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Vitamin B is not just a singular vitamin, it is actually a complex of vitamins which play very important roles in cellular metabolism. The vitamin B complex is water soluble which means that it is not stored in the human body for a long duration of time. They can be found in both plant and animal derived foods and/or supplements and must be taken daily.
Vitamin B’s are either a co-factor for key metabolic processes or a precursor to make one. Simply put they are very very important for the body’s metabolic processes. They all play a major role in the body’s day to day normal functions. A lack of appropriate B vitamins will result in sub-optimal performance of the human body.
Let’s go through the main B vitamins:
– B1 aka Thiamine: A coenzyme in the catabolism (breakdown) of sugars and amino acids.
– B2 aka Riboflavin: A precursor needed for enzyme reactions and activation of other vitamins.
– B3 aka Niacin: A precursor needed in many metabolic processes.
– B5 aka Pantothenic Acid: A precursor of Coenzyme A which is used to metabolise many molecules.
– B6 aka Pyridoxine: A coenzyme involved in enzymatic reactions during metabolism.
– B7 aka Biotin: A coenzyme need for the synthesis of fatty acids and gluconeogenesis (making glucose from non-carbohydrates).
– B9 aka Folic Acid: A precursor essential for making, repairing and methylating DNA. Extremely important in aiding rapid cell division and growth especially during pregnancy and infancy.
– B12 aka Cobolamins: A coenzyme involved in the metabolism of every cell in the human body, it also affects DNA synthesis and regulation as well as fatty acid metabolism and amino acid metabolism.
What happens when you’re deficient specific B vitamins?
– B1: BeriBeri which is a disease of the nervous system complemented by weight loss, emotional flux, impaired sensory perception, weakness and pain in libs, irregular heartbeat and swelling of bodily tissues.
– B2: Cracks in the lips, high sunlight sensitivity, tongue inflammation, sore throat, edema, etc
– B3: Aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion and even diarrhoea. Four D’s (dermatitis, diarrhoea, dementia and death).
– B5: Acne and paresthesia.
– B6: Pink eye, epilepsy.
– B7: Impaired growth and neurological disorders in infants.
– B9: In adults, elevated levels of homocysteine and in pregnant women, a deficiency can lead to horrific birth defects.
Vitamin B sources (Due to the large number of B vitamins, a list for the most often needed will be listed):
– B6: Fortified cereals, beans, poultry, fish, dark leafy greens, papayas, oranges and cantaloupe.
– B9: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, breakfast cereals, fortified grains and grain products. Avoid foods heavily fortified in folic acid.
– B12: fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy, fortified breakfast cereals, enriched soy or rice milk. B12 should be supplemented if you are an athlete.
Supplementation advice: In addition to a healthy well-balanced diet, take a high quality, pharmaceutical grade multi-vitamin daily to ensure that every B vitamin reaches its optimal functional level. Any excess in B vitamins will be excreted.
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