Well, this one has been a long time coming, welcome back to the vitamin break down series! It’s been a while since I’ve updated this series. These posts seek to explore the different vitamins, look why you need them and tell you where to get them.
So, today’s breakdown is a tad controversial, (in a very none controversial way), as we’ll be looking at vitamin B8. As it stands, B8 isn’t really known or considered as a true vitamin anymore. It is the former designation given to several distinct chemical compounds: Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP) and Inositol. Inositol however is how I’ve seen it referred to in the majority of the research I completed for this post.
Inositol is a type of sugar. Inositol can be found in many forms (called isomers). The most common forms are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.While you likely need some inositol every day to maintain your health, its functions in your body are not as thoroughly investigated as those of other vitamins.
Inositol is found in many plants and animals. It is also produced in the human body and can be made in a laboratory. It is made inside the body by intestinal bacteria. Our body can make its own inositol from glucose with the help of intestinal bacteria. Hence, external sources are of help only in conditions when the body is incapable of making its own vitamin.
Such as it’s B vitamin brethren, it’s a water soluble vitamin. As it is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored from external sources in the body and excess ingested amounts of it are flushed out with urine.
Although B8 is required in very small amounts by the body, it’s important to ensure it’s still obtained daily through the diet. Don’t get too anxious though, followed by vitamin B3 (niacin), our body has the second highest store of inositol, likely owed to the fact it can produce it so easily.
One major function of B8 is aiding in cell communication. Cells interact with each other via chemical signals – one cell releases a signalling molecule, such as a hormone, and then another cell receives and interprets that chemical message. Inositol helps your cells to interpret the chemical messages they receive so they can react accordingly, for example, helping your cells divide when they receive chemical signals telling them to grow. Defects in inositol signalling cause a breakdown in cell communication, and these defects are linked to diseases such as cancer.
Vitamin B8 has many other important functions to its credit. It is required for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins for the production of glucose. It is involved in the uptake and utilisation of glucose by the cells hence converting it to energy.
Not only does inositol, as a form of glucose, enhance the performance of cells as part of the membrane that surrounds all cells, it also helps in the processing of fat in our liver while keeping our muscles and nerves working properly.
B8 also acts as a mild lipotropic agent in the body meaning it can help to accelerate the breakdown of fat during metabolism. This has been seen in particular in overweight and obese individuals.
Immune & Nervous Systems
Inositol is required for maintaining a healthy immune system, thereby protecting the body against infection. Various research and clinical trials have suggested that inositol is necessary for the normal growth and survival of the human body. B8 keeps blood pressure in check, through its promotion of effective blood flow via the arteries.
Inositol is very important for the appropriate functioning of the nervous system.Its supplementation provides relief to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. It plays an active role in maintaining the healthy functioning of the nervous system in diabetic individuals. This can be seen by how it provides relief to diabetic nephropathy patients suffering from pain and numbness in the hands and legs.
Mental Health & Hormones
Vitamin B8 might also help maintain your mental health whilst improving cognition. Brain cells have inositol in their cell membranes, and getting enough inositol helps your nerves respond properly to neurotransmitters, the chemicals your brain cells use for communication. It might also help the hormone insulin to work better, which goes back to B8’s supporting role in metabolism.
B8 has also shown potential for treating a host psychological disorders. What makes it effective in treating psychological conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and a number of other conditions, is its ability to influence how much serotonin is available to be supplied to nerves in the brain. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support insostol’s uses for these conditions
Vitamin B8 seems to help reduce the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, a hormonal disorder that causes weight gain, irregular periods, infertility and diabetes.
It is also taken to prevent complications during pregnancy such as neural tube birth defects (birth defects that involve the brain and spinal cord) and for preventing the side effects of a drug called lithium.
B8 might also help relieve severe pre-menstrual syndrome, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center. Taking inositol under a doctor’s orders might also help treat metabolic syndrome linked to the syndrome as it lowers the high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Food Sources of Vitamin B8
Deficiency of vitamin B8 is unlikely. However, a word of caution for coffee lovers, excessive coffee can deplete the vitamin stores.
B8 is found in several healthy foods. Sources of vitamin B8 consist of the following:
▪ whole grains
▪ egg yolk
▪ swiss chard
Other sources include the following:
▪ wheat germ
▪ all citrus fruits except lemons
▪ lima beans
Alrighty, hope that this post has given you a little insight into another vitamin on the vitamin alphabet, even if this one is hanging around on the vitamin status peripheries. Please like, share and comment if this was of any help whatsoever! Till next time.