The B Vitamins

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

The B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that are important in cell metabolism and the production of red blood cells. There are actually 8 different ones of these B vitamins but as they usually show up together in certain foods, they all share the same name of B. Each vitamin B is either a cofactor for an enzyme, which is a molecule that makes metabolic processes happen, or a precursor for a cofactor.

A nutritional supplement that contains all 8 of these different compounds is referred to as vitamin B complex and you can get B-50 which contains 50 mg or mcg of each B with the exception of folic acid, which is dosed at 0.4 mg or B 100 which contains 100 mg or mcg of each vitamin with the exception of folic acid which is dosed at the same 0.4 mg. You can cover your bases by taking one of these complexes and then supplement individual Bs if you need more of them. Andy suggested some really high doses for some B vitamins.

The B vitamins are:

B1 or thiamine

B2 or riboflavin

B3 or niacin

B5 or pantothenic acid

B6 or pyroxidine

B7 or biotin

B9 or folate

B12 or cyanocobalamin

There used to be a vitamin B4, B8, B10 and B11 but they no longer fit the official definition of what a vitamin is, so they got purged from the list.

I used the book, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, by Michael T Murray, N.D. as a reference along with Andy’s Amalgam Illness which looks at supplements more from the point of view of people who are toxic with mercury.

Vitamin B1, or thiamin was the first B vitamin to be discovered when its deficiency was found to cause the disease beriberi. Beriberi first showed up in sailors who ate horrible diets and got deficiency diseases because of this.

Thiamin is a component of an enzyme which is essential for energy production, (particularly in the brain), carbohydrate metabolism and nerve cell function.

Severe, thiamine deficiency can obviously cause beriberi, but milder deficiency can cause fatigue, depression, neuropathy and constipation. This can be a big problem for elders in nursing homes and also for alcoholics.

Andy Cutler notes that B1 helps the liver to process xenobiotics, which are those substances that have no business being in your body. B1 can be helpful for people with multiple chemical sensitivity for this reason. He says that it can also be calming and helps stimulate the appetite. Combined with vitamin B2 it is essential for the proper functioning of insulin and thyroid hormone.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, is the vitamin that you may notice turning your urine neon yellow-green, which means you have taken more than your body can use. It was discovered as a yellow-green pigment in milk way back in 1879.

Thiamine deficiency shows up as various mucous membrane disorders, light sensitivity, and a tendency to develop cataracts. It is important for fostering the production of red blood cells and is useful in preventing leaky gut.

Vitamin B3 or Niacin, was discovered in the eighteenth century during the search for the causes of pellagra, another pesky deficiency disease characterized by “the three D’s” of dermatitis, dementia and diarrhea.

Niacin is important for the functioning of many enzymes that catalyze chemical reactions in the body. Your body needs niacin for energy production, fat, carbohydrate and cholesterol metabolism and the formation of important compounds such as sex hormones.

Niacin comes in two forms, niacin and niacinamide. In Amalgam Illness, Andy Cutler tells us that these two have a few similar and a few different functions. He emphasizes the aspects of the two compounds that are important for mercury toxic people: niacin speeds up phase one liver metabolism whereas niacinamide slows it down. We often recommend niacinamide (as well as grapefruit oregano products) to people who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity because their phase one liver metabolism is too fast. Andy suggests 1 to 3 grams for people who may feel anxious when exposed to hydrocarbons like exhaust fumes for this reason.

Andy states that 1 to 3 grams a day of niacinamide can be anti-depressive and that niacin increases blood circulation to the brain, whereas niacinamide does not.

Niacin has been found to help with high cholesterol and niacinamide with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Niacinamide helps with rheumatoid arthritis and allergies and Andy says it would be expected to stop other autoimmune problems, too.

Niacin can cause the famous “niacin flush.” According to Andy, this flush is caused by a release of histamine and can help some people who have schizophrenic disorders caused by low histamine.

Because it is found in so many foods It is rare for people to be deficient in Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid. Like Vitamin B3, B5 comes in two forms, pantothenic acid and pantethine, and like niacin and niacinamide these do different things. Pantothenic acid is mostly used to support adrenal function and help with rheumatoid arthritis. According to Andy, it also helps the brain to make the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

Murray says that pantethine, “for some reason” lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides while pantothenic acid does not.