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Natural Connectors: Be at One

Vitamins B3, B6, B12, And Folic Acid: A Brain's Best Friends
B vitamins are the real workers in the enzymes that turn one brain chemical into another and keep you feeling happy and connected.

For some enzymes, you need vitamin B3; for others, B6, B12, or folic acid. Not surprisingly, deficiency of any one of these vitamins leads to disconnection and is associated with depression, hallucinations, and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness marked by a sense of disconnection from the self, others, and reality. Supplementing with these B vitamins has the reverse effect, dramatically improving mental and emotional well-being.

As long ago as 1957, in the first double-blind study of its kind, Canadian psychiatrists Humphrey Osmond and Abram Hoffer proved that supplementing niacin normalized behavior in those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Dr. Hoffer, who is now in his eighties and is still actively practicing in Victoria, British Columbia, has treated more than 5,000 schizophrenic patients. He claims an 80 percent success rate using vitamin B3 and other connector nutrients. (His definition of cure: free of symptoms and able to socialize and pay income tax!)

Hoffer and Osmond were also among the first scientists to investigate the chemistry of mescaline, the entheogen found in the peyote cactus. This research formed the basis for their theories on the use of nutrients to treat the mentally ill who suffer from frightening hallucinations. Their theories have proven correct, and, to this day, Hoffer believes an optimal intake of nutrients is essential to be mentally balanced as well as naturally high. Dr. Osmond also introduced author Aldous Huxley to mescaline, providing the inspiration for Huxley's famous book The Doors of Perception (from which Jim Morrison named his band, The Doors).

Meanwhile, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer at the Brain-Bio Center in Princeton had also been investigating the chemistry of the brain in relation to mental health and illness. He discovered that a deficiency in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and zinc (pyridoxine is "activated" in the body by a zinc-dependent enzyme) also created schizophrenia. Supplementing vitamin B6 and zinc corrected this abnormal chemistry and improved the mental health and experience of connection in people with schizophrenia.

Research at King's College Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry in London found that one-third of all patients with either severe depression or schizophrenia were deficient in folic acid. Supplementing folic acid for six months made a big difference in their symptoms and ability to relate. Folic acid, together with vitamin B12, is needed to turn tryptophan into serotonin and tyrosine into dopamine. It appears, then, that without these vitamins, the higher brain centers simply can't work properly.

Of course, the effect of these nutrients in isolation is not nearly as powerful as they are in combination, and, consequently, it is best to supplement them daily to enhance connection.

Take B vitamins and minerals in the dosages noted below.

Niacin comes in two forms – niacin and niacinamide. At doses above 25-50 mg, niacin causes a flush. This effect is beneficial in many ways, but it's not to everyone's liking. Depending on your own response, supplement no more than 25-50 mg of niacin, and take the rest as niacinamide.

B Vitamins
How they work: Cofactors for making neurotransmitters; vital for enzymes that control the chemistry of connection; act as methyl group donors and acceptors.

Positive effects: Improve engery, memory, mood and concentration; enhance connection; help to prevent the unpleasant hallucinations experienced in some types of schizophrenia.

Cautions: None when taken in sensible doses. Excess B3 and B6 can have adverse effects (above 1,000 mg a day). B3 as niacin acts as a vasodilator, improving circulation and causing flushing at doses above 50 mg.

Dosage: 25-50 mg of vitamin B3 (niacin); 100 mg of niacinamide; 25-50 mg of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine); 50-100 mcg of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin); and 400-800 mcg of folic acid. Plus the following B vitamins for balance: 50 mg of vitamin B1 (thiamine); 25 mg of viatmin B2 (riboflavin); 50 mg of choline; and 50 mg of inositol.

The minerals below are necessary cofactors that help with the assimilation of the B vitamins.

Minerals Daily Dose
Zinc 15-25 mg
Manganese 5-10 mg
Magnesium 400 mg


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From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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