a site called Social Anxiety. It talks at length about the B’s roles in the central nervous system, their link with seratonin, cognitive function, neurotransmission paths and related brain health applications. One thing that is very important and well stated in this material is the warning that simply dosing up on any of these B-complex components beyond RDA limits is not wise. Several B-vitamins, if ingested in large amounts, can result in toxic responses. Lots of people load up on vitamin C, thinking megadosing every day will help prevent illness. There’s no real science behind that. Megadosing of B-vitamins simply because you think it will eliminate stress and even impart feelings of well-being or even mild euphoria is not only unfounded, but there is real science behind the dangers of doing so. That is, without close medical consultation.

If anyone is thinking about getting extra B-vitamins, I would consult a doctor who is well versed in macro and micro-nutrient health. I would also question the need to take anything more than 100% RDA contained in a quality, highly absorbable multi-vitamin. And if you’re pregnant, have a heart condition, mental health condition or neurological health issue, by all means, approach with caution. Just because something is a vitamin doesn’t mean it can’t do damage.

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