According to the Healthiest Workplace survey, a research conducted by AIA Vitality, Malaysians generally recorded longer working hours with an average of 12 hours a day. More than half of the respondents in the survey indicated that they had less than seven hours of sleep everyday while 17% of employees reported they felt tired and fatigued every day. Other key findings of the survey include:
1. Organisations lose a total of 73.3 days per employee due to absence and presenteeism (being at work when unwell).
2. 16% of employees have low or very low levels of engagement at work.
3. 32% of employees have one or more chronic conditions (kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer).
4. 90% do not eat a balanced diet
The common signs or symptoms of work-related stress include fatigue, muscle tension and pains, headaches, anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope, an increase in sick days, a drop in work performance, mood swings and irritability. There are 13 types of vitamins that our body needs and 8 of them are from the vitamin B group (or B-complex), namely B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. In fact, there are actually 12 types of vitamin B. So, what happened to the other four vitamins B (B4, B8, B10 and B11)? They are no longer considered a requirement for normal human growth. Vitamin B complex usually delivers eight types of vitamin B: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) B3, (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6(pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin). They are found naturally in meat, leafy vegetables, dairy, beans, peas and whole or fortified grains. Vitamin B complex plays an essential role in certain body functions, which includes helping the body to make energy from the food we consume, forming red blood cells and maintaining healthy nerve functions.
Even though vitamin B are found in many foods, they are water soluble vitamins and are generally quite delicate. They are easily excreted through urine and destroyed, particularly by alcohol and through cooking or washing during food storage and preparation. Food processing can also reduce the amounts of vitamin B in foods, either by destroying them or removing the parts that contain vitamin B such as white bread and white rice. Our body has limited capacity to store most vitamin B except vitamin B12 and folate (B9), which are stored in the liver. A person who has a poor diet for a few months may end up being deficient in vitamin B. Thus, a vitamin B complex supplement is a good choice to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B.
Pregnant women – Vitamin B are particularly important during pregnancy. Studies showed that vitamin B12 deficiency in pregnant women can lead to early pregnancy loss, low birth weight, foetal abnormalities and high blood pressure among the mothers.
Vegetarians and vegans - People who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat meat, and fish while vegan do not eat any animal products, which include meat, eggs and dairy products. This increases their risk of B12 deficiency because this particular vitamin B is present in many animal-based foods.
People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery – Gastric bypass patients do not fully digest or absorb vitamin B12 from protein foods. The amount of stomach acid produced in the new stomach pouch is significantly low. Stomach acid is necessary to release vitamin B12 from protein foods.
Older adults – Research showed that older adults are most susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Stress is an expected response to life challenges and causes our body to release hormones that cause protective responses to prepare it to react quickly and effectively. However, if it is not managed properly, stress can bring detrimental effects. When our body first experiences stress, it has an alarm reaction which causes our body to generate more of the “fight-or-flight” chemicals that are designed to prepare our body for an emergency. Firstly, our body begins to make adjustments to our energy levels accordingly.
The second stage is resistance, which occurs when the body’s resources are depleted, until the stressor is removed. The final stage occurs when the body is completely drained. This is where anxiety, depression, irritability or self-destructive behaviour may occur. A review on 12 clinical trials found that supplementation of vitamin B significantly reduces anxiety and perceived stress.
Using vitamin B complex not only makes us less tired but also improves our concentration. If we are having trouble coping with our stress, chronic stress can wear us down and overwhelm us. We may frequently be in a bad mood; productivity may decrease and may even find it difficult to go about our normal daily routine. Elevated levels of anxiety at work and prolonged periods of stress can cause overuse of the mediators that switch the stress response on and off. Atrophy or downsizing of the brain regions, resulting from repeated exposure to stressful conditions, has a cognitive cost. Working memory, attention, response inhibition and cognitive flexibility have all been found to be impaired by stress. These impairments translate to a reduced ability to concentrate, controlling our impulses, remember and plan. Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to cognition and replacement therapy may be an option to improve patients’ cognition outcomes. Participants in a study found themselves having greater ‘concentration’ and 'mental stamina’ during the working day, after they were given vitamin B complex supplement. They also reported having greater ‘alertness’ after consuming the supplement.
Research shows that vitamin B supports just about every aspect of brain health. The neurological and psychiatric symptoms are usually associated with deficiency in vitamin B. The front region of our brain is responsible for initiating and coordinating motor movements; higher cognitive skills such as problem solving, thinking, planning and organising many aspects of our emotional well-being. Vitamin B complex is also proven sufficient to impact on functional brain activity in task-related brain regions, even though it is still in the preliminary stage.
A 2016 publication in Nutrients indicates that vitamins B6, B9 and B12 plays a particular role in homocysteine metabolism, which helps to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Vitamin B12 supports healthy DNA structures, which are important during foetal development and prevention of chronic disease and cancer. Furthermore, vitamin B6 supports both brain development and function while vitamin B9 reduces the risk of birth defects in the brain and spine.
Homocysteine is a type of amino acid, a chemical that the body uses to make proteins. Normally, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folic acid break down homocysteine and change it to other substances your body needs such as glutathione and thus, decreases the susceptibility to oxidative stress. It is a biomarker to determine if someone is at risk of suffering from depression, heart disease and stroke. Homocysteine is like glucose. It plays an important metabolic role but too much of it is toxic and too little results in metabolic problems. High levels of homocysteine can damage the lining of the arteries and make the blood clot easily and this increases risk of blood vessel blockages. Thus, causing stroke. It also causes neurotransmitter deficiency, which leads to depression.
Given the surge of hormones and the intensity of the stress symptom, it is not hard to imagine why we would feel tired after a bout of anxiety. We might feel relieved, drained or even exhausted. Most vitamin B are involved in the process of converting food into energy. Some help to metabolise carbohydrates while others break down fat and/or protein. However, it should not be mistaken that vitamin B complex provides the body with fuel for energy as claimed by supplement advertisements. In fact, vitamin B is needed to help the body to use the energy-yielding nutrients such as carbohydrates, fat and protein for fuel.
Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in red blood cell formation. Healthy red blood cells are needed to transport oxygen to every part of the body. When a person has vitamin B12 deficiency, the body cannot produce sufficient red blood cells and this leads to anaemia. Vitamin B2 and B9 are also needed for red blood cell production and growth. Vitamin B6 is required for more than 100 different enzyme reactions in the body, helps in haemoglobin production, which also allows red blood cells to carry oxygen through the blood.
Vitamin B may be beneficial in diabetic neuropathy. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness or decreased ability to feel pain, muscle weakness, difficulty walking and foot ulcers. A systemic review of 14 trials that involved 997 patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy demonstrated that vitamin B supplementation improved signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Studies show that oral health is connected to our overall health. Researchers also know there is a link between oral health and our wellbeing. An analysis on 16 trials involving 1534 patients who were diagnosed with oral ulcers indicated that the group that was given vitamin B showed better response rate and lower recurrence of mouth ulcers compared with the control group. In addition, it takes a shorter healing time in the treatment group as compared to those in the control group.
The body’s immune system is dependent on a balance of minerals and vitamins. Vitamin B complex, particularly vitamin B6 is in charge of keeping the immune system strong. Vitamin B6 is responsible for producing white blood cells and T cells, which regulate immune responses. Vitamin B6 also helps the body to make the protein interleukin-2 to direct white blood cell’s activity. Vitamin B6 deficiencies can reduce the antibodies needed to prevent the risk of infections. A combination of vitamin B complex, vitamin C and zinc are very important in preventing infections and free radicals. Vitamin C encourages the production of white blood cells such as macrophages and neutrophils. These white blood cells ‘eat’ up and kill the germs with ROS free radicals. Furthermore, with the addition of zinc, it works synergistically with vitamin C to assist in ‘clearing-off’ the pathogens and modulates the production of free radicals.
Kordel’s vitamin B complex contains all eight essential vitamins B, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and calcium. Vitamin C and minerals work synergistically with vitamin B complex to reinforce the functions of vitamin B complex. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption and immune health while zinc, magnesium and calcium regulate the functions of mitochondria. Mitochondria helps turn energy we obtained from food into the form which can be utilised by the cells. It contains higher content of vitamin B1, B5 and B6 that helps to turn foods into energy. The addition of magnesium also helps to improve mood and relaxation while calcium aids in strengthening the bones. Come in effervescent tablets, it is the best way to consume vitamin B complex. It is pleasant tasting with no added sugar and free from artificial colouring. Since effervescent tablets dissolve completely, they have less chance of causing stomach irritation and is a more efficient way of ingesting the supplement. Effervescent tablets are a fantastic way to consume vitamin B complex because they increase water intake and help to rehydrate the body as well, especially when we are dehydrated or ill.
So, get your box of Kordel’s B complex, C and minerals to stay sharp, energetic, happy and healthy every day.