Question

Vitamins

How do B vitamins help reduce pain and inflammation?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Although scientists think B vitamins play a role in reducing pain and inflammation, how effective they are and how they do so is not yet well understood.

    Researchers do know that vitamins B6 and B12 are important in reducing levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine in turn is associated with inflammation.

    These same two B vitamins are also being studied for a possible role in reducing nerve pain associated with diabetes, called diabetic neuropathy, as well as nerve pain associated with certain kinds of chemotherapy.
  • AHarris McIlwain, Pain Medicine, answered

    If your current diet is heavy in sugar, refined flour, coffee, and alcohol, you may have reduced stores of B vitamins in your body. Some research points to B vitamins in complex carbohydrates as being important in ending pain, particularly nocioceptive pain, which comes when you have a sprain, fracture, bump, bruise, inflammation from infection or arthritic disorder, and myofascial pain (abnormal muscle stresses).

    Other studies explored the possibility that the effects of vitamin B1 (thiamin), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cyanocobalamin) might reduce inflammation. Findings presented at the American Physiological Society Conference in San Diego, California, concluded that some B vitamins may be clinically effective in treating painful conditions such as lumbago, sciatica, and other types of pain by acting as an analgesic (pain reliever).

    Findings from the National Institutes of Health link vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide) with improved range of motion and reduced pain and inflammation. It is thought that vitamin B3 may be helpful in preventing osteoarthritis by enhancing glucocorticoid secretion (natural steroid), which would decrease inflammation in the body.

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What are B vitamins?