Vitamin B complex is actually multiple B vitamins lumped together in one category, known as B-complex. B-complex has many vital functions for our health. One of the main functions is assisting the nervous system. But there are a lot more benefits of Vitamin B Complex. So what is vitamin B complex good for? Let’s find out.
The Eight B’s
- B-1 (thiamine)
- B-2 (riboflavin)
- B-3 (niacin)
- B-5 (pantothenic acid)
- B-6 (pyridoxine)
- B-7 (biotin)
- B-9 (folic acid)
- B-12 (cobalamin)
B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that have similar characteristics, and all are considered extremely important for health and well-being. They are considered essential micronutrients and need to be consumed since the body either can’t make them or can’t make enough of them.
It’s important to note that the complex of B-vitamins all work better together so if you do supplement, make sure you get a B-vitamin Complex supplement, unless your doctor specifically tells you that you need to supplement one alone.
If you have any of these health conditions, know that it can prevent you from properly absorbing vitamin B’s:
- celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- alcohol dependence
- kidney conditions
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ulcerative colitis
- inflammatory bowel disease
Some Benefits of B-Complex
Concentration and Memory
Vitamins B-5 and B-6 help break down homocysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid that occurs naturally in the body, but in excess causes toxicity in the brain and cardiovascular system.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with degeneration of the brain and other problems with brain function.
Vitamins B-1, B-6 and B-7 aid the mitochondria in energy production at the cellular level. They help convert food to energy in every cell in our bodies. A deficiency in these vitamins can lead to fatigue, weakness and irritability.
Vitamin B complex helps the digestive system by promoting the release of gastric acid. A deficiency in vitamins B1, B6 and B7 leads to malabsorption of dietary nutrients and impaired digestion. Vitamin B6, in particular, is known for its ability to enhance the absorption of other nutrients.
Folate (Vitamin B-9) is extremely important during pregnancy. Deficiency in folate creates a higher risk for neural tube defects in the baby and other deformities. B-12 is also important during pregnancy to help avoid loss of pregnancy due to anemia and other defects. Most pregnancy vitamin prescriptions have a lot of B-9 and B-12 to help avoid these problems.
Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails
Almost all B vitamins are needed for the growth and development of superficial layers of skin. Problems with B deficiencies for hair, skin, and nails are dandruff, dry scaly skin, dermatitis, graying of hair, dementia, and premature signs of aging. Sometimes vitamin B-6 is given for management of psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, acne or other skin lesions.
Pernicious anemia is caused by a deficiency in folate (aka vitamin B-9 or folic acid) and vitamin B-12. The red blood cells become unusually large and can damage blood vessel walls, leading to a higher rate of cell breakdown and then anemia.
Synthesis of DNA
Vitamins B-12 and folate act as carbon donors for the formation of DNA base-pairs. Deficiencies in B-6, B-7 and B-12 can affect physical growth and development.
Antioxidant and Anti-Cancer
Having plenty of B complex in the body is considered protective against breast, lung, and liver cancers with their antioxidant activities. They help reduce and neutralize free radicals and toxins.
Having enough B vitamins promotes mental well-being and decreases the risk of developing depression, anxiety, memory decline, age-related cognitive decline, and more, especially in the elderly. You might often hear people say their ‘nerves’ are improved when they take a B-complex supplement.
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Vitamin B-12 is especially critical for lowering homocysteine levels, a big contributor to heart disease, and other vascular disorders that can create life-threatening cardio events.
Pyridoxine (B-6) can help prevent kidney stones, especially when taken with other minerals, like magnesium. It helps regulate the concentration of oxalate in the urine and other minerals that are involved with the formation of stones.
How To Tell If You’re Deficient?
These are signs you might not be getting enough B Vitamins:
- skin rashes
- cracks around the mouth
- scaly skin on the lips
- swollen tongue
- irritability or depression
- abdominal cramps
- numbness or tingling in the feet and hands
These can be symptoms of other conditions too, so talk to your doctor about them.
Video On B-Complex
What Foods Have B Vitamins?
Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) – Lentils and legumes, grains, dark green vegetables, fish, eggs, and poultry.
Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) – Broccoli and other green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and dairy products.
Vitamin B-3 (niacin) – White meat and fish and legumes and wheat.
Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) – Mushrooms, broccoli, yogurt, avocadoes, lentils, and split-peas.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) – Meats like beef and fish, dairy products.
Vitamin B-7 (biotin) – In almost all high quality foods (non-processed foods).
Vitamin B-9 (folic acid/folate) – Green leafy vegetables like spinach, green turnips, asparagus, fenugreek and other fruits and vegetables. Also in fortified cereals and food products.
Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) – All leafy green vegetables and fish, crab, eggs, milk and other dairy products, red meat, and poultry. Also in grains and soy.
If you’ve gone gluten-free (good for you!) or are on a keto or modified keto diet, you will probably want to supplement with a B-complex supplement since a big source of B vitamins are from grains. If you plan to supplement a B-Complex, I’m including a few here to get you started.
Swanson Ultra- Activated B-Complex – High Bioavailability
Nature’s Answer- Liquid Vitamin B-Complex with Quik-Sorb – NaturalTangerine
Jarrow Formulas, Inc.- B-Right Optimized B-Complex
Where We Are Now
As you can see, B-complex is important for many bodily and brain functions. I take a B-complex every day, after some of the health concerns I’ve had and also for brain health. A few of the B vitamins help prevent dementia and even help memory and concentration. I won’t say no to that. 🙂
I hope you learned something new about B-complex vitamins and how important they are for good health. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the Comments section below. Thank you!
Cronkleton, E. (2018). Why Is Vitamin B Complex Important, and Where Do I Get It? Healthline.com Retrieved 5/10/20 from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vitamin-b-complex
Vitamin B Complex Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved 5/10/20 from http://www.med-health.net/B-Complex-Benefits.html
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