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VITAMIN B8 (Adenylic acid or inositol)

Vitamin B8 is a water-soluble fatty lipid that is required by the body for the formation of healthy cells and is synthesised by the body inside the intestines, in the presence of bacteria. It assists the other B vitamins to function more effectively and plays an important part in the health of cell membranes especially the specialised cells in the brain, bone marrow, eyes and intestines. Cell membranes are responsible for regulating the contents of the cells, to enable the cells to function correctly.

It also promotes healthy hair and hair growth and helps in controlling oestrogen levels. Inositol is needed for health at cellular level. A good concentration of inositol is found in the lens of the eye as well as the heart. Inositol is closely related to choline. The two work together to make neurotransmitters and the fatty substances for cell membranes, as well as helping to metabolise and move out fats from the liver.

Inositol is a ‘second messenger’, triggering the release of calcium in cells. It also is involved in the transmission of messages between neural cells and the transport of fats within cells. Its most important role seems to be in the central nervous system, where it serves to help transmit messages along neural pathways. It also improves the activity of serotonin. It has been found to be effective in treating cases of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and other neurological disorders.

Inositol is obtained from food from phytic acid, a substance found in the fibre of foods (phytic acid gets converted to inositol in the intestine) and from foods directly in the form of myo-inositol. Inositol plays a part in helping to lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Choline, inositol and methionine belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics which help the liver to process fat in the body.

Vitamin B8 has been shown to be effective in treating cases of Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, bulimia, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and other psychological disorders that respond to serotonin uptake inhibitors and as an analgesic for pain control.

Deficiency of vitamin B8

Deficiency can be caused by alcohol and coffee which block absorption of inositol. Antibiotics and many other medications and recreational drugs block B vitamins and vital co-factors like vitamin B8 from being absorbed. Stress and intense exercise uses up all nutrients (especially the B-group vitamins and their co-factors) at a much faster rate.

Symptoms of a deficiency of vitamin B8 may show as alopecia (patchy hair loss), anxiety, atherosclerosis, confusion, depression, eczema, constipation, fatigue, fatty liver, hair loss, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels, increased homocysteine levels, insomnia, loss of memory, tingling hands and vision and/or eye disorders.

Highest sources of vitamin B8 (200 mg plus per 100 grams)

  • Grapefruit

  • Oranges

  • Mandarin oranges

  • Cantaloupe

  • Kidney beans

  • English peas

  • Stone ground wheat

  • Swede (kohlrabi)

Highest sources of vitamin B8 (100 - 200 mg per 100 grams)

  • Green beans

  • Butter beans

  • Split peas

  • Black-eyed peas

  • Limes

  • Blackberries

  • Artichokes

  • Okra

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Nectarines

Highest sources of vitamin B8 (10 - 100 mg per 100 grams)

  • Mango

  • Prunes

  • Potatoes

  • Pumpkin

  • Soya beans

  • Carrots

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Watermelon

  • Cherries

  • Apricots

  • Squash

  • White kidney beans

  • Pinto beans

  • Butter beans

  • Aubergine

  • Bread fruit

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Asparagus

  • Peppers

  • Collard greens

  • Tomatoes

  • Courgettes

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