Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Burkemper

What Do B Vitamins Do Specifically? What To Do About Heavy Periods?

Q: I feel it is important for me to take a B-Complex daily, but I would really like to know what each of the B vitamins do specifically. Can you give me a breakdown?

A: Great question. I also feel that a B-Complex is beneficial to most everyone, particularly if you are under any type of stress. B vitamins are critical in maintaining a healthy nervous system. B vitamins work best together, sort of like a football team. When all of the players work together, you get a much better result. You can always add additional single B’s if needed (B-12 for example).

  • B1 (Thiamine) – Helps protect nerve tissue. Has an essential role in the conversion of blood sugar into energy and is key in metabolic reactions in the heart. Alcohol is particularly damaging to B1.
  • B2 (Riboflavin) – Works with an enzyme to help create energy and to inhibit free radical damage to the body. It is a strong antioxidant.
  • B3 (Niacin) – Aids in the production of energy in the cells, assists in regulating blood sugar levels, and helps to reduce high cholesterol and to prevent high blood pressure.
  • B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – Crucial for healthy adrenal glands and hormone production. Also needed for healthy digestion and the production of antibodies.
  • B6 (Pyridoxine) – Critical for the functioning of over 60 essential enzymes. Also necessary for the production of nucleic acids, protein, red blood cells, immune cells and neurotransmitters.
  • B12 (Cyanocobalamin) – Necessary for red blood cell formation and normal growth. Used therapeutically for mental and nervous disorders. Promotes energy and can counteract allergens.

All B vitamins are water-soluble; therefore, any excess is naturally excreted from the body. This is the reason that we must continually replenish our stores. Alcohol, coffee, heavy perspiration and drugs can destroy B vitamins.

Q: My menstrual periods are very heavy. Is there anything I can do to alleviate some of the bleeding and cramping?

A: You may want to try Red Raspberry. It is a well known female tonic which really does help alleviate excessive menstrual bleeding and cramping. It is also used to relieve morning sickness in pregnant women. Try it in capsule form or a tincture for best results.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.
Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Burkemper, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011. www.morethanherbsonline.com.