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Be Your Best with Vitamin B

Vitamin BJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nutrition is one of the most important modifiable factors involved in the maintenance of good health and proper function. Adequate levels of all micronutrients are essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning, providing fundamental preventive care and supporting long-term wellness. B vitamins comprise a group of eight water soluble synergistic nutrients, often referred to as B-Complex vitamins. Although each B vitamin performs a unique essential role, all have closely interrelated cellular functions.

B vitamins act as co-enzymes in a wide array of catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions, including brain function, energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis and repair, methylation and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules. B vitamins help to promote a healthy metabolism and are key components of certain coenzymes that turn the food we enjoy into energy we can use. B vitamins help to support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system and support healthy digestion.

The need for B vitamins is increased by stress, smoking, alcohol use, illness, and unhealthy diet. Because B vitamins work synergistically, a deficiency in one often signals a deficiency in another. In general, water soluble vitamins are not stored by the body and should be replaced at least every few days. Since very little B vitamins are stored by the body, even those who enjoy a healthy balanced diet may have inadequate intake of certain B vitamins. Individuals whose diets lack sufficient whole foods or healthy proteins, as well as vegans and vegetarians, seniors and those with gastrointestinal disorders are most likely to be deficient in B vitamins.

Functions of B vitamins

B1 Thiamine – Thiamine acts as a precursor for carbohydrate, fatty acid and branched chain amino acid metabolism. It plays a role in nerve transmission, muscle function, proper digestion, cognitive activity and brain function, and has a positive effect on energy, growth, normal appetite and learning capacity as well. As thiamine works synergistically with magnesium, high coffee and tea consumption, as well as low magnesium intake, can result in thiamine depletion. Thiamine can be found in meat, dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

B2 Riboflavin – Found in most animal and plant tissues, riboflavin supports growth and normal adrenal and cellular function. It helps to calm and maintain a healthy nervous system and facilitates key metabolic processes, such as energy production. Riboflavin acts as an antioxidant helping to control free radical proliferation, thereby supporting healthy aging. Seniors, those who are chronically ill, individuals who take birth control pills or consume alcohol in excess are particularly susceptible to deficiencies. Thiamine can be found in dairy foods, meats, fish, poultry and dark green vegetables.

B3 Niacin – Essential for proper circulation, healthy skin and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, niacin is involved in hormone synthesis and the normal secretion of digestive fluids. Niacin, or nicotinic acid, supports healthy cholesterol levels and healthy circulation, as well as healthy cognitive and memory function. Niacin is found naturally in oily fish, whole grains, leafy vegetables, legumes, mushrooms and nuts.

B5 Pantothenic Acid – Vital for metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, pantothenic acid is known as the “anti-stress” vitamin for the vital role it plays in adrenal function. Required by all bodily cells, pantothenic acid is involved in many necessary metabolic functions, including vitamin utilization, energy production and maintenance of healthy mood. Pantothenic acid is found in small amounts in whole grains, eggs, meats, legumes and avocados.

B6 Pyridoxine – This possibly lesser known but vitally important nutrient affects both physical and mental wellbeing. It is necessary for absorption of fats and proteins, red blood cell formation and fluid balance. Pyridoxine is required for proper brain and nervous system function, normal cellular growth, enzyme activation and DNA/RNA synthesis. Good sources of pyridoxine can be found in brewer’s yeast, legumes, dairy, sunflower seeds and spinach.

B7 Biotin – A necessary cofactor for enzymatic processes, biotin aids in the utilization of other B vitamins and supports a healthy intestinal tract and proper blood glucose levels, as well as healthy nerve tissue, bone marrow, skin, hair and nails. Biotin aids cell growth and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and may be helpful in decreasing insulin resistance and improving glucose tolerance. Foods rich in biotin include organ meats, diary, egg yolks, soy, wheat bran, mushrooms, nuts and potatoes.

B9 Folate – Folate is essential for human growth and development, healthy cell division, and normal nerve and brain functioning. It is also vital for DNA/RNA synthesis, energy production, red and white blood cell formation and proper immune function. Folate is important for the regulation of healthy homocysteine levels, embryonic and fetal nerve cell development, and may also aid healthy mood, address anxiety and slow memory decline associated with aging. Fortified foods, legumes, melons, asparagus, spinach, green vegetables and bananas are good sources of folate.

B12 Methylcobalamin – B12 is a complex of essential biological compounds known as cobalamins. Highly absorbable methylcobalamin is active in the growth and protection of the nervous system and the neurological deterioration associated with aging. It is essential for protein synthesis necessary for healthy cardiovascular function, the development and maintenance of red blood cells, iron utilization, healthy sleep, and the production of neurotransmitters involved in memory and learning. B12 is required for proper digestion and absorption of foods, and aids in cell formation, cellular longevity, the production of DNA and RNA as well as the protection of normal myelination (covering) of nerve cells.

B vitamins work individually, as a group and in concert with other vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. When supplementing,  most individuals should consider the full range of B vitamins found in a complex. B vitamins play a vital role in the maintenance of good physical and mental health and wellbeing. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins directly impact energy levels, brain, cardiac, cellular, muscle and nerve function, hormone production, digestion and absorption of nutrients and healthy cell metabolism.

Professional Supplement Center has developed a highly effective B vitamin complex.  In fact, we believe it’s the only B vitamin you’ll ever need.

B SpectrumB Spectrum by Professional Supplement Center®:  ON SALE  This non-GMO synergistic formulation provides the full complement of activated B vitamins in support of adrenal, neurological, cardiovascular and stress-related functions as well as healthy mood. Free of wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, soy, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

 

References:
B Vitamins, Homocysteine and Bone Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425139/
Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Fifth Edition 2010. Penguin Group
Thomas G. Guilliams, Ph.D. Supplementing Dietary Nutrients.2014
Dietary B Vitamins and a 10-Year Risk of Dementia in Older Persons. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188416/

Get Your B’s

bBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

B vitamins are necessary for growth, development, enzyme activity, red blood cell formation, energy production, and proper brain function.  The term B complex encompasses eight chemically related essential vitamins that work together to boost both our mood and our energy.  Often found in the same foods, these required water soluble vitamins are not stored in our bodies and need to be replenished daily for optimal health.  What are these important vitamins and what role do they play in the health and function of our bodies?

  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamine –  B1 is involved in metabolism and conversion of carbohydrates into energy, assuring smooth functioning of the body’s organs especially the heart, brain, lungs and kidneys. Vitamin B1 helps reduce stress, strengthens the nervous system and is responsible for the production of neurotransmitters that relay messages to the muscles and nerves.  Sources of B1 include whole grains, pork, organ meats and kidney beans.
  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin –  Vitamin B2 helps breakdown carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy production.  B2 is necessary for the production of red blood cells and antibodies.  B2 helps protect the nervous system and strengthens the immune system.  Sources of B2 include whole grains, dairy products, almonds, eggs and leafy green vegetables. 
  • Vitamin B3  or Niacin –  This powerful vitamin is needed for proper circulation, healthy skin, and nervous system function.  B3 plays an important role in energy production and supports a well-functioning digestive system.  Niacin is believed to be helpful in reducing bad cholesterol and plays a significant role in heart health.  Sources of B3 include fish, chicken, nuts and beans. 
  • Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid Sometimes referred to as the “anti-stress vitamin,” B5 plays an important role in the production of adrenal hormones and is considered a vital body chemical involved in many metabolic functions and the production of neurotransmitters.  B5 also aids in energy production, the formation of antibodies, and supports hair, skin and immune health.  Sources of B5 include a wide variety of plant and animal foods including meats, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, fish, nuts and seeds. 
  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine –  B6 is essential for both physical and mental wellbeing.  It is required for normal brain function, health of the nervous system, and cellular growth.  It aids in immune system function, the production of red blood cells and the breakdown and digestion of proteins.  Sources of B6 include poultry, soy, avocados, whole grains, seafood and bananas.
  • Vitamin B7 or Biotin –  B7 aids in the formation of new skin and hair cells, fatty acid production, metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and in the utilization of all other B complex vitamins.  Biotin promotes healthy nerve tissue and bone marrow and strengthens connective tissues.  Sources of B7 include meats, vegetables, salmon, eggs dairy, sweet potatoes and whole grains. 
  • Vitamin B9  or Folic Acid Folic acid is necessary for healthy cell division and replication.  It functions as a co-enzyme in DNA and RNA synthesis.  B9 is involved in protein metabolism, the formation of red blood cells, energy production and brain, heart, circulatory, and immune health.  B9 is found in green vegetables, lentils, beans and fortified grains. 
  • Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin B12 is involved in growth and protection of the nervous system and is the most chemically complex of all the vitamins.  It plays an important role in protein synthesis necessary for cardiac function, aids folic acid in the production of red blood cells, and helps in the utilization of iron.  B12 is necessary for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients and aids in cell formation and cell longevity.  Sources include eggs, meats, poultry, shellfish and dairy products. 

Because B vitamins work together, a deficiency in one often indicates a deficiency in another. This can lead to poor functioning of any or all the B vitamins.  So, why do we need these B vitamins?  As it turns out for many, many  beneficial reasons, including  energy production, a healthy nervous system, good digestion, healthy hair, skin and nails, proper cardiac function, immune system health and normal growth and development to name just a few.  In general, it is best to  supplement with a B Complex formula to ensure that you get  all of the essential B vitamins daily.

B-Complex #6 by Thorne Research
 
 
B-Complex #6 by Thorne Research –  An optimal balance of bioactive B vitamins with extra B6.  Contains all 8 essential B vitamins.
 
 
 
Ultra B Complex by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals
 
Ultra B Complex by BioGenesis Nutraceuticals –  A complete B vitamin complex containing biologically active B vitamins for increased bioavailability for super absorption and enhanced utilization. 
 
 
 
Ortho B Complex by Ortho Molecular
 
 
Ortho B Complex by Ortho Molecular –  A complete vitamin B complex in a once daily natural vegetarian capsule.