B Vitamins

Eric Bakker N.D.May 10, 2022

B vitamins are needed for preventive care, and getting the recommended levels of vitamins each day is a crucial part of the nutrition equation. B vitamins are found in green vegetables, whole or enriched grains, dairy, and meats, and have been related to a lower risk of stroke, according to study.

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Eric Bakker Naturopath » Recipes » B Vitamins

The B vitamins belong to the water-soluble group of vitamins. This means that they are excreted in the urine and can be quickly depleted from the body. When we take more water-soluble vitamins than we need, small amounts are stored in body tissue, particularly the liver, but most of the excess is excreted in urine. Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body in appreciable amounts and are depleted from the body so quickly, it is important that we take supplements of the B vitamins in large daily amounts to replenish these important vitamins in our body.

The B vitamins act as co-enzymes, compounds that unite with a protein component called an apoenzyme to form an active enzyme. The enzyme then acts as a catalyst in the chemical reactions that transfer energy from the basic food elements to the body. The B vitamins are a group of eight vitamins, which include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid and biotin. Most of the B vitamins have been recognized as coenzymes, and they all appear to be essential in facilitating the metabolic processes that are essential for life. These vitamins are essential for the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, which provides us energy, the breakdown of fats and proteins, which aids the normal functioning of the nervous system, muscle tone in the stomach and intestinal tract, and healthy skin, hair, and eyes. Since these vitamins affect such important elements of your body, a source that provides them all in a single daily supplement is recommended.

The B vitamins are important for the proper formation of every cell in your body, particularly nerve cells. This is why it is so important for pregnant women to take supplements that contain the B vitamins, particularly folic acid, and why a deficiency of certain B vitamins manifests itself first as a depressed mood or being moody. Vitamin B1, or thiamine, helps the body turn carbohydrates into energy. It also helps your body metabolize proteins and fats. Vitamin B1 deficiency affects the functioning of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and peripheral nervous systems. Thiamine deficiency can cause Beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, sometimes seen in alcoholics. Symptoms of beriberi include loss of appetite and overall lassitude, digestive irregularities, and a feeling of numbness and weakness in the limbs and extremities. We need vitamin B2, or riboflavin to complete several reactions in the energy cycle. Common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are reddening of the lips with cracks at the corners of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, and a greasy, scaly inflammation of the skin.

The functions of the B Vitamins are closely inter-related and synergistic, and because of these close relationships they share, a deficient (or excessive) intake of one can cause a big imbalance in another by hampering their utilisation.

Vitamin B-1

Thiamine acts as a co-enzyme necessary for the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which is burned in your body for energy. It is essential for the functioning of the nervous system, and a deficiency can cause beri beri, a disease marked by weakness, paralysis and oedema (swelling/fluid retention).

Vitamin B-2

Riboflavin acts as a co-enzyme that activates the breakdown and utilisation of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is essential for cellular oxidation, and a deficiency can cause tissue inflammation and oversensitivity to bright light. (photophobia)

Vitamin B-3

Niacin which is also available in the form of niacinamide, is a co-enzyme that assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Niacin is essential for the health of your skin, tongue and digestive system. The disease pellagra is a result of a niacin deficiency.

Vitamin B-5

Pantothenic Acid, like most B Vitamins, plays an important role in helping to release energy from foods. B-5 is particularly important for the health of the adrenal gland, and without it, the adrenal simply cannot produce adequate cortisol. B-5 is also involved in the production of one to the most important and abundant neurotransmitters called acetylcholine.

Vitamin B-6

Pyridoxine plays a role as a co-enzyme in the breakdown and utilisation of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also facilitates the release of glycogen for energy from the liver and muscles. It also participates in the utilisation of energy in the brain and nervous tissues and is essential for the regulation of the nervous system.

Vitamin B-12

Cobalamin is the only vitamin containing cobalt, a trace mineral. Did you know that it is the biggest vitamin known? B12 is essential for the normal functioning of all body cells, especially those of the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, and is essential for the healthy normal formation of red blood cells.

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