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Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Must Be In B Vitamin Heaven

I recall vividly the many times I accompanied my father to AMA Conventions while growing up. I am sure now it was a part of his plan to make sure I was brainwashed enough to go to med school and follow along his path.

At one convention, in Atlantic City, when I was about eleven years old, I brought home a treasured back scratcher (an advertising tool from Dome Chemicals, Inc. - ala Merck, Sharp and Dome in the old days) and a shot glass from Phospho-Soda (a shot glass was pretty important in this circle because of all the cocktail parties, especially good for a child with a proctologist father).

I still have these treasures and the memories.

Medicine in those days was less frenzied and treatments were more straight forward and simpler.

And certainly vitamins were not looked upon as voodoo.

Even B12 shots were a regular occurrence and no one needed a blood test to decide if you could get them. Of course now the blood test used - really to get a billable charge and avoid acting outside standards of care - is not the correct test. Remember you can't get hurt by B12 shots but if your provider demands a test it is the INTRACELLULAR B12 that is required.

And - for women only - the correct form and correct dose of injectable B12 can lower your blood pressure.

Pretty much, natural thyroid and B12 were very good at keeping aging folks from dementia, and no one flapped an eyelash over it.

I use B Complex daily and in a food form. I give the same to my animals and we all use organic nutritional yeast which is a fermented product. I think the aroma is to die for, it is such a heavenly aroma that wafts from the container when I open it in the morning at at dinner time.

I certainly am sure I get doses well beyond the fallacy of the RDA, but them I'm more of a follower of nutrition and orthomolecular health models so I'm not frightened that water soluble vitamins will harm me in any way.

I sort of look at the Big Pharma approach to make you think they are on top of things when B3 is added to a dangerous cholesterol drug as odd. Why don't they just admit that the whole cholesterol lowering thing is a scam. B3 does just fine to lower cholesterol on its own, and much less expensively.

I made the mistake of turning on to orthomolecular medicine when I began working in psychiatry as an RN in the early 1970s. With people like Carl C. Pfeiffer, Abrahm Hoffer and Melvin Werbach (all MDs) educating me along the way, added to to great integrated nutrition I had while studying nursing in college, I was way ahead of the pack.

Now after all these years we see maybe the first wave of a turning tide. The AMA reports that B vitamins are good to help older women prevent breast cancer.

Will wonders never cease.....
B vitamins may protect elderly women from cancerDecember 2008

Daily supplementation with B vitamins may reduce the risk of breast cancer and other invasive cancers in women over the age of 65. That’s what a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has to say.

Over 5,000 women at a high risk of cardiovascular disease took part in the study, which investigated the effects of a daily supplement of folic acid, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 on cancer risk.

“If the finding [that cancer risk in women over 65 is decreased] is real and substantiated, the results may have public health significance because the incidence rates of cancer are high in elderly persons. The finding is biologically plausible because elderly individuals have increased requirements for these B vitamins,” wrote lead author Shumin Zhang from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Folate, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 are thought to play an important role in cancer prevention. This is because the vitamins play an important role in maintaining the integrity of DNA and regulating gene expression, both critical processes in healthy cell function.

Another positive to take from the results is that they appear to support the safety of B vitamins, and particularly folic acid. Since 1998 the U.S. has required mandatory fortification of all grain products with folic acid—the synthetic, bioavailable form of folate—in order to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects—most commonly spina bifida and anencephaly.

Zhang and co-workers looked at the risk of cancer and B-vitamin consumption among the 5,442 participants (average age 62.8) of the Women’s Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study. The women either had cardiovascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors.

Over the course of 7.3 years, half of the women received a daily supplement of folic acid (2.5 mg), vitamin B-6 (50 mg) and vitamin B-12 (1 mg), while the other half of the women received a placebo. The study began in 1998—the same year as mandatory folic acid fortification was introduced in the U.S.

During the study, 379 cases of invasive cancer were diagnosed—187 in the B-vitamin group and 192 in the placebo group. No differences were seen in the risk of developing total invasive cancer or breast cancer, when the participants were viewed in their entirety. However, in women over the age of 65 the supplementation was associated with significant 25% and 38% reductions in the risk of invasive and breast cancer, respectively.

Journal of the American Medical Association 300(17):2012-2021, 2008

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