“Why do we need vitamin B complex? Principally for our nerves. It maintains the normal rhythm of the heart. In a deficiency, irregular heart rhythm may occur. This is a loss of teamwork among the heart muscle areas, where, instead of all contracting together, one part contracts while another part relaxes. This is, of course, very inefficient.” —Dr. Royal Lee, “Cost of Malnutrition,” Let’s Live Magazine, 1958
The first B vitamin was discovered in the 1890s by Christiaan Eijkman. Known as thiamine (vitamin B1), it was soon found to be helpful in the treatment of beriberi, a condition in which the heart stops beating. As the disease progressed in afflicted patients, they developed burning sensations and tingling in their extremities, as well as a loss of sensation leading to numbness. Many sufferers died of heart failure, with autopsies showing degeneration of the nerve fibers and heart muscles.
More than a century later, heart disease is still with us. According to the CDC, it was the number one cause of death in 2010—even though it’s long been known that heart disease is avoidable. Unfortunately, the common commercial vitamin B supplement is a synthetic form and not the whole-food form the heart needs.
Since the B-vitamin family was discovered, it’s been associated with correcting heart conditions and other afflictions of the nervous system. But B vitamins aren’t mentioned in relation to congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and other heart issues.
So what makes the heart beat? The short answer is electricity. A small electrical current is generated by a group of muscle cells in the walls of the heart known as the cardiac conduction system. When this system works as it should, you have a healthy heart. But how does it generate the electrical current in the first place? That’s right—the all-important B vitamins. The evidence backs this up. Research shows that vitamin B1 (thiamine) is needed to treat beriberi. And additional research shows that vitamin B4 plays a key role as the “anti-paralytic factor.” (C.A. Elvehjem, Journal of Nutrition, June 10, 1937.)
However, you won’t find vitamin B4 in commercial B vitamins—unless they’re whole-food B concentrates. And, of course, you’ll also find them in food containing vitamin B.
Personally, I enjoy the health benefits of taking whole-food vitamin B concentrates from Standard Process—and the rhythm of my heart beats like a drum.
Want to get into the rhythm? Talk to your practitioner about Standard Process whole-food supplements and dietary changes you can make today to keep your heart healthy for all the days to come.
Photo from iStock/nattrass