There are a few supplements that I believe everyone should be taking and a B complex is one of them. What is a B complex? A B complex comprises of 8 B vitamins: B1 (Thiamine Pyrophosphate), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyrodoxal Phosphate/Pyrodoxine), B7 (Biotin /Vit H), B9 (Cyanocobalamin), and B12 (Cobalamin). Chances are if you are taking a multi-vitamin you are getting a mix of B vitamins, however, here are a few reasons why it is worth adding a B complex to your diet:
Vitamin B1 enhances circulation, meaning it can aid in cardiovascular disease prevention. It is also essential for carbohydrate metabolism and has a positive effect on nerve cell function and cognitive thinking (ie. calms the nervous system).
Vitamin B2 is good for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cellular respiration and cell growth. Along with vitamin A, it also maintains mucous membranes. Vitamin B2 is very important during pregnancy for the development of the fetus. Most importantly, it helps with the conversion of tryptophan to niacin and serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which plays a role in regulating sleep and moods, sexual desire and function, and in controlling impulses in the brain. A severe deficiency in tryptophan can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, irritability and unexpected weight loss or gain.
B3 vitamins help increase memory, decrease cholesterol, help with proper circulation, promotes healthy skin and also helps with the metabolism of carbs, fat and protein. When aging, we lose 2% of our brain volume every decade.
There is a toxic amino acid which we all have in our bodies called homocysteine which is linked with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. A deficiency in B3 can lead to Pellagra which is a disease characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia.
The next vitamin is known as the world wide anti-stress vitamin, Vitamin B5. It helps with the production of adrenal hormones and production of neurotransmitters in the brain. It enhances stamina by releasing energy from fats. A deficiency on B5 can lead to headaches, tingling in hands and feet, burning in feet and fatigue.
Vitamin B6 is included in more body functions than any other nutrient, which is why it’s called the master vitamin. This vitamin aids in the prevention of heart disease. People who take oral contraceptives or have kidney issues are deficient in vitamin B6. If you also suffer from headaches and take oral contraceptives, it is important to add Mg+ to change the progesterone and estrogen ratio which has been caused by taking the birth control pill.
Vitamin H or B7 can help with treating Type 2 Diabetes as it helps with the regulation of blood sugar. It promotes healthy sweat glands, nervous tissue and bone marrow. This vitamin aids in cell growth, fatty acid production and, just like B3, helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein. There are a few things you must know about vitamin B7. Fats and oils subjected to heat inhibit its absorption and antibiotic and saccharin directly affect its absorption. A deficiency could cause hair loss, depression, anemia and increased blood sugar.
Vitamin B9, known most commonly as Folic Acid, is important for blood cell formation and synthesis of DNA and RNA. B9 increases immunity and helps with depression and anxiety. B9 also play an extremely important role during pregnancy with the development of the neural tube, which is the embryo’s precursor to the central nervous system which comprises the brain and spinal cord. It is recommended that you stop oral contraceptives for 3 months prior to pregnancy in order for your body to be prepared for a healthy birth. In addition, you should be taking a B complex for 6 weeks prior to pregnancy. Folic acid works best when combined with Vitamin C and Vitamin B12.
Lastly, Vitamin B12 aids in iron utilization, nerve cell activity, and is critical for DNA replication. Those deficient in B12 have a malabsorption issue and become anemic. This can be seen in cases where people are vegetarian or have Crohn’s Disease. This last B vitamin controls the production of homocysteine which, as mentioned before, is toxic to our body.
Adding a B complex really is important to our health and overall well being as it controls different functions in our bodies and can help us regulate it to stay healthy, live a longer life, and enjoy it without the aches and pains that come our way. Stop by a health care practitioner’s office and pick some up today!
Dr. Lydia Ouldchikh