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Every year there seems to be a certain product women's magazines in particular pick up on. Whether it's horse pee face cream to look 10 years younger or putting toxic waste on your hair to make it look shiny, these products cost money, take effort to procure/apply and often have ingredients that range from the bizarre (semen) to the harmful (parabens). Worst of all, for many people, they don't work.
I don't want to sound like one of those infomercials that come on during 'Neighbours', but what a lot of people don't know about is the power of vitamin B. Vitamin B is an amino-acid that helps the body maintain cells. It's excellent for skin, hair, nails and metabolism - less in managing weight, and more in the general area of feeling less tired.
I first took vitamin B on prescription after my metabolism suffered from hypothyroidism. Sadly, after it ran out I then had to buy these from Holland & Barrett. Whereas my prescription ones were small, circular, sugar-coated brown tablets, the ones here are large (2.45cm) and traditionally tablet shaped - and bright yellow to boot. I will be honest here: these taste like cat pee. So is it worth cringing and gulping them down every day?
For me, yes. I have noticed a definite difference in my skin and hair. Even my nails are stronger and no longer flaking. I won't say my skin is great, but I don't have severe eczema anymore and likewise, my hair isn't as thin and dull. As for fatigue, perhaps I am not the one to ask, as I also suffer from chronic fatigue/chronic pain. The recommended dose is 2 tablets a day, with a meal (and obviously water). On the advice of my doctor I only take one tablet a day.
Actually, the name Vitamin B a bit of a misnomer. Vitamin B is not a single vitamin, like vitamin C. A more accurate name would be 'vitamin Bs', but that does give the impression of capsules full of angry bees, and that is certainly an off-putting image. The variations of the vitamin in this supplement are B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12.
This is the break-down of what the product contains (from the Holland & Barrett website):
Two caplets contain:
(Name - Amount - RDA)
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) - 10mg - 909%
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - 15mg - 1,071%
Niacin - 25mg NE - 156%
Pantothenic Acid - 100mg - 1,667%
Vitamin B6 - 10mg - 714%
Vitamin B12 - 25µg - 1,000%
Folic Acid - 400µg - 200%
Biotin - 100µg - 200%
Choline Bitartrate - 250mg **
Inositol - 250mg **
PABA - 50mg **
** Indicates where RDA is unknown
Each separate substance has a different effect on the body. Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide) all aid in the release of energy from carbohydrates, alcohol and glucose. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, or pyridoxamine, or pyridoxine hydrochloride) aids in the production of red blood cells and the synthesis of neurotransmittors. Vitamin B12 (various cobalamins; commonly cyanocobalamin in vitamin supplements) is essential in the production of blood cells in bone marrow. The supplement also contains vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, which aids in many illnesses as it is linked to the proper production of DNA. Also added is Biotin, the main ingredient in hair/nail/skin supplements. Choline Bitartrate is used in the production of cell membranes, and linked to memory and muscle control. Inositol is produced from glucose, and has an important role as a messenger between cells. So far, so bamboozling.
The full ingredients list are as follows:
Bulking Agents (Microcrystalline Cellulose, Dicalcium Phosphate), Choline Bitartrate, Inositol, Pantothenic Acid (as d-Calcium Pantothenate), PABA (ParaAminobenzoic Acid), Anti-Caking Agents (Silicon Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate), Niacin (as Nicotinamide), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Glazing Agents (Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Glycerine, Carnauba Wax), Folic Acid, Biotin (as d-Biotin), Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin).
The supplement is guaranteed free of:
No Artificial Colours, Flavours or Sweeteners. No added Sugar or Salt. No preservatives. No Starch, No Corn, No Soya, No Milk, No Lactose, No Gluten, No Wheat, No Yeast, No Fish, No Porcine.
They are vegetarian/vegan friendly.
General advice: Don't take if you are allergic to any of the ingredients (duh). Don't give them to children. Don't exceed 2 tablets a day. If you vomit, don't take your supplement again. Store in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
The tablets come in a blue-tinged bottle with a flip-top lid. The lid is really stiff and annoying, but it's probably me being weak and ineffective.
Holland & Barrett are not currently the only company that provides vitamin B in a strong enough potency for my needs, but they are one I trust, especially their guarantee that all their products contain the freshest and highest quality ingredients. As you can see from the break-down above, many of the supplements are over the RDA, but these aren't in harmful amounts. They are also the only source currently available with a mixture of various vitamin B clusters in one single tablet.
While they may have worked for my family, they may not be for everyone. The B vitamin cluster are generally recommended for those with metabolic disorders, depression, alcoholism, who have higher risks of cancers, those who are anaemic because of dietary restrictions, or those generally unwell. While there is nothing stopping a perfectly healthy person with a varied diet taking them, they may not see dramatic results. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking these supplements just in case.
Currently £17.99 at Holland & Barrett for 250 tablets, which is a lot of money, but they are often included in the Holland & Barrett "penny sale" and there is cash-back available when buying online through certain sites.
Everyone in my house takes these tablets, and all of us have seen results, but they do vary. It also took a few months to notice any potential effects. The only downsides of taking these are that they taste absolutely vile, and because of the size of the tablet they are quite difficult to swallow (for me - no one else has a problem). For your information, they also make your pee look like highlighter fluid. These are very small 'issues' and they do not stop me taking these tablets.
Taking Holland & Barrett - Complete B Vitamin B Complex is a relatively easy and painless way to top up what you might be missing. Everyone needs a boost sometimes.
For more information, visit http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=60&prodid=667
If you are concerned at all about your health, in relation to supplements or not, always contact your GP.