MANILA -- Growing old is tough, especially when vitamin deficiencies weigh you down with all its signs and symptoms.
Take for example fatigue, shortness of breath, disturbed vision, pale skin, mood changes, and "pins and needles sensation" on the hands and feet, and many others that are all attributed to Vitamin B deficiency.
“B vitamins are important for making sure the body's cells are functioning properly. They help the body convert food into energy (metabolism), create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues,” according to website Medical News Today.
There are eight types of B vitamins, namely: thiamin (Vitamin B-1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin (Vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin B-6, Biotin (Vitamin B7), folate (Vitamin B-9), and Vitamin B-12. Collectively, these are called Vitamin B complex.
Many associate nerve problems like numbness or tingling sensation, medically known as peripheral neuropathies, with low levels of B vitamins but making the connection with mood changes is not very common.
Mental health link
The Mayo Clinic explains: “Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions.
Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins, such as vitamin B-6 and folate, may be linked to depression. “Low levels of a vitamin can result from eating a poor diet or not being able to absorb the vitamins you consume. Older adults, vegetarians and people with digestive disorders may have trouble getting enough B-12.”
Although there is still a need for more research on Vitamin B and its relation to mental health, one theory stands out: Vitamin B-12 helps break down a brain chemical called homocysteine. Having too much homocysteine in the brain may cause mental health problems.
There are many sources of B vitamins available today, such meat (red meat, poultry, fish), wholegrains (brown rice, barley, millet), and fruits (citrus fruit, avocados, banana). Other sources are eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese), legumes (beans, lentils), seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds), and dark, leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach).
If a person cannot get enough B vitamins from the usual diet and fortified foods, supplements may help.
Veteran actress and TV host Coney Reyes, for instance, shared that she has included in her daily regimen a locally made supplement that gives her high doses of vitamins B-1, B-6, and B-12, which are necessary for managing nerve damage and mood disorder.
Reyes, now the brand ambassador of Pharex for its Vitamin B supplement Fortiplex, said: “For people my age, it is common to experience nerve problems like numbness or tingling and muscle weakness. Also, if you’ve observed, older people tend to be easily irritated and annoyed by the most trivial things. The mood swings are sometimes inexplicable.”
She added: “I am very pleased to be spreading awareness about the importance of Vitamin B to my fellow senior citizens. Health is also something I am passionate about.”