The B vitamin family is a category of water-soluble vitamins that perform essential functions for cellular metabolism. Although these vitamins belong in the same group, medical research reveals that they are all chemically unique and that they usually coexist with one another in the same food sources.
In general, nutritional supplements that contain all eight B vitamins are known as vitamin B complex, while those that only contain a single B vitamin are usually called by its specific name.
Each of them is either a cofactor, mostly a coenzyme, for vital metabolic procedures, or is a required substance for the production of an enzyme. Besides helping us process food, they also aid us in mood modulation and in the production of new red blood cells, making them an important factor in both brain and body health.
B vitamins are abundant in food sources rich in protein such as poultry, dairy products, fish, eggs, and meat. Green leafy vegetables, peas and beans also provide these vitamins, together with many other essential nutrients. Insufficiencies in these substances can weaken the immune system, and can trigger a variety of illnesses.
B Vitamins and Advantages
A few of them assist cells in burning fats and glucose for energy production, some generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin, while others help with the development and restoration of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Despite their abundance in food sources, many people still do not get the sufficient B vitamins their bodies need. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), inadequate intake of folic acid, B6 and B12 are particularly common.
Make sure your diet includes enough vitamin B-rich foods, as these are necessary for proper regulation of bodily functions and for your overall health. If your stress level is too high, your temperament always seems off-kilter, or if your daily diet is low in B’s, you will benefit better from supplements that contain higher amounts than those found in natural sources.
Sources of B Vitamins
As previously mentioned, the B vitamins are available in whole, natural foods. Highly processed carbohydrates like sugar and white flour are likely to possess lower B vitamin levels when compared to their unprocessed equivalents.
In an effort to keep some of the nutritional value of these handled goods, it is now required by law all over the globe that the B vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid, and niacin should be integrated back to white flour after refinement – products usually labeled as the “Enriched Flour”. Other sources include tuna, turkey and organ meats, and can also be found in legumes, bananas, potatoes and tempeh.
However, it is important to note that vitamin B12 is not available in plant products, and that B12 deficiency is a regular issue in vegetarians. Keep in mind that, although many vegetarian food sources will display a vitamin B12 on the label, this is not a form of B12 that the human body can process and, as such, many vegetarians are surprised when blood tests show their B12 is too low claiming they eat sufficient amounts.
At this time, supplements or eating some animal products is necessary for most people to consume sufficient vitamin B12. B vitamins are also generally combined with energy drinks, a lot of which have been distributed with huge amounts of B vitamins with promises that this allows the user to “sail through the day without any jittery or tense feelings.”
Some dieticians have been critical of these particular assurances, highlighting the fact that while B vitamins do help release the energy in food, the majority of Americans get the needed quantities in their diet plans, except for the vitamin B12. Since they are soluble in water, excess amount of these vitamins, even when consumed through supplements, and ingestion, utilization, and metabolic processes may vary, are usually easily excreted.
Athletes, both young and old, may have to augment their consumption of B12 and supplementary B vitamins because of issues with absorption and greater requirements for energy generation.
In instances of serious insufficiency of B vitamins, particularly B12, disorders can be treated through supplemental injections. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics can also be encouraged to include thiamine supplements in their diets, as a decrease in thiamine concentration have been related to the disease. Additionally, Vitamin B9 deficiency in earlier embryo development has been connected with neural tube problems. Pregnant women, or those who are trying to bear children, are generally urged to boost daily dietary folic acid consumption either through natural food sources or through supplementation for this reason.