All vitamins are amazing and we need them in our diets but in my opinion B vitamins are
the Superheroes of all the Vitamins! There are 8 B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, commonly referred to as B complex. We require all of them and can get them from consuming a whole food diet but like most people, myself included, we do not do a very good job of eating a whole food diet all of the time. So we may need to supplement with a B Vitamin complex.
B Vitamins are essential for our health and well being. They are crucial in keeping our bodies running like a well-oiled machine. They help extract energy from our food and convert it into fuel and allow us to stay energized throughout our day. You may recognize the B vitamins that you consume via different names: B1-Thiamin, B2-Riboflavin, B3-Niacin, B5-Pantothenic acid, B6-Pyridoxine, B7-Biotin, B9-Folic Acid, and B12 (Mr Popular)-Cyanocobalimin. Each of these B vitamins has a different unique Superpower, just like Superheroes. All B Vitamins help with concentration, better support for nerve, heart, blood, skin and eye health. They also reduce inflammation, improve hormone function and can help maintain a healthy metabolism and digestive system.
With that in mind, let’s get into the unique qualities of each B vitamin and why you should consider taking it.
B1 – Thiamin: Strong mind and body. B1 plays a crucial role in energy metabolism including the growth and development and function of cells. Thiamin deficiency can cause confusion, short term memory loss, muscle weakness and cardiovascular issues.
B2 – Riboflavin: Boosts energy and mood and slows aging. B2 is essential for proper body function and improves our body’s ability to process fats and proteins. It also helps to regulate thyroid activity. It can also improve skin issues like acne and may even prevent migraines. Riboflavin deficiency can include anemia, sluggishness, skin inflammation, skin disorders, mood swings, depression and anxiety.
B3 – Niacin: Gets our blood and energy pumping. B3 helps increase blood circulation, pumping blood to our hearts, and our muscles during a workout. Niacin can help lower cholesterol levels and control them, and it has been found very effective in treating and managing diabetes. B3 also boosts your energy and mood and can increase blood flow and help create sex hormones.
B5 – Pantothenic Acid: Reduces stress. B5 is often used to treat mental health issues like depression, anxiety and chronic stress. It also alleviates, allergies, hair loss, asthma, heart and respiratory disorders. B5 deficiencies are rare but could include fatigue, depression, insomnia, muscle cramp and stomach issues.
B6 – Pyridoxine: Eases pain and stress, while improving sleep. B6 supports major bodily functions, including movement, energy expenditure, memory and blood flow. It also creates antibodies from our immune system and shields us from stress and sickness. It plays a huge role in our mood and sleep patterns because it helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin and our stress hormone, norepinephrine. A B6 deficiency may be linked to migraines, chronic pain, mood disorders, muscle pains, low energy and fatigue.
B7- Biotin: Improves skin, hair and nails. Most women recognize the word biotin from our cosmetics and shampoos. It can improve our skin, hair and nail health but also nerve, digestive and cardiovascular functions. Biotin deficiency symptoms may include, dry skin, brittle hair, weak nails, muscle aches, mood changes, cramps and tingling in the limbs.
B9 – Folic acid: Fights depression and rejuvenates the body. B9 is responsible for replacing old cells with new healthy ones and keeping our bodies renewed. It is helpful in preventing heart issues, stroke, cancer and as most pregnant women know, helps prevent birth defects during pregnancy. It is also used for memory loss, restless leg syndrome, weak bones, sleep problems and nerve and muscle pain. B9 deficiencies include anemia, memory loss, cracked skin and can lead to osteoporosis, bowel cancer, heart palpitations and birth defects.
B12 – Cobalamin: Combats fatigue and boosts brain function. B12 is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world! B12 improves your mood, energy, memory, heart, skin, hair and digestion AND it also can address adrenal fatigue, and metabolic functions. It is incredibly important for our nervous system and can help boost our brain function. One of the most common signs of B12 deficiency is chronic fatigue, stress and feeling run down. Also signs to look out for,
joint pain, poor concentration, poor memory, anxiety, abnormal heart issues such as palpitations, poor dental health and digestive issues. Vegans and vegetarians maybe at risk for B12 deficiency because this vitamin is largely found in meat and dairy.
So, as you can see B vitamins truly are the Superheroes of the Vitamin world. I can honestly say that since I added a GOOD B complex supplement to my day I have seen a marked improvement in my mood, my energy level, my outlook and my mental clarity.
B vitamins are water soluble and need to be replenished daily and you may want to consider getting some of these vitamins from whole food sources such as:
- Green leafy vegetables B2 and B9
- Eggs B7 and B12
- Chicken B3, B6, B12
- Citrus fruits B9
- Nuts B3 B9
- Kidney beans B1, B2
- Bananas B6 B7
- Vitamin B5 is found in almost all foods!
So if you want improved concentration, better moods, more energy for your life and your workouts and improved health and wellbeing, consider whether you are getting enough B Vitamins and check with your health care professional about your needs.
In health and fitness