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B Vitamins Play an Essential Role in Metabolism
The B vitamins were once thought of as a single vitamin called Vitamin B. After much research, we discovered that there are actually 8 distinct vitamins. Further research has also concluded that B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they are easily excreted from the body and therefore must be consumed continuously through our diet. B vitamins have often been the talk of the supplement over the years because of the essential role it plays in the metabolic process. B vitamins are essential in functions such as increasing metabolic rate, maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone, enhancing immune and nervous system functions, and promoting cell growth and division. Each B vitamin has a specific function in the metabolic process.
Vitamin B1– Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamine. Thiamine is essential for healthy brain function and carbohydrate metabolism. Thiamine deficiency can cause a disease called Beriberi, which is a disease of the nerves and heart. Symptoms of this disease are weight loss, emotional instability, weakness, pain in arms and legs, impaired sensory perception, irregular heartbeat and in severe conditions death can occur. Thiamine can be found in various foods, in low concentrations. Yeast and pork have the highest concentration of thiamine, but you can also find it in foods such as whole grains, whole wheat flour, oats, flax, sunflower seeds, brown rice, kale, potatoes, oranges, liver and eggs.
Vitamin B2– Vitamin B2 is also known as Riboflavin. Riboflavin is necessary for many cellular processes within the body including the metabolism of energy, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and ketone bodies. Riboflavin deficiency can cause ariboflavinosis, which is protein-energy malnutrition. Symptoms may include fissures in the groin, sensitivity to sunlight and inflammation of the tongue. Riboflavin can be found in a variety of foods such as milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, liver, kidney, legumes, yeast, mushrooms and almonds.
Vitamin B3– Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin. Niacin is an essential nutrient that plays a role in the metabolic process. Niacin is involved in DNA repair and the production of steroid hormones in the adrenal gland. Niacin deficiency along with tryptophan deficiency is called Pellagra. Pellagra symptoms include aggression, skin inflammation, insomnia, mental confusion, and diarrhea. Niacin can be found in a variety of foods such as salmon, avocados, broccoli, nuts, seeds, whole grains, carrots and mushrooms and animal products such as steak, chicken and pork.
Vitamin B5– Vitamin B5 is also known as Pantothenic Acid. Pantothenic is an essential nutrient for sustaining life. It plays a key role in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Pantothenic deficiencies can cause acne and in severe cases can cause paresthesia, numbness of the skin. Pantothenic acid can be found in many foods, but whole grains, legumes, meat, eggs and royal jelly contain the highest amount.
Vitamin B6– Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. Pyridoxine helps balance sodium and potassium and promotes red blood cell production. Pyridoxine has also been linked to cardiovascular health by lowering levels of Homocysteine, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease. Pyridoxine deficiency can lead to anemia, high blood pressure, water retention, depression and dermatitis. Pyridoxine can be found in various grains, green leafy vegetables, liver, eggs and meat.
Vitamin B7– Vitamin B7 is also known as Biotin. Biotin is a cofactor in the metabolism of fatty acids and leucine, and plays a role in regulating your blood glucose levels. Deficiency in adults usually causes no symptoms; however, in infants it may cause impaired growth and neurological disorders. Biotin can be found in a wide variety of foods such as liver, legumes, soy, milk, in small amounts, but higher concentrations can be found in royal jelly and brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin B9– Vitamin B9 is also known as Folic Acid. Folic acid is essential for many biological functions such as playing a key role in the metabolic process for the production of healthy red blood cells and the prevention of anemia to the reduction of Homocysteine levels and cardiovascular diseases. Some research has also shown evidence that Folic Acid can slow the effects of aging on the brain. Folic acid is especially important during pregnancy as a deficiency in pregnant women can lead to birth defects, so supplementation during pregnancy is often recommended. Folic acid can be found in large amounts in leafy vegetables, beans, peas, sunflower seeds, liver and bread yeast.
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is sometimes called cobalamin. Vitamin B12 has been a popular supplement in energy drinks because of its vital role in the normal functioning of the nervous system and brain. Along with folic acid, vitamin B12 helps produce healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 also plays a role in the metabolism of cells in the body, including their regulation and synthesis, as well as in the synthesis and energy production of fatty acids. Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in anemia, inability of DNA to be synthesized in the production of red blood cells, memory loss, increased chances of cardiovascular disease and other cognitive defects. Because vitamin B12 is only found in meat, eggs, milk, and other animal products, vegans must supplement their diet with vitamin B12 or buy plant-based foods that have vitamin B12 added to them.
B vitamins are the second most important supplement you can take besides a multi-vitamin for a healthy body. B vitamins are an essential part of getting the most nutrients from your diet and helping your body stay energetic and healthy. It’s very difficult to consume optimal amounts of each B vitamin individually, so it’s much easier and cheaper to take a B vitamin complex. Even if you’re not sure if you’re getting too much of a specific B vitamin, don’t you can overdose because it is easily excreted from the body. Also with a complex you use the synergistic effect of all B vitamins, which means better digestion and absorption of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. B vitamins should be taken after a meal, but don’t take them at the same meal as your multi-vitamin.
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