I’ve shared about the importance of supplementing the diet with vitamin B12. There is actually a group of B vitamins that are extremely beneficial as well, collectively known as B complex. Today’s Sunday Supplement post shares the health benefits of vitamin B complex.
What is Vitamin B Complex?
Vitamin B Complex is the grouping of the B vitamins that includes B1-Thiamine, B2-Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B5 Pantothenic Acid, B6-Pyridoxine, B7-Biotin and B9-Folic Acid.
B12 is part of this group also. It is such a crucial vitamin that I’ve separated it out. Read about the benefits of B12.
The B vitamins are crucial for the proper functioning of almost every process that occurs in the body. They are critical for metabolism, the nervous system, vital organs, eyes, muscles, skin and hair.
Our body uses different food sources like carbohydrates, fats and proteins for fuel. Vitamin B complex helps the body utilize that fuel. They play a major role in the activities of enzymes and proteins that regulate chemical reactions in the body, which are important for turning food into energy.
Our body, however, has a limited capacity for storing B vitamins so supplementation or consumption of foods high in the B vitamins is necessary for the proper functioning of the body processes.
Meet the B Vitamins
B1 (Thiamine): B1 supports healthy energy levels. Thiamine helps to convert glucose into energy and has a major role in nerve functions. It boosts memory, helps to prevent Alzheimer’s and slows the aging process. Sesame seeds, legumes, peas, watermelon, apricots, spinach, sunflower seeds and nuts contain high amounts of thiamine.
B2 (Riboflavin): B2 supports a healthy metabolism. Riboflavin is involved in energy production and helps to improve vision. It also improves skin health, helps regulate thyroid activity, strengthens the immune system, supports healthy fetal development and promotes the formation of red blood cells. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, squash, spinach , broccoli, raspberries, Brussels sprouts and cabbage contain the highest amounts of riboflavin.
B3 (Niacin): B3 supports healthy energy from consumed foods. This B vitamin is one of the best for the skin. It can help to improve the condition of the skin by treating rosacea, acne, eczema, dermatitis, hyper pigmentation, sun-damaged, aging and dry skin. Niacin helps to covert carbohydrates and fats into energy. It helps in maintaining the skin and aids in the functions of the digestive and nervous systems and also lowers blood pressure. Good sources of Niacin are nuts, mushrooms, legumes, lentils, avocados, tomatoes, dates, asparagus, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes and spinach.
B5 (Pantothenic Acid): B5 helps support energy from foods. Pantothenic acid is needed to mobilize carbohydrate, protein, and fats and helps to produce red blood cells and steroidal hormones. It boosts the immune system and brain performance, helps to decrease stress and supports heart health and the adrenals. Pantothenic acid is found in a variety of foods such as mushrooms, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, avocado, Swiss card, legumes and peanuts.
B6 (Pyridoxine): B6 helps metabolize a number of nutrients to create energy. Pyridoxine is needed for protein and carbohydrate metabolism along with the formation of red blood cells and certain brain chemicals. It aids in the development of the brain, maintains steroidal hormone activity, prevents heart and kidney disease and boosts the immune system. Legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds, peppers, cabbage and fruits such as bananas and cantaloupe have high levels of Pyridoxine.
B7 (Biotin): B7 supports a healthy metabolism. Biotin is also needed for energy metabolism along with amino acid, fat and glycogen synthesis. It helps to maintain blood sugar levels, ensures that the heart functions properly and aids muscle growth. Cauliflower, peanuts, peas, cabbage, bananas, apples and plums contain pantothenic acid in high amounts.
B9 (Folic Acid): The body can’t produce folic acid on its own, but it’s needed for energy and more. Folate is needed to form red blood cells which carry oxygen around to the different organs in the body. B9 reduces the risk for strokes, helps to prevent cancer and heart disease, eases anxiety and depression, builds and repairs skin cells and promotes the growth of muscle tissue. It is essential for the proper development of the fetal nervous system. Pregnant women need a high amount of Folate in their diet to help prevent the risk of neural defects in babies. Good sources of B9 are green leafy vegetables, legumes, lentils, seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Romaine lettuce, papaya and citrus fruits.
It is recommended that adults take 50 – 100 mg a day of the Bs, except for Folic Acid, which should be 400 mcg. I take a veggie based supplement that has that exact dosage in a capsule. I also endeavor to include vitamin B rich foods daily. In the fight against viruses such as Epstein Barr, and for optimal health and well being, these vitamins are my essential allies!
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