Vitamin B used to be considered a single vitamin, like Vitamin C or D. Later findings showed that it actually consists of chemically complex and distinct vitamins that happen to have very similar properties. So today, the term ‘vitamin B-complex’ or ‘B vitamins’ is used.
B-Complex vitamins include eight water soluble vitamins that take an active part in cell metabolism: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine and Pyridoxamine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B9 (Folic acid), and Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin). B-vitamins are not stored in the body, so they have to be replenished daily. Excess of B-vitamins are excreted in the urine.
1. Benefits of vitamin B-complex
Most B-complex vitamins work together in synergy to provide a number of health benefits for the body. In general, they have been shown to enhance the nervous system and immune function, bolster metabolism, promote cell growth and division–including red blood cells which prevent anemia, and maintain healthy skin and muscle tone. They also work together to help combat stress, fatigue, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
Deficiencies in B-complex vitamins usually result to stress, depression, and cognitive decline. Each nutrient in the B-complex serves a unique purpose, and thus symptoms for deficiencies may vary for each.
2. Food sources of vitamin B-complex
Many of the nutrients in B-complex vitamins are present in the same food source. They are abundant in liver and yeast, notably in nutritional yeast. Other natural food sources of vitamin B include bananas, potatoes, chili peppers, lentils, turkey, tuna, and tempeh. Beer is also a good source of B vitamins due to its high yeast content, but this may not be true for filtered beer.
Your body needs to replenish B vitamins daily, so if you do not think you are getting enough of these vitamins from your regular diet, it maybe time to consider taking supplements. Vitamin B supplements can be sold as B-complex vitamins or mixed together with other multivitamins.
IMPORTANT: The manufacture, distribution, and sale of B-complex vitamins is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you have to be careful. If you want to be sure that the product you are buying is free from contaminants and that it contains the right amount of ingredients and dosage as indicated in its label, make sure that is it manufactured by a company that strictly abides to the Good Manufacturing Practices standard outlined by the FDA.