Commonly referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins play an essential role in keeping our bodies running smoothly and efficiently. That’s right, I said eight B vitamins…not just one! B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12, each perform unique and important functions in our bodies. These vitamins are essential because the body cannot make most of them, or they just cannot be made in large enough quantities by our bodies. These vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they are excreted from the body daily and must be replenished on a regular basis. Since B vitamins are already found in many foods to begin with, you are most likely not at risk for developing any type of vitamin B deficiency, as long as you follow a well-rounded diet. An interesting fact to note is that as you age, your ability to absorb B vitamins decreases and your appetite declines, making it difficult for some older people to get enough B vitamins through diet alone.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B
B vitamins are needed to carry out many different bodily functions. They help the metabolic system function, they help form red blood cells, and they even improve cognitive ability. But by far the most well know function of B vitamins is that they improve energy. B vitamins let your body convert food into energy, one if it’s most basic, yet most important functions. Many people attribute vitamin B to reduced fatigue, better cognitive performance, and even a boosted mood.
B vitamins will not cure mental health issues, but they may help improve symptoms of anxiety or depression. A study of 60 adults with depression showed that treatment with a B-complex vitamin for 60 days led to significant improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms, compared to a placebo.
Now that you know many of the benefits associated with taking B vitamins, let’s delve a little deeper into each of the eight vitamins.
Vitamin B1: Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamin, and it helps convert food into energy, plays a role in muscle contraction, and supports regular nervous system function. It also protects the immune system, and is also referred to as the “anti-stress” B vitamin. Some foods that contain this B vitamin are whole grains, spinach, kale, nuts, and red meat.
Vitamin B2: Vitamin B2 is also called riboflavin, and it helps your body break down and use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in your diet. It helps with red blood cell production, and also is important for body growth. Some foods that contain this B vitamin are beef, poultry, nuts, eggs, and fish.
Vitamin B3: Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin, and helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function. It can be found in poultry, legumes, fish, beef, and green vegetables.
Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5, aka pantothenic acid, is useful for our bodies because it helps break down fats and carbs for energy. It is also helpful because it enables our bodies to produce hormones. This B vitamin can be found in almost all foods groups, particularly egg yolk, avocados, and dairy products.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 helps with over 100 cellular reactions in our bodies, and it is important because it helps the body metabolize amino acids from our food, build new red blood cells, and is involved in regulating sleep patterns. It can be found in meat, poultry, fish, bananas, peaches, and carrots.
Vitamin B7: Vitamin B7 is affectionately known as the “beauty vitamin,” as it helps boost hair, skin, and nails. This vitamin can be found in strawberries, egg yolks, nuts, and chicken.
Vitamin B9: Vitamin B9 is also known as folate, and it plays a huge role in fetal health and development because it helps develop the baby’s nervous system. This vitamin can be found in dates, avocados, and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 joins forces with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and iron to create its oxygen-carrying protein, called hemoglobin. This vitamin also helps maintain your central nervous system. It can be found in chicken, beef, pork, and clams.
If you would like to dabble in the world of B vitamins, and provide even greater support to your body for all of the functions it performs, look no further than Kyolic Formula 101. This formula contains Aged Garlic Extract, GABA, Vitamins B1, B6, and B12, and is designed for stress and fatigue relief.