Made up of eight different vitamins, the Vitamin B complex is an important and diverse group of nutrients that work together to perform a wide range of functions in the human body.
Each B Vitamin plays a unique role in the human body and every single one is necessary to your health. This family of eight includes:
- Vitamin B1: thiamine
- Vitamin B2: riboflavin
- Vitamin B3: niacin
- Vitamin B5: pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B6: pyridoxine
- Vitamin B7: biotin
- Vitamin B9: folic acid
- Vitamin B12: cobalamin
How They Affect Your Health
B vitamins are essential for growth, development, and a variety of other bodily functions. They play a major role in the activities of enzymes, which are important in turning food into energy and other needed substances. Some of their major functions in the body include:
The B Vitamin complex governs cell division and growth of pathogen-fighting white blood cells. This group of vitamins also supports the development and maintenance of the immune system overall.
B Vitamins act with enzymes to convert carbohydrates to glucose and also to metabolize fats, proteins, and amino acids.
Muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract is enhanced with proper levels of B vitamins, allowing the bowels to function most efficiently.
The complex vitamins work together to help prevent macular degeneration, a condition that occurs when the small central portion of the retina deteriorates. They also support the health of the optic nerve.
Skin and Hair Health
Various vitamins in the complex assist in retaining moisture and helping to hydrate skin, while also promoting hair and nail growth.
This vitamin complex can regulate cholesterol levels and helps to prevent hardening of arteries.
B Vitamins are used to formulate red blood cells and hemoglobin, in addition to promoting their circulation throughout the body.
Neural and Brain Function
The B Vitamin complex is required for optimal neurological functioning of the brain. It improves hormone function and assists neurotransmitters in memory consolidation and other higher mental functioning.
B Vitamins – especially B6, B9, and B12 – are vitally important for the healthy formation of a growing fetus inside the womb. From fetal brain development and spinal formation to delivering blood and oxygen to the uterus, this vitamin complex is integral to maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
While some of the Vitamin B complex provide aid for sleep, that does not mean that they need to be taken before bedtime. The functions that aid sleep are ongoing, providing the nutrition that the body needs for natural sleep cycles; they are not to be confused with herbs or medicines that create drowsiness. Some of the functions that are assisted by B vitamins and that promote better sleep are the health of the adrenal glands, rapid eye-movement sleep, and the production of melatonin.
In the Morning, with Food!
Since B Vitamins aid energy production, this aspect of their action could interfere with sleep if they are taken too close to bedtime. It might be better to take them in the morning, so that sleep is not interfered with!
Also, always take B Vitamins with a meal, since on an empty stomach, much will simply pass through your system and be wasted.
Where to Find Them
B Vitamins are water soluble, which means they are digested quickly and must be consumed on a daily basis to maintain healthy levels within the body. A few foods that are high in multiple B Vitamins are:
- Almonds and hazelnuts
- Salmon, trout, tuna and cod
- Lamb, beef, and poultry, especially liver
- Eggs and dairy
- Certain fruits, including avocado, pomegranate, dates, and watermelons
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach
- Legumes, such as soy beans, kidney beans, and lentils
- Nutritional yeast
- Whole grains, wheat germ, and rice polish
Although there are also many supplements that contain B complex vitamins; we encourage you to search out all-natural options that are high quality and easy for your body to digest. Living Clean offers several different Vitamin B supplements in our online store, or you can read more about B vitamins:
- Introduction to the B Vitamins, Part II
- How Does B2 Help Pregnant and Nursing Mothers?
- Feeling Exhausted? The Answer May Surprise You