The Benefits of B vitamins

The Benefits of B vitamins

A vitamin is an essential nutrient. The human body cannot create its own vitamins, and if a specific vitamin is missing, predictable symptoms will occur. For example, if you don’t eat enough vitamin C symptoms of scurvy may appear. B vitamins are commonly prescribed in Naturopathic practice as they are an important part of good health and managing stress.

B vitamins are a group of water-soluble compounds which support energy production in cells. Most vitamins were discovered in the first half of the 20th century. Have you ever wondered why there is no vitamin B4? As we learn more about vitamins, science has revealed that some compounds which had been labeled as vitamins were in fact non-essential. The body could produce it’s own, or the compound was not needed for proper functioning. It’s kind of like when Pluto lost its planet status!

Why do we care about the demoted B vitamins? Orthomolecular medicine uses targeted doses of nutritional compounds to produce a therapeutic effect in the body. Although you won’t be deficient in vitamin B4, it may still help treat symptoms.

Formerly known as: Vitamin B4
Current name: Choline 

Choline’s biggest role in the body is being used to make acetylcholine which plays an important role in muscle contraction, hormone regulation and sleep. Choline is also involved in brain development, the formation of various lipids and works as a methyl donor. Genetic variations in methylation may play a role in depression.

Choline is being researched for it’s a potential role in treating fatty liver disease, high homoysteine, blepharospasm, hyperthyroidism and bipolar disorder.


Formerly known as: Vitamin B8
Current name: Inositol

Inositol exists in two forms, myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. Inositol is used to make phospholipids which are a key component of cell membranes. They are also used in the phosphatidylinositol cycle which is linked to the noradrenergic, serotonergic and cholinergic receptors. These receptors are important for alertness, mood regulation and muscle function. Inositol can also support uptake of glucose into the cells, leading to decreased sugar in the bloodstream.

Inositol may have the potential to prevent depression, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a favorite compound recommended by Cathryn Coe, ND to improve sleep, lower BP and cholesterol, and support balanced testosterone levels. *Note that inositol in any form is contraindicated in bipolar disorder as it may exacerbate symptoms.


Formerly known as: Vitamin B10
Current name: PABA

Research suggests PABA can increase the effect of estrogen and glucocorticoids in the body. As glucocorticoids have a strong anti-inflammatory effect on the body, it may have a therapeutic role in autoimmune conditions such as scleroderma, dermatomyositis, Dupuytren’s contracture, Peyronie’s disease. PABA is also used to make folic acid.

Most commonly, B vitamins are recommended in a B complex for patients experiencing stress, fatigue, low mood and difficulty losing weight. Feeling better overall helps us reach our health goals and can improve our sense of well being. Remember to take your B’s earlier in the day, with breakfast or lunch, and always with food.



Carpenter K, Baigent M. vitamin | Definition, Types, & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/vitamin. Published 2019. Accessed December 7, 2019.

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Pintaudi B, Di Vieste G, Bonomo M. The Effectiveness of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol Treatment in Type 2 Diabetes. Int J Endocrinol. 2016;2016:1-5. doi:10.1155/2016/9132052

Frank K, Patel K Examine.com. https://examine.com/. Published 2019. 

B  vitamins. En.wikipedia.org. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B_vitamins. Published 2019. Accessed December 7, 2019.




How can Naturopathic Medicine support concussions?

A concussion is a potentially debilitating condition that can be caused buy a variety of
injuries. While many are mild, some can have lasting effects. Many patients can heal
from a concussion with appropriate rest, but some need more support to fully heal.


Common symptoms following a concussion include:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disruption
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to smell and light


How can Naturopathic Medicine provide support?


1. Providing conditions for healing


  • Acupuncture may support nerve growth and repair, increase circulation,
    oxygenation of tissues, decrease inflammation, and improve cell signaling. It may
    also improve sleep quality and decrease anxiety.


  • Research has suggested to EAT MORE oily fish, turmeric, coconut oil, turmeric,
    and eggs may support recovery from a concussion.
  • Sugar and monosodium glutamate may worsen post-concussive symptoms so

Nutraceuticals that may support neurological healing

  • DHA/EPA:
    DHA promotes neurological repair and proper signaling between cells and
    between cells and their environment. Meanwhile, EPA supports mood regulation
    and decreases inflammation in the brain, allowing for healing.
  • Phosphatidylserine:
    Higher levels of this nutrient correlate to higher levels of many neurotransmitters. It supports messaging to the neuron, which promotes growth and regeneration of brain cells. This also supports our ability to handle stress, partially by decreasing cortisol production.
  • Vitamin B12:
    This vitamin is important for the remyelination of neural axons, which supports communication between brain cells. This nutrient may also help decrease glutamate toxicity. Glutamate can leak out of cells following injury, causing symptoms such as headaches.


2. Hormonal dysregulation

About half of people who experience a major head injury will experience a hormonal
imbalance. Why? The pituitary gland in the brain regulates most of the main hormones.
It’s anatomy leaves it vulnerable to damage during trauma.

What can be done?

Hormonal testing
Naturopathic doctors have access to a wide variety of hormonal testing to fit the
patient’s needs. This could include testing specific markers in the blood, comprehensive
urine or saliva panels.

Herbal support
Depending on the imbalance which needs correction, herbal support is effective for
many patients.

Bio-identical hormones
Hormones such as progesterone may be prescribed as needed. Progesterone acts as a
neurosteroid. It calms the nervous system, which can support sleep. It can also
decrease inflammation allowing the brain to heal.


3. Providing symptomatic relief

Intravenous therapies

Receiving nutrients intravenously allows for 100% absorption and higher doses to be
delivered directly to the tissues. This has the potential to speed up recovery time.

  • Glutathione
    After the neurons are injured, reactive oxygen species (ROS) build up in the tissues. The prolonged presence of ROS slows recovery. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that supports the removal of ROS. It is also a key planner in the immune system of the brain. Most supplemental forms are destroyed bystomach acid, so this nutrient is frequently recommended as an IV.

If you think that we have suffered a concussion, Naturopathic Physicians cannot diagnose a concussion  through brain imaging. Please contact your family physician or go to your nearest hospital. If you are recovering from a diagnosed or suspected concussion, our Naturopathic Physicians are happy to provide support through consultation and recommendation of a treatment plan. For more information, contact us at 604-929-5772.


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neuroinflammation. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2019:100788.

Skin and Stress

Skin and Stress

Why is my eczema flaring up?

We are approaching spring and normally this time of year I would be discussing seasonal allergies and healing skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis) from winter exacerbation. Cold weather, dry homes and warm layers can make these conditions worse.


Self-Isolation & Fear of COVID-19

With the ongoing stress of isolation and fear of the Covid-19 virus, conditions that can be made worse by stress are a worrisome reminder that this is the new norm for a while. So why has your skin worsened?


Cortisol, which is our stress hormone and produced as a fight or flight response, can decrease our immune system. Prolonged stress actually can cause “leaky gut syndrome”, which allows foods that are poorly digested to form antigens in the blood stream, to which we form antibodies. This antigen/antibody complex is what causes inflammation on the skin.

Food Sensitivities

I always say to patients that certain foods react differently in the body depending on how much stress you are under. That vanilla milkshake that you enjoyed on vacation last summer never aggravated your eczema. Fast forward to today and you enjoyed another…big flare up. So what can you do now?


Here are 5 things you can do at home to help heal your skin:


1. Cut out potential allergens

Consider cutting down on dairy, eggs and gluten. These three foods are considered the three most common allergens. If you are in quarantine, it’s not necessarily the time to be picky about what you eat. Try rice, oats, quinoa; fresh or frozen veg, and some type of protein. Tofu, beans, meat or canned fish.

2. Over-hydration during meals

Try not to hydrate at meal time. Drinking large amounts of fluids dilutes your acid and enzyme levels, and can lead to poorly digested food.

3. Warm water and lemon

Start your day off with warm water and lemon juice. You can use one lemon wedge (make sure to wash it well first), or if you don’t have fresh lemons, about a teaspoon from a bottle is fine.

4. Supplements

Consider a B vitamin or multi vitamin if you have one a home. B vitamins can really help with our body’s stress response.

5. Eat gut-healing foods

Look at healing foods such as pumpkin seeds (full or zinc), fish (omega 3 fats), green cabbage (contains l-glutamine which helps to heal the gut), and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, tempeh and miso.

If you would like further information on how Naturopathic Medicine can heal your skin condition, we are currently booking telephone consultations. Stay safe and healthy!

Cathryn Coe, ND