B Vitamins - What you need to know.
As we all know, vitamins are required to help the body work correctly. They naturally occur in food and are needed in small amounts for various bodily functions. There are 13 different vitamins our body needs, with eight of them making up the B-group vitamins.
B vitamins are water-soluble, which means they need to dissolve in water before the body can absorb them. These vitamins are only stored in small amounts in the body and unless we are eating the correct foods, the body is not getting its requirements for optimal health. They function as co-enzymes helping with metabolism and methylation.
B vitamins are readily available in a variety of different foods, but due to their water-soluble nature they tend to be delicate. This means that they are easily destroyed, particularly by the consumption of alcohol and cooking. The need for B vitamins is increased by stress, smoking, the use of alcohol or drugs, unhealthy dietary practices, shift work, illness and demanding travel schedules. This means we require higher antioxidant support than EVER before, and we are using and losing more nutrients than EVER before.
Food Sources For B Vitamins
- Thiamine (B1) is found in liver, pork, whole grains, brown rice, green vegetables, nuts, sunflower seeds and eggs.
- Riboflavin (B2) is found in dairy products, leafy greens, legumes, liver, kidneys, yeast and mushrooms.
- Niacin (B3) is found in meat, fish, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms and nuts.
- Pantothenic acid (B5) is found in meat, whole grains, broccoli, eggs, avocado and fish.
- Pyridoxine (B6) is found in meat, fish, legumes, nuts and bananas.
- Biotin (B7) is found in eggs, liver, pork and leafy vegetables.
- Folate (B9) is found in leafy vegetables, legumes and citrus fruits.
- Cobalamin (B12) is found in meat, fish and other anima products, nori, Komba and tempha
The role of B Vitamins
B Vitamins play an important role in the production of energy, the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA, and the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates. They can also help to calm and maintain a healthy nervous system and can be important in the maintenance of health skin and muscle tone. They are best taken together as they work in synergy with each other in maintaining a healthy and happy body. However each individual vitamin has its own benefits.
Thiamine helps the body make new cells as well as protects the immune system from stress. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, metabolise carbohydrates and improve concentration, learning, intelligence and mood.
Riboflavin works as an antioxidant. It can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation as well as alleviate fatigue. This vitamin can help with migraines and depression as well as skin conditions an eye health.
Niacin can help to improve cholesterol as well as help with digestion in the production of HCl. It may alleviate headaches, insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression. This vitamin can help improve energy and reduces fatigue.
Pantothenic Acid helps to break down fats and carbohydrates for energy. It promotes healthy skin as well as improving the four m’s – mood, mind, memory and movement. This vitamin helps with maintaining a healthy immune system and improve lethargy and stamina.
Pyridoxine improves brain function, memory, sleep, mood and anxiety. It helps with female reproductive health and fatigue. This vitamin benefits cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels. It is also good for musculoskeletal health by reducing inflammation associated with arthritis.
Biotin is known as the “beauty vitamin” due to its association with healthy skin, hair and nails. It is also vital to the normal growth of a baby during pregnancy.
Folate is important for cardiovascular health and the production of red blood cells. It helps to improve fertility and is important for women who are pregnant to help with the growth of the baby. This vitamin may help reduce allergies, improve memory and reduce anxiety levels as well as depression.
Cobalamin has many neurological benefits including MS and mental health. It helps increase energy levels and improves conditions of the skin, eyes and ears. This vitamin is vital to the pathways of numerous other B vitamins and can also assist in both male and female fertility.
It is important not to self-diagnose a vitamin deficiency, because some vitamins are toxic if taken incorrectly. If you feel you require more B vitamins, please contact your naturopath for more information and advice.