What are some of the benefits of B Complex Vitamins?

B complex vitamins are an important group of water-soluble vitamins that support cell metabolism and other vital body functions, including the nervous system, the digestion and the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B complex includes all the water-soluble vitamins except vitamin C. Various other vitamins and nutritional components are often included as part of a B-complex vitamin supplement. A multivitamin containing B complex is a highly recommended supplement to maintain overall health.

The B Vitamins

Discovery of the B vitamins and their importance to health has led to major breakthroughs in healthcare. Among the historic importance of Vitamin B complex is the role of B vitamins in preventing birth defects. B vitamins are also necessary for optimal nervous functions, food metabolism, and healthy hair, nails and skin. Vitamin B complex is vital for most essential body functions, down to the cellular level.

Healthy Pregnancy

Spinal bifida and anencephaly are birth defects in which the fetal nervous system does not develop properly. A deficiency of folic acid (vitamin B9) in the mother was found to be related to the occurrence of these defects. Since that discovery, the USDA has required folic acid to be added to most enriched breads and other grain products. Today, the incidence of folic acid deficiency and of these birth defects has dropped dramatically.

Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

People with blood sugar imbalances are often found to be deficient in thiamine (vitamin B1). Thiamine is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, and may help regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Benfotiamine – a fat soluble derivative of Thiamine – is especially helpful in protecting the body against high blood sugar levels.

Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Vitamins B5 and B6 have been shown to aid memory and concentration by reducing high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a substance that is normally converted to protein, and its accumulation in the blood is toxic to healthy brain function. Vitamin B-complex is often used to help prevent anxiety, depression and cognitive decline because B vitamins aid in normal hormonal functioning.

Nervous System Functions

Vitamins B5 and B6 have been shown to aid memory and concentration by reducing high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a substance that is normally converted to protein, and its accumulation in the blood is toxic to healthy brain function. Vitamin B-complex is often used to help prevent anxiety, depression and cognitive decline because B vitamins aid in normal hormonal functioning.

Digestive System

Vitamin B-complex is essential to proper digestion. Deficiency of vitamins B1, B6 and B7 (Biotin) can impair absorption of nutrients. Vitamin B6 in particular has been shown to promote vitamin absorption in the digestive system. The body produces energy from food through cell metabolism, and even a moderate deficiency of vitamins B1, B6 and B7 impairs energy production and can result in fatigue, irritability and weakness.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Because of the role that vitamin B-complex plays in hormonal functioning, the tension produced by hormonal fluctuations in women’s regular cycles can be helped by supplementation of B vitamins.

Heart Disease

As part of a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 may reduce the risk of vascular disease. However, the FDA evaluated this claim and found that, while it is known that diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol reduce the risk of heart disease and other vascular diseases, the evidence in support of the claim is inconclusive.

B Complex Vitamins and Nutrition

A diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables will supply a healthy amount of B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is the only B vitamin that is not available from plants.

Good sources for B vitamins include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, beans and lentils, chili peppers and molasses. Fermented foods, including tempeh and dark beer, are also rich in B vitamins. Yeast, both nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast, is high in B vitamins. Turkey, tuna and liver are among the animal proteins high in B vitamins.

  • Lentils and legumes, dark green vegetables, eggs, fish and poultry are high in Vitamin B1.
  • Green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and dairy products are good sources of Vitamin B2.
  • Salmon, tuna and white-meat chicken are high in vitamin B3. So are beans and lentils.
  • Look to mushrooms, broccoli, yogurt, avocados and legumes for vitamin B5.
  • Vitamin B6 is found in high concentration in animal protein and dairy products.
  • Vitamin B7 is found in a wide range of foods. Eat a well-balanced diet to obtain this vitamin. Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare.
  • Folic acid is naturally available in green leafy vegetables, other fruits and vegetables and dried beans.
  • Vitamin B12 is available from animal and dairy products.

B Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin supplements are not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, but rather a way to ensure that all vitamin needs are being met.  The best way to get your B vitamins is through a carefully balanced diet and a complete Vitamin B-complex supplement.

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