Hey! So I apologize for my irregular posting but I am in California shooting a documentary.
I did want to share my latest nutritional curiosity: Vitamin B 12. APN brought this up as a response to my post on dairy, citing milk as a good way for vegetarians to get this essential vitamin (meat, particularly liver, is another source). After a bit of poking around, I discovered that eggs and shellfish are also good sources. For vegans, there are fortified cereals or supplements, which folks used to think were not effective, but now most studies suggest they are (sorry for my imprecision, but a round of googling will likely lead you to the same conclusions). When taking B as supplements, it is more effective – if not essential – to take all the B vitamins together, according to two doctors I spoke with (one MD, one acupuncturist). Because our bodies do not store them, we rely entirely on our diet to get them on a regular basis.
Deficiencies in vitamin B (any of them) seem to all result in really gross things, so let’s just not go there. What fascinated me was to learn that there may be a link between depression/mood instability and vitamin B deficiency. Having tried most methods under the sun when I was depressed, I was surprised that I have never even heard of this connection. While I wouldn’t endorse only relying on B to treat depression, folks seeking holistic approaches might be interested in some of the studies out there. One also suggested that B vitamins enhanced people’s responses to antidepressants.
According to this article, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and refined sugar all destroy the body’s ability to activate B vitamins. It’s most unfortunate that alcohol and B don’t mix well, because if not for that, unfiltered beer might be a good source of B, according to this wikipedia entry.