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Vitamin B:Health Benefits of vitamin B complex

Updated on October 21, 2015
Vitamin B is found in fresh food
Vitamin B is found in fresh food

The B vitamin group – why are all the B’s so important?

Have you ever felt like you have completely gone to pieces, tired, like you just want to cry all the time, disorientated and like you have absolutely no energy to get you off the couch.

All of these symptoms can be attributed to the lack of those vital vitamin B’s.

The vitamins in the vitamin B group are water-soluble therefore not stored nor manufactured in the body. It is only recently that scientists have released how important the B vitamins are for our general health and a lot of research is still being done.

Sadly our modern diet is severely lacking in B vitamins. As a matter of fact a lot of scientists have gone as far to say that the main reasons We suffer from a lack of B vitamins is our modern diet and environment.

We eat a lot more processed food, white bread and pasta, white rice, microwave our food, eat on the run and the list is endless. Plus we consume much more alcohol than is good for us.

Another concern is our modern environment – stress kills B vitamins and also pollution that we inhale into our lungs and subsequently join the bloodstream.

I am afraid our bodies cannot filter out all of the toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis, all carbon based pollution is particularly bad news for the B vitamins

The function of Vitamin B

The B’s are very busy vitamins and they do a lot of things and I thought I would spend some time introducing them all to you individually. Most of the time I recommend a good quality B vitamin complex however there are times when I will recommend a complex as well as an individual higher strength vitamin.

Let's meet the team that makes up the Vitamin B group.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

What does it do ? Thiamin (B1) helps in the formation of red blood cells. It also vital to the correct working of the heart and it supports a healthy nervous system. B1 is essential for food assimilation and digestion, particularly sugar and alcohol. A lot of diet supplements contain high levels of Vitamin B1 as it helps to stabilize appetite.

Symptoms of lack of Vitamin B1
The most serious symptom is an irregular heart beat. As B1 is vital to forming red blood cells it is clear that a lack of red blood cells would be a real problem for the heart. If is not receiving enough red blood cells it cannot function properly.

A lack of B1 can also affect the electric system of the heart causing arrhythmia i.e. an irregular heart. Other symptoms include weakness, and nervous disorders.

Where can I find it?

It is found in large amount in liver and other organ food but you can also found it in wholegrain bread, wheat germ and bran. Other excellent sources are molasses and Wakame seaweed. Brewers yeast in an excellent source of vitamin B1.

TOP TIP: The food additive Monosodium Glutamate destroys vitamin B1, and so does alcohol

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

What does it do?

This one is a really great one. It gives energy to the cells AND it cleans them. It is a great team player working together with enzymes and together they use fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Lots of folk that are serious about exercise, and professional athletes, make sure they get as much of this vitamin as they can. When you exercise vitamin B2 rushes out of its hiding place in the muscles and gives you extra energy. Also great for hair, skin and eyesight.

Symptoms of lack of Vitamin B2

Dizziness, insomnia, sores around the mouth and my friend Dr Hagemans , an Ophthalmologist, tells me another symptom can be problems with seeing at dusk.

Where can I find it?

It is found in small quantities in food such as meat, milk, yogurt and eggs.
Honestly, it is quite difficult to get hold of this B vitamin.

TOP TIP: If you have recently taken antibiotics you might need some extra B2.

Vitamin B3 – Niacin

What does it do?

There are actually two forms of this vitamin, and they are nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. Niacin keeps your blood cholesterol levels in check and it helps with circulation.

It is crucial for the nervous system and is necessary for the production of sex hormones. Once in the body it takes on the role of a co-enzyme and should win an Oscar for the part It plays in the breakdown of FATS, protein and carbohydrates.

Symptoms of lack of Vitamin B3

No surprise here really, high cholesterol and high blood fats. It is also associated with dementia .

Where can I find it?
Try poultry, fish and peanuts. ( Yes, you can find it in peanut butter) Also in wheat germ and seaweeds.

TOP TIP: Niacin given in high doses lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and
raises the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid

What does it do?

Vitamin B5 occurs in all living cells and it helps to make the adrenal glands work better, and adrenal hormones such as cortisone. It most important role is to help out with cell metabolism. Great vitamin to have around if you are suffering from mental or physical stress.

Symptoms of lack of Vitamin B5

Hormonal problems and nervousness. Problems of the digestive tract and poor mental alertness, and intestinal problems

Where can I find it?
Egg yolks and whole grain cereal are the best sources. Try eating organic grains if you can

TOP TIP: Buckwheat is a brilliant source of Vitamin B5. Love your Buckwheat pancakes!

Vitamin B6

What does it do?

This is a balancing B vitamin and helps to keep an eye on sodium and potassium in the body. Sodium and potassium are responsible for the correct levels of body fluids and this is why thousands of ladies around the world find B6 so helpful. It is a must for keeping your energy levels up during physical activity and is often added to sports drinks.

Symptoms of lack of Vitamin B6

Bloating, heavy legs and tiredness. I call it “ I can’t get off the sofa vitamin” because that is exactly how you feel when you are short of this vitamin.

Where can I find it?

It is found in meat and whole grains.

Ladies, girls and women of the world – take a complex B vitamin all through the month. Two weeks before your cycle starting taking extra vitamin B6 and a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is excellent for PMT headaches.

Vitamin B12

What does it do?

Without this vitamin you body cannot utilize iron and it helps with the production of DNA and RNA. It is often called the vitamin for longevity and is needed for nerve function. It also helps out with the metabolism of carbs, fats and protein.

Symptoms of lack of Vitamin B12

Heart problems such as high blood fats which causes built up plaque in the arteries.
If you eat a lot fast foods and processed food you are likely to need a B12 supplement.

Where can I find it?

Fish, beef , nuts and seeds. Green vegetables are an excellent source of B12

TOP TIP: Have you had a heart attack? Make sure you get plenty of B12


What does it do?

This is a great B vitamin. It is another of the great team player and if it wasn’t for
this guy the body’s fat production just would not work. it is co-enzyme so therefore it is
a vital anti-oxidant.

Symptoms of lack of Biotin

Serious heart problems, depression and dermatitis.

Where can I find it?
Sardines is a great source of Biotin also mushrooms, lentils and cauliflower.

Folic Acid

What does it do?

Folic acid helps with cell division, and it is necessary for the production of red blood cells. Also, it assists with forming nucleic acid which in turns make sure that our cells reproduce and grow.

Symptoms of lack of Folic Acid

Once again this is important for the heart and helps B12 to lower so something called
Homocysteine. People with high levels of Homocysteine are more likely to suffer from heart problems. A lack of B12 causes anemia and two of the top symptoms are tiredness and breathlessness.

Where can I find it?

Alfa Alfa sprouts are a great source of Folic Acid. Also found in Broccoli, liver and
Leafy greens

TOP TIP: Add Alfa Alfa Sprouts to your salads and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.

10 Reasons You Should take a Vitamin B Complex

1) Pollution destroys vitamin B, and we are subjected to a let of pollution.

2) Our fruit and vegetables travel along way to reach us, in the process they lose a lot of vitamin B.

3) Helps to lower both LDL cholesterol and balance HDL cholesterol.

4) It is a water soluble vitamin, our bodies can't manufacture or store it.

5) It is a rejuvenating vitamin - it helps to keep us young.

6) Helps to control sugar levels in the blood.

7) Can be used to treat a range of nervous conditions.

8) Helps to keep the immune system healthy

9) Can lower level of homocysteine within the body.

10) Vitamin B will help us to form more neuro connections

Vitamin B12

Scientists are beginning to realize how important vitamin B12 is for the human body. The effects of stress can be reduced if you boost your vitamin b12 intake during stressful periods in your life.

Anaemia - 90% of anaemia sufferers have also been found to be lacking vitamin B12 proving that taking a B12 supplement with extra iron is important.

© 2012 Annie Messeri


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