The superhero of vitamins, there isn't much Vitamin B can't do. It gives us energy, lifts our mood, helps with metabolism, supports healthy nervous, reproductive and immune systems while aiding the heart and mind, too. Basically, it's essential to your health. But, it’s also water soluble, which means it can’t be stored in your body. This makes it all the more important to take your B’s every day. Here’s what you’re missing if you don’t.
The Vitamin B Complex consists of eight vitamins that work together: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6, B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folic Acid), and B12. Together this bundle is responsible for a lot.
Cancer: Deficiencies in Vitamin B can potentially affect DNA-related processes, which in turn affect cellular processes. Any disruptive activity at the cellular level can potentially carve a pathway to disease and certain cancers.
Energy: All of the Bs play a role in converting food into fuel or energy. In doing so, they help the body utilize proteins and fats. Vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin) and B6 are particularly important to this process. They work together to help boost our mood and keep energy levels up. This is critical to both feeling good and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Immunity: Together this complex helps to boost the body’s defense system and fight off germs and bugs. Vitamin B deficiencies can potentially weaken the immune system, creating an opportunity for illness or disease to arise.
Memory and Brain Function: Research has shown that Vitamin B can help to slow the mental decline or atrophy in the brains of older people whose brain function is noted to be below what is expected at that age. In particular, Vitamin B works to keep the amino acid homocysteine in check. Raised levels of this amino acid have been associated with brain atrophy and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Nervous System: B Vitamins play an important role in supporting and maintaining the myelin sheath—the insulating layer that surrounds nerves and is critical to keeping the nervous system functioning well. Their support of cell development and role as cofactors to enzymes help neurotransmitters do their job.
Reproductive Function and Fetal Development: The Bs are associated with the health and proper function of our sexual organs, reproductive system as well as being critical to fetal development. Subsequently, Vitamin B complex is very involved with the production and upkeep of DNA. In short, B vitamins are critical to the entire pregnancy and fetal development process.
THE INDIVIDUAL Bs
THIAMIN HCL (Vitamin B1) The body needs B1 to convert food into energy, and for DNA and RNA (DNA's messenger) to work together. It plays a key role in maintaining heart function and a healthy nervous system.
RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2) This is the B Vitamin responsible for turning your pee yellow. More importantly, it’s essential for energy production, the creation of red blood cells and cell growth. Riboflavin works as an antioxidant, helping to fend off free radicals, which if left unattended can cause pathways to disease. It also works with coenzymes in helping with cellular metabolism. In addition, B2 plays a role in fat metabolism and promoting healthy muscle, nerve, and heart function.
NIACIN (VITAMIN B3) Essential for converting food to energy, Niacin helps to maintain cardiovascular health and circulation. It also promotes a healthy nervous system, as well as healthy skin, hair, and eyes. Studies have shown it to help reduce or suppress inflammation. Along these lines, research has indicated that it can help counter inflammation-symptoms related to osteoarthritis.
PANTOTHENIC ACID (VITAMIN B5) Vitamin B5 supports metabolism and helps to convert food into energy. It aids in overall growth and development, supports the adrenal glands, and is critical in the production of hemoglobin.
VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE) This Vitamin B superstar supports healthy brain function and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It aids in the production of serotonin and helps to maintain the health of the nervous system, immune system, and red blood cells. B6 is used to regulate hormones and treat PMS in women.
BIOTIN (Vitamin B7) Biotin promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails, while also aiding with the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, and helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Like B2, Vitamin B7 works as a cofactor to enzymes and plays a role in gene expression.
FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B9) Vitamin B9 plays a key role in healthy pregnancies. It promotes both a healthy reproductive system while being a key player in the development of embryos. Folic Acid supports the development of a healthy central nervous system in embryos and continues after birth to support nervous system function. It plays a role in repairing DNA damaged by toxins, and aids in the production of blood cells.
VITAMIN B12 This powerful B vitamin plays an important role in the myelination of nerves (which insulates and protects nerves). This is key for proper nerve function and development. B12 helps to keep blood cells healthy while aiding in the prevention of certain types of anemia. It also influences the health and production of sperm and DNA. This B Vitamin is the exception to water soluble vitamins as it can be stored in your liver.