The Power of B Vitamins

The group of vitamin B is made up of 8 B vitamins and all of which have various functions in the body.  While these vitamins are often categorized into a group and work together in the body, they perform different roles in the body.

1. Thiamine (B1)

B1 helps the body make new cells.  Thiamin is needed to produce cellular energy from the food that you eat, along with synthesis of DNA and RNA.  DNA and RNA work together to improve brain function.  DNA provides the instructions needed to function and RNA actually performs that task.  This vitamin is found in many different food sources including, lentils, pork, red meats, whole grains, beans, spinach, and legumes.  This vitamin is also necessary for breaking down simple carbohydrates, like sugar.

2. Riboflavin (B2)

Riboflavin is known as the basic building block for normal growth and development.  This B vitamin also works to lower the risks of aging and is especially important in the production of red blood cells.  Red blood cells are imperative as they transfer oxygen throughout the body.  Riboflavin, much like many of the other B vitamins, is available as a supplement.  In addition to being available as a supplement, vitamin B2 is present in a number of different foods such as milk, eggs, yogurt, salmon, beef, spinach, and broccoli.

3. Niacin (B3)

Niacin has been shown to help cardiovascular health.  Specifically, it has been shown to help raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).  Niacin also supports over 200 chemical reactions in the body including cellular energy production and fatty acid synthesis.  Niacin has been shown to have beneficial benefits for your skin.  It is used for acne as well as anti-aging properties.  To treat acne, Niacin can be applied as a topical ointment or taken as a supplement.   Good food sources of niacin are red meat, poultry, beans, yeast, and green vegetables.

4. Pantothenic Acid (B5)

Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5 is one of the most accessible B vitamins.  It is found in almost every major food group.  Much like, Thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid is responsible for breaking down carbs and fats.  For this reason, vitamin B5 is often taken as a dietary supplement.  It is also effective in dealing with stress, and inflammatory issues such as arthritis and general nerve pain.  Vitamin B5 is responsible for the production of stress and sex hormones, including testosterone.  You can get pantothenic acid from avocados, organ meats, whole grains, cashews, peanuts, legumes, broccoli, and milk.  

5. Pyridoxine (B6)

Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6 as it is commonly referred is among the most well-known of the B vitamins.  Vitamin B6 helps regulate amino acids and glycogen levels.  also necessary for hormone, nervous system, and red blood cell function.  Pyridoxine is imperative towards sleep as it helps the body produce seratonin and melatonin, the two hormones directly associated with sleep.  

Studies show that vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.  Vitamin B6 is the most abundant of all the B vitamins and is found in a plethora of foods.  Some of the foods with the highest concentration of include chicken, turkey, milk, red meat, fish, lentils, sunflower seeds, bananas, and brown rice.

6. Biotin (B7)

Vitamin B7 is often referred to as “the beauty vitamin” due to its ability to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails.  The vitamin thickens nail cuticles and prevents breakage.  While biotin does not help grow hair, evidence suggests that a biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss.  The body needs biotin to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids, and may also help people suffering from diabetes to control their blood glucose levels.  

This vitamin is especially important during pregnancy since it assists with the growth of the baby while also decreasing the potential of birth defects.  Biotin is commonly found in yeast, organ meats, potatoes, cauliflower, and soybeans.

7. Folate (B9)

Folate is another one of the more well-known members of the vitamin B family.  Folate is critical for the brain.  It can help limit the symptoms of depression and prevents memory loss.  

Much like biotin, folate is critical for pregnant women as it also helps with the growth of the baby.  Common food sources of folate are bread, cereal, leafy greens, asparagus, salmon, beets, and avocados.

8. Cobalamin (B12)

Vitamin B12 works with vitamin B9 to help create red blood cells.  Cobalamin also helps create hemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrying protein in the body.  Individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet have a higher likelihood of having a vitamin B12 deficiency due to the fact that cobalamin is found predominantly in animal products like chicken, fish, beef, milk, or eggs.  However, the good news is that there are a wide range of B12 supplements out there.

These 8 B vitamins are very important to your overall health and are widely accessible.  Not only are they found in a wide variety of foods, they are also all available in supplement form as well.

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