The surprising benefits of B complex vitamins are more critical in our world today than ever before. B vitamins play a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism.
Vital for overall brain health and cognition, B vitamins play crucial roles in the production of brain chemicals (serotonin, melatonin and dopamine) that help regulate mood, sleep and the feeling of pleasure.
Sufficient levels of B vitamins are necessary for nerve cell function, cardiovascular health and during pregnancy to ensure the healthy development of the unborn baby.
As helpers or co-factors in more than 50 body processes, B vitamins play key roles in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; the production of energy; the manufacture of sex and adrenal hormones and maintaining hormonal balance; proper immune function; and in cell division – especially rapidly dividing cells such as red blood cells and the cells in your GI and genital tracts.
Research shows that particular B vitamins can help prevent or serve as valuable treatment adjuncts for a variety of neurological diseases and mental disorders, as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, PMS, morning sickness and kidney stones.
B vitamins are produced in your intestines provided you have a healthy gut microbiome, and are plentiful if you eat a variety of foods. Yet as many as 30 million Americans are deficient in B6, with women twice as likely to be deficient as men. Despite the wide availability of folate in plant foods, folic acid deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the world. More than 18 million Americans are B12 deficient. For those over age 50, as many as 30% are at risk for B12 deficiency. The effects of certain B deficiencies can be irreversible, such as the neurological effects caused by B12 deficiency.
The B vitamins can generally be found in vegetable, animal, or whole-grain food sources. If supplementation is required, Liposomal Vitamin B Complex from the Let’s Talk Health inventory of dietary supplements is a great source for B vitamins, in a most usable liquid form for quick absorption. Here’s a helpful infographic below to help you visualize the importance of the B complex.
Vitamin B1 Thiamine
Thiamine is known to aid appetite regulation and boost energy. Deficiency can cause diseases of the nervous system and dementia. B1 is found in whole-grain cereal products, particularly oatmeal and brown rice, asparagus, cauliflower, oranges, eggs, pork, and liver.
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Riboflavin assists in the body’s metabolism, converting calories to energy. It also aids in the production of red blood cells, and promotes healthy vision and skin. Good sources for B2 are green leafy vegetables and legumes, milk and cheese, mushrooms, almonds, liver, and kidneys.
Vitamin B3 Niacin
Niacin is necessary for healthy skin and muscle tissue. It also promotes overall energy, mental acuteness, appetite, and digestion. Correcting deficiencies can help treat dermatitis, mouth or skin lesions, sleep disorders, fatigue and anemia, nausea, and headaches. The most common major sources are animal products, although good sources also include whole-grain products, legumes, and peanut butter.
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic acid aids in food metabolization and nervous system regulation. It is also beneficial to skin health, with deficiency sometimes resulting in outbreaks of acne. The primary source of B5 in our diet is from meat products, but it is also in high concentration in unprocessed whole grains, avocados, and broccoli.
Vitamin B6 Piridoxin HCL
Vitamin B6 assists in the body’s creation of the vital hormone, Serotonin. Deficiency can result in depression, anemia, high blood pressure, dermatitis, and water retention. Good food sources include chickpeas and meat products such as beef liver, salmon, tuna, and chicken breast. It can also be found in usable levels in potatoes, bananas, turkey, fortified breakfast cereals, and marinara sauce.
Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin
B12 helps with cognitive deficits and emotional stability, promotes overall energy, and contributes to weight loss or control. Deficiency can lead to memory loss and other mental conditions. The sources highest in natural B12 are beef liver and clams. It is also found in meats in general, fish, poultry, and dairy products. Usable levels are available in fortified breakfast cereals.
This Folate appears to slow the advance of mental problems associated with aging, and helps to normalize gestation during pregnancy. It has also been linked with heart health, energy, and regulating body growth rates. Other alleged benefits include activating or energizing sexual response. Folic acid sources include dark green leafy vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts and asparagus. It is also found in oranges, nuts, peas, beans, and whole-grain products.