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The Vitamin B complex vitamins offer numerous benefits to our bodies. Studies indicate that B vitamins help support and increase the metabolism rate, which means they can help you burn more fat as part of a healthy lifestyle. They also help sustain healthy skin and muscle tone, and improve the function of the immune and nervous systems. They are thought to help cell growth and division — including red blood cell growth that help ward off anemia, and combined, they help battle the symptoms and causes of stress, depression, and heart disease. That's some pretty powerful benefits from one group of vitamins!
All of the B vitamins are water soluble, which means they are dissolved and carried in water throughout the body. You should take B vitamins every day, because any extra you may take or produce are not stored in the body, but excreted in urine every day.
Vitamin B has some special health benefits, but not getting enough Vitamin B can hurt your health, too. There are several notable Vitamin B deficiencies, including some that can be very harmful to your health if they continue. Some of the Vitamin B deficiency problems include:
Originally, scientists thought the B vitamin group was made up of only one vitamin – Vitamin B, but today we know that a whole variety of vitamins makes up the Vitamin B complex, actually eight different vitamins in all, and many of them have very common names that are familiar to most people. Here are the eight vitamins and their common names:
Vitamin B complex vitamins are some of the most essential nutrients for good health, including niacin and thiamin, and deficiencies in these vitamins can lead to a host of health concerns.
You can get your daily Vitamin B from a variety of sources, including brewer's yeast, molasses, lentils, potatoes, bananas, chili peppers, liver oil, liver, turkey, and tuna. You don't have to worry about eating too much vitamin B in these foods, because the extra is not retained in your body, but excreted when it is not needed. However, if you don't eat enough of these items to gain your daily Vitamin B needs, you should take a complete Vitamin B complex supplement, that includes all the B vitamins you need for daily health and well being.
Vitamin B is essential for good health, and there are several types of B vitamins that work together to keep your body running smoothly. B vitamins are water-soluble, so they aren't stored in the body and you need to replenish them every day. Many factors can deplete B vitamins even more, including excessive exercise, dieting, smoking, alcohol consumption, and even taking oral contraceptives. That's where supplements can help.
For example, Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is not stored in the body, so it's important to get enough in your diet from food and supplements. Vitamin B2 works in conjunction with other B vitamins to help the body release the energy it stores as carbohydrates. If you're participating in sports, or even if you are just moderately active, you get your energy from the body's ability to process carbohydrates.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, has been shown to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels and can help prevent the narrowing of the blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Also, anyone who follows a strict vegetarian or vegan diet needs vitamin B12 supplements because the best food sources for B12 are animal products. Although some non-animal products contain B12, the amounts are not enough to meet the body's needs. If you don't get enough B12 in your body, you can develop anemia or you may experience weakness, loss of balance, or tingling in the arms and legs.
But Vitamin B's benefits don't stop with physical health. A recent study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that adults who were being treated for depression had high levels of the amino acid called homocysteine in their blood, which can make it difficult to break down folic acid. Consequently, anti-depressants appeared to be more effective in people who took folic acid supplements, although the connection between depression and problems processing folic acid remains unknown.
One of the best ways to ensure that you get enough of all the Vitamin B complex vitamins is to take a Vitamin B supplement every day. Look for a natural Vitamin B supplement sold at quality health food or natural food stores, and look for a vitamin B supplement without added fillers or starches.
If you enjoy energy drinks, you may be getting enough vitamin B already, as it is often added to these drinks, so check the label for the vitamins it contains. And remember that alcohol can keep your body from using Vitamin B (and other vitamins) effectively.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|