Category Archives: Skin Detox

What do the B complex vitamins do? | The ABCs of Vitamins

B complex made simple

You know by now if you have been following this series on The ABCs of the Vitamins that vitamins come in different forms and that is especially true of the B vitamins.B complex made simple

There are several of them…

It started with Thiamine

There was a widespread disease amongst sailors and prisoners – that is amongst people with a poor diet. The main symptoms were muscle wasting, irregular heart beat and mental confusion.

The disease was called Beriberi and was first noticed in China as early as 2600 BC but it was only explained as a vitamin deficiency and its actual identity found in the years from 1901 to the 1930s in a series of experiments.

The two most central scientists awarded a Nobel Prize for their achievements.

Thiamine, also written as thiamin, was the first of the B vitamins to be found and was called vitamin “B” because it cured Beriberi.

This was a disease that was widespread amongst people who eat white rice and was cured by eating brown rice or by continuing to eat white rice and take some thiamine.

What is wrong with white rice?

Grains of rice have an outer husk which is removed in milling to get whole rice or whole meal rice. If this brown rice is milled any further the rice germ and the bran are removed and the most important nutrients are lost.

The white rice that is produced is a nutritionally deficient non food or semi food broadly comparable to white bread.

Governments have recognised this by requiring that a small amount of the missing vitamins is returned as a powder and this partially repaired food is then called “fortified” or “enriched”. In truth it is still a deficient food and my advice is to avoid any food that is labelled “enriched” or “fortified”.

The wholemeal version of rice is far better. An occasional use of white rice in a particular recipe is OK but habitual use is not recommended.

One by one further members of the B vitamins were found and so as well as a unique chemical name such as thiamine or riboflavin they are also called B1 and B2 and so on.

At present we have B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12 plus some other vitamins who are unofficial members of the B vitamin family. Let's take a look at them one by one…

Vitamin B2, Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 was first found as a yellow pigment in milk. Now it is known to power a handful of important enzymes that help release and generate energy at a cellular level and to avoid deficiency diseases and symptoms.

 

  • Migraines – trials have shown that high doses of Riboflavin very effective at preventing migraine headaches. Lower doses may well be sufficient when used in intelligent combination with other vitamins and minerals such as magnesium citrate and CoQ10.

     

  • Cataracts – the evidence is mixed with some studies finding a connection between cataracts and others not finding a connection. Perhaps cataract formation depends on the absence of several anti-oxidants and enzymes and Riboflavin alone is not usually the key deficiency? I would expect diet to play a major role in the management of cataract and would advise a whole food plant based diet as well supplements of anti-oxidants and a B complex supplement containing of course riboflavin.

     

  • Cancer – not a disease one normally associates with Riboflavin, but studies in China show that low levels of Riboflavin are associated not just with breast cancer but with of Cervical cancer too. http://is.gd/tWYZpL

     

And this quote from a research paper caught my eye, “overt clinical signs of riboflavin deficiency are rarely seen among inhabitants of the developed countries. However, about 28 million Americans exhibit a common ‘sub-clinical’ stage “ Wiki; http://is.gd/saCfWx

The evidence base of big studies is growing but for you and me there is no need to wait – we can take safe and effective levels of these B vitamins now.

B3 Next

Now we get to Vitamin B3. It's chemical name is nicotinic acid, but it was quickly renamed as “niacin” because Doctors were scared that people would think that nicotine was good for them!

B3 was discovered during the search for a cure of the disease of Pellagra which was common in the 18th Century. Pellagra produces dermatitis and many other serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, confusion and even dementia.

Like many other B vitamins niacin works to help the body release energy from the food we eat. It also functions in detoxification pathways in the liver and in the regulation of blood sugar.

High doses of niacin produce a flushing sensation in the skin for some people which can last for several minutes. Other forms of B3 which do not produce this “niacin flush” are available – or you could just use lower doses or divided doses.

The reason that so many are interested in taking large doses of niacin is that some arterial problems – often called heart problems – respond to niacin therapy.

Niacin lowers high cholesterol and raises HDL – the so called good cholesterol. More to the point it reduces mortality – the chances of dying from heart disease.

And there is a form of niacin that works without the flushing effect. It is called Inositol Hexaniacinate. This increases blood flow and is used to reduce leg cramps caused while walking, intermittent claudication, and in the cold hands and feet disease, Raynauds.

After vitamin B3 you might expect B4 but in the history of vitamins some of the natural chemicals found in foods which were thought to be vitamins and given a number were later identified as other nutrients instead.

So we skip along to B6

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine

All of the various members of the B vitamin family work together but if there is one star performer then it has to be B6. It helps more than 60 enzyme reactions in the body including the metabolism of amino acids – the building blocks of proteins and works with the Essential Fatty Acids – the Omega 3 and 6 acids.

Where to begin?

Several of the B vitamins help preserve the health of the skin and B6 does too. Without an adequate amount we may suffer eczema or dermatitis around the eyes, ears, mouth and even cracking of the lips and tongue.

Other disorders that may respond well to B6 therapy are PMS, carpel tunnel syndrome and some types of depression.

Like the other members of the “B team” vitamin B6 is water soluble and its level may vary a lot during a day making it useful for us to eat several foods rich in pyridoxine routinely.

Speaking of which…

brewer's yeast, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, soy beans and Walnuts are good food sources of B6.

Asthma is a chronic disease that is at epidemic levels especially amongst children. I suffered a lot from asthma during my childhood and even had some bouts of bronchospasm and wheezing as an adult.

Asthma studies vary. Here (http://is.gd/EWuZza) is a small study of steroid dependant asthma where high dose pyridoxine had no effect and here (http://is.gd/h7neGN) is a larger study in children where there was significant improvement. In my view it is best to work with an health care practitioner who is experienced in the use of nutritional therapies and can help you optimise your diet, pyridoxine and other lifestyle factors.

Autism is an exciting area of research. It is a wide term and there are probably many different types and causes of autism and using B6 may not benefit all those affected – in fact it may only help some 20% of autistic individuals. Nonetheless the ability of B6 to alter neurotransmitters and in particular serotonin does have benefits for some autistic kids, especially when used in combination with magnesium and riboflavin.

It's worth quoting the last sentence of this study, “The data suggest that these children with severe bronchial asthma had a metabolic block in tryptophane metabolism, which was benefited by long-term treatment with large doses of pyridoxine. ”

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Most people working with computers are familiar with this. A wave of awareness of this problem of overuse or wrong use of the wrist together with low intake of B6 combine to give pain in the wrist, tingling and numbness. Those who do not know of vitamin B6 go for surgery and those do know of nutritional therapy just take B6 at gradually increasing doses to see what works for them.

We'll end our tour of this versatile vitamin by looking at its role in the circulation and in heart disease.

First let's look at prevention which is always the best way to cure any disease! Those with low levels of B6 in their blood were found to have 5 times the chances of having a heart attack.

We need to mention a toxin next; it is called homocysteine and occurs in the body when the amino acid methionine is recycled unsuccessfully because it does not have enough B6 to do the job properly.

So the homocysteine is not removed from the blood and remainas there and as it circulates it damages the artery walls.

As a result of this damage cholesterol is used to repair the damage because it is like putty. As the cholesterol piles up on the wound it restricts the flow of blood and sets up a higher pressure.

This damage is not necessary and cholesterol is not an enemy. If there is an enemy it is homocysteine, but actually we can handle that by using B6 and probably a few of its B team buddies too.

The whole battle against cholesterol and all the blah blah about LDL and HDL is a result of lacking clear knowledge of the ABCs of Vitamins and especially the B complex vitamins – the B team.

We'll discuss homocysteine again fully in its own article but let's just end this discussion by saying that monitoring it and your C-Reactive Protein level is much more effective and important than keeping track of cholesterol data.

Finally we turn to PMS, which is something else that B6 is good with!

There are different types of PMS so it is a little complex. Nevertheless it is true that B6 alone will help most patients in the sense of reducing the symptoms and discomfort, pressure and pain involved.

In cases where extra help is needed a B complex supplement often helps and a substantial dose of magnesium too.

Nutrients work in teams and often research ends with no result precisely because the study is badly designed and is testing one nutrient against particular symptoms in order to be clear.

This is perfectly understandable from a research perspective but we want solid help here and not data so we use nutrients along with dietary reform and lifestyle changes such as relaxation and breathing exercises to get the best results.

Another big issue is dosage. Often a study uses a dosage that is too small or else uses a synthetic version of a nutrient that knowledgable Practitioners simply would not use.

To get the health changes you want it's vital to take the right dosage of the right version of the vitamin so let's close after we discuss that a little.

Dosage of Vitamin B6

I have taken 100 mg daily of pyridoxine along with the other B complex vitamins daily for more years than I care to remember and not experienced anything other than more energy.

The B vitamins are water soluble and are used by the body on the day you take the supplement. The doses we take in nutritional use are such that the vast majority of people experience only benefit and if any tingling or flushing is experienced then we simply stop for a wee while and try again.

Normal range of dosage is usually taken to be 50 to 100 mg daily from a high quality company – see below for a few suggestions.

Next we hop along to B7, B8, B9, B10, B11 B12 !

Vitamin B12

Most vitamins are small in size and simple in structure but this one is a biggie – it is based on a metal or mineral, called cobalt and so is called cobalamin.

B12 works along with B6 and Folate to detox homocysteine and so prevent it from damaging your arteries. As written above the B vitamins work together so you can see that just taking ONE vitamin by itself is not going to be enough to help us in most cases.

A deficiency of B12 results in a kind of anaemia, called pernicious anaemia. Mostly we think of Iron when we hear of anaemia but often it is the B complex vitamins that matter more. We may even have a high level of iron and be anaemic and in need of B vitamin therapy.

Cobalamin is only needed in trace amounts and is only made by bacteria. Most people will get tiny amounts from their diet but if you want an insurance policy that you are getting enough or want to use all the B vitamins as part of an anti homocysteine therapy then you'll need to get a B12 supplement which is derived from bacteria – neither plants nor animals can make B12.

B12 Supplements

Here is one good brand, although I would recommend that everyone check labels before buying since we are all unique and need to avoid whatever we are allergic to. This is a vegan supplement so apart from allergies it should suit most people.

3 forms of vitamin B12 in one bottle from Now Foods

And here is a very clever B12 from Now Foods. What caught my eye was that they have included 3 different froms of B12 so if your body does not quite like one form they have you covered. Again, read labels folks but this looks good.

And please bear in mind that Nature designed vitamins to work together so a B12 supplement is great but we also need a good B Complex supplement rather than taking a seperate B1s and B2s and all the rest of the B team. It does make good sense to take more a particular B vitamin when you find that you need more of it.

Here are some good B Complex supplements that may be worth using in your routine.

Vitamin B Complex tablet - active coenzyme form with added vitamin C

The best I could see is this B Complex from Now Foods. What I liked was that it had a nice dose of Lipoic acid and a little CoQ10 and even 60 mg of one of my fave forms of vitamin C – magnesium ascorbate on top of a good B complex.

And the vitamins are in an activated enzyme form that allows them to be useed more easily by your body.

All in a vegetarian and vegan tablet.

What's not to like about this?

OK, you want a capsule because you don't like tablets?

Try this Kosher B complex with vitamin C – it is a Kosher accredited vegetarian and vegan capsule which impressed me a lot by including a whole gram of vitamin C as well as healthy B complex vitamins and a non flush version of B3.

You can find it at Amazon but they don't show you the full ingredients there. Go direct to the Bluebonnet website to see a complete lablel and all the details.

Any questions?

Ask them either in the Comment section below or on my Facebook page.

 

 

 

Castor Oil Magic For Detox and Healing

organic castor oilCastor Oil has a big reputation as a home remedy and very long usage in India where the Castor plant grows and from there spread to the West. In time, healers, Naturopaths and herbalists all picked up on the power of Castor Oil to help healing along in many different ways.

All the same there are many misconceptions about the oil and I graduated from several professional level Natural Health trainings without any lessons or even mention of Castor Oil and only learned about it in an unofficial apprenticeship with an experienced Polarity Therapist who was working in Sydney at the time.

So I've condensed a lot of good advice down to these 6 points so please ask me any questions I have not covered here.

Seven Tips To Help You Make the Most of Castor Oil

 

  1. Do not swallow it and never, ever take Castor Oil by mouth!

    All of the power of Castor Oil is obtained by topical use – straight on to the skin.

    If you are silly enough – as I was once – to swallow some then you will have to spend some extra time in the bathroom. I took a sip of what I thought was water and realised quickly what I had done. It was only a sip but it still made a difference to my bowel movements over the next day or so.

    Why this happens is because there is one natural chemical in the oil which irritates the inner lining of the gut. To deal with the irritation the body moves water into the gut to dilute and expel the cause.

    This is how the body deals with parasites. Yes this does produce bowel movements but it also irritates a vital tissue and produces dehydration. Neither of these is good and so please never take Castor Oil by mouth!

    Ever!

    And to cure constipation we should take extra vitamin C – at least 1 gram a day. Many Naturopaths and Nutritionists take about 5 grams a day and have done so for decades. It is very hard to get constipated if you get the proper amount of this vital vitamin!

    Cleaning up the diet will also cure constipation. Eating more vegetables and more fruit daily does the trick. Government advice is to take 5 a day and much better advice is 9 a day.

     

  2. Castor Oil for the skin.

    Now we're talking! Castor oil is a wonderfully safe and effective skin oil. You can use it on cuts and scrapes and wounds of just about any kind. Wash the wound first of course but then Castor Oil will help the healing.

    It is also great for the hair and can be used as a massage oil with a punch!

    It has real power to increase the drainage in the area covered. So if you have painful or arthritic joints a massage once or twice a day with Castor oil is simple easy and effective. If that does not give you the relief you want then boost your vitamin C, add more veggies to your diet and get to see a Naturopath to get 1 on 1 help.
     

  3. The Castor Oil Pack This is the most powerful way to benefit from the healing power of Castor Oil. It is simple to put together and use although a little messy – you are using a skin oil after all! And although Castor Oil is wonderful for the skin it will mark cloths and towels and bedding so some people use old sheets and towels used exclusively for their Castor Oil packs.
     

  4. Now for the “How To”

    Warm Castor oil is poured onto a wool or cotton cloth. You can use any clean scrap of cloth or tea towel or buy a new one! The gentlest way to warm the oil is to stand the castor oil bottle in a dish or hot water. Do not heat the oil directly!

    The cloth with Castor Oil on it is placed on top of a sheet of “Cling film” / Plastic wrap or similar. The only purpose of this is to keep the oil where you want it.

    A big towel is the final layer of the pack. Once the warm oil has been applied to the cloth all 3 layers are picked up and wrapped around the area to be treated.

    That is usually the lower abdomen – around and below the navel or can be around a knee joint or shoulder or the neck. I know that many place the pack near the liver but this is not sensible in my view. The pack works on the lymphatics and they focus on the colon!

    A heat pad or hot water bottle is generally used to help the process along. Whatever source of heat you use, do take care not to use uncomfortable levels of heat and to use equipment safely.

    During the Castor Oil pack relaxation and snoozing or at least sitting still is advised. The packs are used for an hour or so at a time then the parts can be stored away. Only a little oil is used each time so a bottle will give several treatments.

    Very busy people who cannot find time during their day for a Castor Oil Pack go to bed with Castor Oil packs on but remember my caution about marking towels and sheets!

    It is fine to use 2 Castor Oil packs at once to treat different areas of the body at the same time.
     

  5. Lymphatic Drainage

    Half of the body's circulation gets all the limelight and that is the Cardiovascular system. The other half is largely ignored and that is the lymphatic circulation.

    The people who do pay attention to it are the Naturopaths and herbalists and doing so is one of the secrets to healing fast and fully.

    The main power of the Castor Oil Pack and all applications of Castor oil works through the lymphatic system. By encouraging drainage from inflammations and fresh blood to the inflamed area healing is accelerated.

  6.  

    Castor Oil Powers

    Whether you apply Castor Oil to the skin by hand or via a Pack you are using the fact that Castor Oil is anti-biotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal and you have a very powerful natural remedy with a very wide range of uses.

  7. Buy Organic! Whether you want to have a bottle at hand for everyday scrapes or to use in Castor Oil Packs as part of a healing or Detox Programme it is best to use Organic Castor Oil. Even though Castor Oil should not be taken internally by mouth – see point 1 above – you still want a pure oil for your skin. The photo opening this post is the Castor Oil I use and is available in local shops here in the UK. I have also used Heritage brand Castor Oil and that is distributed in the US and via Amazon.com

Heritage organic castor oilSo that is my seven point summary of the uses and benefits of Castor Oil. Please do chime in below with your experience and questions.

 

Skin Detox – Step By Step

Most detox programmes focus on the colon or the liver both of which are crucial for our health. But with so much interest in Detox and Cleansing it is natural to want to be able to detox your skin.

The skin is the biggest organ of the body and like the liver and the colon it is a detox organ. It excretes toxins by sweating and can absorb them too by contact because the skin can absorb small molecules from patches such as a nicotine patch. And it's not just nicotine but other small molecules some of which are toxins and pollutants and some of which are medicines that can get into the body via the skin.

So how do we do a skin detox? Here are some steps…

We can start with a Clay bath.

Before you start thinking of wallowing in mud like a hippopotamus this is special and selected fine French clay I have in mind. All we need to do is put a small handful of clay in the water of a comfortably hot bath and enjoy the relaxing effect. That's all, no soap, no bubbles– just fine powdered clay.

After, say, 20 minutes just rinse off under a shower and your skin will have been thoroughly and ever so gently cleaned.

Your skin needs nutrients just like your bones, nails and hair do and the major secret for improving the health of all these is vitamin C.

A few milligrams in a broad spectrum multivitamin does not have enough firepower to get the job done so if you want healthy skin make sure you take at least one gram a day of vitamin C.

This is easy and powerful and one pill gives you many times more than you'll get from an Orange or several  glasses of Orange juice.

Other nutrients matter too. Sebum is a natural oil that is produced by small glands deep in the skin. Excessive oiliness can contribute to acne as can overproduction of outer layers of the skin, again conditions conducive to acne.

Vitamin A keeps sebum in check and vitamin D keeps skin production in check. So if you lack proper amounts of these basic vitamins you are opening the way to acne and to a poor skin condition – what you might call junk skin or toxic skin.

This is part of the reason why your diet is part of having healthy skin – it provides the crucial vitamins your skin needs. The tiny doses provided by cheap multivitamin tablets are simply inadequate! Sorry to repeat this, I am trying to make a point!

At this stage your skin is cleansed and nourished – now you are ready for the detox.

Detox Herbs are the real nitty gritty detoxers. Whether you take them in a concentrated programme of special diet, herbal formulas and other special detox techniques or whether you want a simple detox tea to drink for a mild detox is totally up to you.

But a simple and high quality detox tea that works for the skin is called "Skin Detox", it is one of the Yogi range of herbal teas.

Like most herbal traditions this tea is a blend of synergistic ingredients all acting as a team with a single purpose – to Detox your skin.

Here are the ingredients – Burdock Root, Cardamom Seed, Dandelion Root, Green Tea Leaf, Hibiscus Flower, Honeybush, Orange Peel, Oregon Grape Root, Red Clover, Rose Petal, Stevia Leaf, Yellow Dock Root, and Natural Flavours

This is not just a "nice tea" – there are some major detox herbs here –Burdock, Dandelion,Red Clover etc. stand out so this will work on your entire body too and not just the skin.

More Techniques For Skin Detox

skin detox words One of the very best techniques to detox might get you rolling your eyes but hear me out first eh? it is a Home Sauna and I do not mean a purpose built cabin or cabinet but a low cost self-assembly unit that folds up and can be put away in a cupboard after use!

I have not used one of these yet – I saw them on Amazon when doing a search for something. 

Having your own sauna that you can put up in your bedroom or lounge and watch TV for 15 minutes whenever you want is super way to boost your entire health and not just detox your skin.

If your local gym has a sauna then check that out too but limit your time in the sauna to a few minutes at first and build up slowly. This is a powerful technique and should be treated with respect.

Have I covered all the methods we could use to detox your skin? No but I have covered the main ones and any you'd like to add just ask me in the comment section and I'll see what I can do, OK?