Welcome back to Week 2 of the Vitamin Series! We are going to take a closer look at the importance and function of B vitamins! Starting with the benefits, food sources, and then the importance of coupling the B vitamins together.
B Vitamin Benefits
When we talk about B vitamins we are speaking of the more commonly known and used B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12. They are a class of water-soluble vitamins (what is not used in the body will be discarded/they will not store in the body) that play similar roles and have similar chemical properties– yet some of them have specific functions. They are considered “essential” since the body does not produce them on it’s own: it is critical to receive them through diet or supplementation. Let’s break them down and talk a little about each one.
- Helps the body’s cells change carbohydrates into energy
- Assists in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals
- Improves the cardiovascular function of the body
- Maintains the muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract
- Improves the body’s ability to withstand stress
- Important for growth and bodily repair
- Also acts as an antioxidant
- Maintains healthy blood cells
- B2 (Riboflavin) must be present in high enough amounts in the body to allow other B vitamins including B6 and folic acid to properly do their jobs
- Improves cholesterol levels– one of the best natural remedies for reducing cholesterol. However, this B vitamin will cause a side effect called “flushing” which can feel uncomfortable due to the small capillaries that dilate/expand to increase blood flow.
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Maintains skin health
- Helps with joint mobility
- Supports brain function
- Immune support
- Helps build keratin (strengthens hair and nails)
- Protects against sun damage
- Assists with respiratory health (can be beneficial for conditions such as asthma or allergies)
- Stimulates adrenal hormones
- Helps with endurance and stamina for active individuals
- Boosts the immune system
- Supports healthy blood flow
- Helps to make hemoglobin that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body
- Helps maintain a healthy nervous system
- Helps to maintain blood sugar levels
- Can help relieve pain
- Maintains health of hair, skin, and nails–one of its most prized benefits is that it can help with increasing hair and nail growth (also known as the beauty vitamin)
- Helps with conversions of fats and carbohydrates–turning them into energy for the body
- Supports healthy fetal development during pregnancy
- Supports brain and heart health
- Helps with hemoglobin formation in the blood
- Helps support energy levels
- Helps support mood
- Supports adrenals
- Supports DNA synthesis
- Helps with enzyme production
- Some people need to take the methylcobalamin for proper absorption due to their specific genetics not being able to absorb the other most common form of B12- cyanocobalamin (something to consider)
As you can see the B vitamins are critical for every day function of all the cells in the body. They all work together in harmony and assist in helping to convert the food we eat into energy! They also support a healthy metabolism, nerve function as well as supporting with eye, skin, hair and liver health. We think its fitting that they are categorized as the “B” vitamins because they do all the hard work to help maintain the wellness of our “B”eing!
Foods with Vitamin B
B vitamins are found predominantly in meat products. However, they can be found from vegetables as well as other sources in lower quantities. Also, it may be a good idea to consider supplementing with B vitamins if you are vegan or vegetarian since B12, as well as the other B vitamins, are found in larger amounts in meat and fish. Here are a few food sources for B vitamins:
- Organ meats, like liver or kidneys
- Grass-fed meat
- Wild-caught fish, like salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, etc.
- Free-range eggs
- Pastured chicken and turkey
- Raw milk
- Dairy products, like yogurt, cheese and kefir
- Leafy green vegetables
- Nuts and seeds, like sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts and more
- Sea vegetables, like spirulina
- Beans, legumes and peas
- Nutritional yeast
- Bee Pollen (Bee Vitamins!)
Coupling with B Vitamins
You can always supplement with individual B vitamins if you feel you may be lacking in one of them. However they work best when taken in a B-complex as they work together in synergy: you’ll receive more energy and stress management when paired together! Vitamin C pairs nicely with the B’s as well assisting in their absorbancy as well as boosting similar benefits!
Stay tuned for next week of our Vitamin Series as we look into all of the MUCH NEEDED benefits of Vitamin C!
As always, do what you feel is best for YOUR body– if you aren’t sure, ask your doctor. We are health ENTHUSIASTS not licensed practitioners.