B-Complex Vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. These vitamins play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines and help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. The Vitamin B-Complex consist of 8 B vitamins, each providing its own benefit, yet working synergistically to help the body convert food into energy.
B1 is known as the anti-stress vitamin due to its ability to not only protect the immune system against stress, but to help the body create new cells. Another benefit of B1 is its ability to breakdown simple sugars, thus helping the body digest carbohydrates. B1 is found in the whole foods like peanuts, spinach and wheat germ.
B2 is a vitamin that has many uses. The first is its ability to act as an antioxidant or radical raider. These radical raiders help break down free radicals that can contribute to early aging as well as a host of other diseases. An increased benefit of B2 is its ability to help stave off migraines. Foods that B2 can be found in are wild rice, eggs, yogurt, almonds, and soybeans.
The primary function of Niacin is its effects on increasing HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol). Some of the other benefits of Niacin include its ability to help with maintaining healthy skin, boosting memory, and aiding the digestive tract to absorb sufficient carbohydrates. Alcohol can lower the levels of niacin in the body. Foods that have higher levels of niacin are red meats, eggs, beans and vegetables.
B5 (Panthothenic Acid)
There are smaller amount of B5 in foods that are part of every food group. One of the chief benefits of B5 is it’s use by the body in breaking down fats and carbohydrates to be used by the body for energy. B5 is also part of the system that is in charge of the production of sex and stress-related hormones in the body such as testosterone. Some studies have been shown B5 helping to promote healthier looking skin and reduce some signs of aging. Some foods containing B5 are avocados, eggs and meats.
B6 has the unique ability to help in the regulation of levels of the amino acid homocysteine which is associated with heart disease. B6 is also an important part of how the body produces serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine which are all related to mood and sleep patterns. Some studies have shown increasing levels of B6 can aid in relief of inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Foods B6 can be found in are chicken, tuna, turkey, salmon, and brown rice.
B7 is known in many ways as the vitamin of beauty for its effect of hair, skin, and nail health. Other effects of Biotin are assisting in controlling high blood glucose levels in diabetics. B7 is also great for pregnant woman as it is important to the normal growth of the baby. Foods high in B7 content are liver, yeast, pork, fish, and nuts.
This B vitamin can be found in a natural form as well as a synthetic form known as folic acid. There are studies that show B9 may have the ability to decrease the effects of depression as well as prevent memory loss. For pregnant woman B9 is important to normal growth of the baby as well as preventing neurological birth defects. Folate can be found in dark leafy greens, beets, salmon, milk, and beans.
B12 works with the vitamin B9 to help increase levels of red blood cells. It can also assist Iron in working within the body. Since B12 is only found in animals, it is important for vegetarians to supplement B12 to avoid having a deficiency that could become a threat to their health. Foods found in fish, shellfish, beef, pork, and eggs.
Even though the B-Complex vitamins are found in many foods, they are water soluble and delicate. They are easily destroyed, particularly by alcohol and cooking. Food processing can also reduce the amount of B-group vitamins in foods, making white flours, breads and rice less nutritious than their whole grain counterparts.
The body has a limited capacity to store most of the B-Complex vitamins (except B12 and folate, which are stored in the liver). A person who has a poor diet for a few months may end up with B-Complex vitamins deficiency. For this reason, it is important that adequate amounts of these vitamins be eaten regularly as part of a well-balanced, nutritious diet.