Why are B vitamins an Important Part of a Daily Multivitamin?
B vitamins are important because they act as coenzymes in the body. Coenzymes team up with enzymes to perform a variety of molecular reactions that are essential to bodily functions.
Many health issues result from a reduced ability of coenzymes and enzymes to bind together, thereby reducing the rate of essential molecular reactions. Aging often involves reductions in enzyme-coenzyme binding as well. Higher intake of B vitamins helps overcome these problems by increasing coenzyme levels (which helps restore the rate of essential molecular reactions.)(1)
The many bodily functions that require adequate intake of B vitamins include:
- Energy metabolism
- Mental health
- Healthy inflammatory response
- Nervous system health
- Stress management
- Immune health
- Cardiovascular health
- Cognitive function
B vitamins are also particularly important in a daily multivitamin because they are water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins can only be stored in the body in very limited quantities. This is why B vitamins are very safe even at very high doses, but it is also why B vitamins must be replenished regularly.
Why Doesn’t Oxylent® Contain More than 100% DV of Most B Vitamins?
For most of the B vitamins (except for B6 and B12, the levels of which are explained in the question below), Vitalah® formulates Oxylent® at or near the Daily Values (DVs). DVs establish the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of 97–98% of healthy individuals. Providing DVs ensures that our multivitamin meets the approximate requirements of the largest possible group of people. (Of course because DVs are not a perfect match for every individual, we always recommend getting your micronutrient levels tested by a healthcare provider to determine your particular nutrient needs.)
In addition, there are physiological constraints on the absorption of any single dose/serving of B vitamins. B vitamins are absorbed through active transport (as well as through passive diffusion).
Active transport is what’s called a “saturable” process. As saturation is reached, excretion (in the urine) increases sharply. This means that as intake increases, the percentage that is absorbed will decrease. This is why, for people wanting a larger daily intake of B vitamins, a better approach is often to take two or more smaller doses rather than one larger dose.
Why Does Oxylent® Contain More than 100% DV of B6 and B12?
Even though the process of active transport becomes saturated (provided in the explanation above), which limits the percentage of B vitamins that are absorbed as intake increases, B vitamins do continue to be absorbed at high intakes by the process of passive diffusion. Oxylent® provides higher levels of B6 and B12 because there are research-backed reasons for these amounts.
• Current research shows that B6 and B12 inadequacies and/or deficiencies are quite common
-A B12 study showed that 39% of adults aged 26–83 years had low levels of B12
-A B6 study suggested the RDA may be too low, since:
–25% of Americans that did not take supplements were found to be deficient (3)
–75% of women using oral contraceptives who did not take supplements were found to be deficient (3)
– Men and women over age 65, male smokers, and non-Hispanic African American men were also found to have a high incidence of deficiency (3)
• The statuses of B6 and B12 are closely linked—inadequate B6 status is usually associated with low concentrations of B12, and vice versa (4)
• Another line of research shows that B6 and B12 help control levels of homocysteine in the blood.
When bodily levels of B6 and B12 (as well as folate) are low, blood levels of homocysteine rise. This has been linked to blood vessel deterioration, which can lead to serious cardiovascular and neurological issues.
A potential explanation for this is that B6 and B12 (as well as folate) are coenzymes in an essential cellular process that converts potentially damaging homocysteine into the useful amino acid cysteine
Why Does Oxylent® Use the Methyl Form of B12?
Oxylent® contains the methylcobalamin form of B12. Most dietary supplements, as well as many pharmaceuticals and fortified foods, use the cyanocobalamin form. It should be noted that existing evidence does not suggest any differences among these forms of vitamin B12 with respect to absorption or bioavailability. (5)
The potential problem with the cyanocobalamin form is that, when it is converted to methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin by the body, this process leaves behind minute concentrations of cyanide. Although cyanides are toxic, it is important to realize that they occur naturally in a number of foods (including almonds, soybeans, spinach, sugarcane, and apple and pear seeds), and the body’s natural antioxidant defenses can efficiently detoxify such minute concentrations of cyanide without any problem in healthy people. (6) Nevertheless, large amounts of cyanocobalamin can exacerbate preexisting cyanide toxicity that can result from smoking, phagocystosis, and sodium nitroprusside therapy. For these reasons, Vitalah® chooses to use the methylcobalamin form of B12 in Oxylent®. With the methylcobalamin form, no cyanide is released.
Why Does Oxylent® Use the “Methylated” Form of Folate?
“Methylated” forms of supplemental folate offer a direct source of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), the active metabolite found in the body after intake of both supplemental and food folate.
The body does not naturally produce folate, so supplementing with folate and/or obtaining it through the diet is imperative. Moreover, the folate provided by food is not yet biologically active; the liver has to break it down into tetrahydrofolate, or methyl folate, which is the form the body can utilize. As such, by supplementing with methylated folate, you are ingesting folate in its most active form, ultimately supporting uptake by the body.
Methylated folate has become more popular in recent years for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is because un-metabolized folic acid in the body has been associated with reduced immune system function. (7). Moreover, synthetic folic acid has been found to conceal vitamin B12 deficiency. (8)
Methylated folate has been shown to eliminate these problems. Because methylated folate is already in its active form, the body does not have to convert it, as it is already in the readily absorbable form. It does not conceal any B vitamin deficiencies (8), and it has been shown to be an effective alternative for folate supplementation, especially for pregnant women.
As we do with all of our ingredients, we will continue to stay abreast with the current research in this field in order to ensure we always deliver formulas of the highest quality.
- Ames BN, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:616–58
- Tucker KL, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(2):514–22.
- Morris MS, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87(5):1446–54.
- McCormick D. Vitamin B6. In: Bowman B, Russell R, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 9th ed. Washington, DC:International Life Sciences Institute; 2006.
- Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12, NIH Office of Dietary Supplements [online] http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12.
- ToxGuideTM for Cyanide, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services [online] http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxguides/toxguide-8.pdf.
- Smith AD, Kim YI, Refsum H. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87(3):517-33.
- Obeid R, Holzgreve W, Pietrzik K. J Perinat Med. 2013; 1;41(5):469-83.