The 411 on B-Vitamins and Why You Should Take Them

Remember when taking a multivitamin was all you needed? The way food is being processed and what our aging bodies require mean we need more than one vitamin. The one vitamin that covers an array of functions (cognition, neurological, metabolism, healthy thyroid, promotes healthy hair, etc) is the B Vitamin Group.

Vitamin B is a group of vitamins that work together (more than any other vitamin). You get all these vitamins in a B complex: B1, B2, B4, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. If you have a deficiency in any of them you can run into problems.

Here is a breakdown of what each B Vitamin does for you:

  • B1 (Thiamin): The water-soluble vitamin that is required for the proper metabolism of starch and sugar in order to provide energy to the body. Plays an integral role in nerve function. B1 also helps the heart and other muscles function properly.
  • B2 (Riboflavin): Mainly involved in energy metabolism and helps the thyroid function properly. Aids in weight loss by releasing the unused energy in the body and preventing unused energy from turning into fat. Crucial for the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
  • B3 (Niacin): Supports healthy carbohydrate metabolism. The water-soluble vitamin is essential for the body to convert carbohydrates, fat and alcohol into energy. Aids in the normal maintenance of thyroid hormone production. It helps maintain skin health and supports the normal function of the nervous system and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Also a component of the glucose tolerance factor which is released every time your blood sugar rises.
  • B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Plays an important role in weight loss. B5 is involved in energy production and helps to control fat metabolism. It is needed to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, fats and alcohol as well as produce red blood cells and steroid hormones. Aids in digestion and helps break down fat and carbohydrates, thus giving more energy and boosting one’s metabolism, which also helps in weight loss.
  • B6 (Pyridoxine): Plays an integral role in the metabolism of fats, particularly fatty acids which are unsaturated and help to supply fuel to cells, which are then able to burn energy. B6 helps with the regulation and production of the thyroid. Also required for protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Vitamin B6 helps the pancreas produce enzymes that aid indigestion.
  • B7 (Biotin): Needed for energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism and glycogen synthesis. Biotin improves blood-sugar control. People who exercise often have an increased need for biotin. It increases metabolism resulting in the loss of this vitamin in urine or sweat, need for tissue repair and maintenance.
  • B9 (Folic Acid): Assists with red blood cell production and nucleic & amino acid metabolism, methylation and in coenzymes that assist with DNA and SAMe.
  • B12 (Cobalamin): Vital role in energy production from fats and proteins, maintenance of nerve cells, synthesis of hemoglobin and red blood cells and methylation. Helps stabilize your energy level.

If you’re not a person that likes taking a ton of pills then you can buy a B Complex. I always search for those that are gluten free and natural which means they break down more easily in your body and your system can process it faster. I love supplements made by Perque, Raw Code, MegaFoods, Xymogen, Thorne and Pure to name a few.

B Complex

Incorporate various foods that have B Vitamins in them into your diet such as beans, liver, wheat germ, fish, Brazil nuts, spinach, milk, eggs, green and leafy veggies, almonds, chicken, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, avocados, sweet potatoes, raspberries and cauliflower.

food with b vitamins

What some people don’t know that besides bacteria and illnesses that certain antibiotics can wipe out your B’s as well as high in takes of coffee, tea, junk food, lack of exercise and certain food.

Some insurance companies will cover an annual lab that focuses on vitamins/minerals. An example of one lab is Genova Diagnostics and the good news is that they accept a lot of insurance plans.

Here are some deficiencies and symptoms when you are lacking B vitamins: neurologic symptoms, neuropathy, muscle weakness, cardiac problems, dementia or encephalopathy, anemia, oxidative stress, oral and throat inflammation, diarrhea, fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, scaly rash on face, birth defects, impaired immunity and CA risk (cancer antigen).

Before taking any supplement talk to your doctor, a licensed nutritionist or certified practitioner that really knows about vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Your goal is to live a long and healthy life and by incorporating the right foods, exercise, vitamins/supplements and living a healthy life style you can achieve just that!

Live healthy and happy!

Sources for information came from Genova Diagnostics, Natural Fitness Tips and University of Maryland Medical Center. This information is provided to you for your health, please seek a certified practitioner and do not use this information to make your own diagnosis.

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