There are eight B vitamins in vitamin B complex as well as several related substances. The eight vitamins are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamine (B12), folic acid, pantothenic acid and biotin. The other related substances include choline, inositol and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).
Although each individual vitamin or related substance performs a different function in the body, they all work together to maintain good health and vitality. A well balanced diet should provide us with all the B vitamins we require, but because they are water soluble and therefore not retained by the body, we need a daily dietary source.
The majority of multivitamin and mineral supplements contain B-complex vitamins as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. Since multivitamin/mineral supplements are more complete than B-complex vitamins by themselves, multivitamin-mineral supplements are usually recommended to prevent deficiencies over individual vitamin supplements.
The Vitamin B Complex is essential for correct RNA and DNA synthesis and cell reproduction. As our Skin, Hair and Nails are constantly growing and renewing themselves we need the following B vitamins to ensure the good health of these structures – Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Biotin and Choline. Deficiencies of any of these B Vitamins can lead to dry, grey skin, dermatitis, wrinkles, acne, rashes, falling hair and weak, splitting nails.
B1, known as thiamine, serves as a catalyst in carbohydrate metabolism and helps synthesize nerve-regulating substances. Deficiency can cause heart swelling, leg cramps, and muscular weakness. Rich food sources high in thiamine include liver, heart, and kidney meats, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, berries, wheat germs, and enriched cereals. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1.5 mg. Some believe thiamine helps protect against alcoholism and that it is good for depression, stress, and anxiety. It is also said to improve mental ability and to help indigestion.
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.
The B-12 vitamin is of note because it is not available from plant products, making B-12 deficiency a concern for vegans. Manufacturers of plant-based foods will sometimes report B-12 content, leading to confusion about what sources yield B-12. The confusion arises because the standard US Pharmacopeia (USP) method for measuring the B-12 content does not measure the B-12 directly. Instead, it measures a bacterial response to the food.
Chemical variants of the B-12 vitamin found in plant sources are active for bacteria, but cannot be used by the human body. This same phenomenon can cause significant over-reporting of B-12 content in other types of foods as well.
The age of an individual will determine how much vitamin B complex they will take. There are several good benefits you can receive by taking vitamin B complex. Nervousness and pressure can be lessened if you take vitamin B complex. If you suffer from tiredness this can be reduced by taking vitamin B complex. In addition, a regular intake of vitamin B complex can help individuals recover sooner from sickness.