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B Vitamins Play an Essential Role in Metabolism
Vitamin B was once thought to be a single vitamin called Vitamin B. After much research, we discovered that there are actually 8 different vitamins. Further studies have also concluded that B vitamins are water soluble, which means that they are easily removed from the body and therefore must be taken consistently through our diet. Vitamin B has often been the talk of supplements for years because of the important role it plays in metabolic processes. B vitamins are important in functions such as increasing metabolic rate, maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone, improving immune and nervous system function and promoting cell growth and division. Each B Vitamin has a specific function in the metabolic process.
Vitamin B1– Vitamin B1 is also known as Thiamine. Thiamine is important in healthy brain function and carbohydrate metabolism. Thiamine deficiency can cause a disease called Beriberi, which is a disease of the nerves and heart. Symptoms of this disease are weight loss, emotional instability, weakness, pain in the arms and legs, impaired sensory perception, irregular heartbeat and in severe cases death can occur. Thiamine can be found in a variety of foods, in low concentrations. Yeast and pork have the highest concentrations of Thiamine but you can also find it in foods such as whole grains, wheat flour, oats, flax, sunflower seeds, brown rice, kale, potatoes, oranges, liver and eggs.
Vitamin B2– Vitamin B2 is also known as Riboflavin. Riboflavin is required for many cellular processes in the body including energy, fat, carbohydrate, protein and ketone body metabolism. Riboflavin deficiency can cause Ariboflavinosis, which is a protein energy deficiency. Symptoms may include cracks in the hips, sensitivity to sunlight, and inflammation of the tongue. Riboflavin can be found in a variety of foods such as milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, liver, kidney, beans, yeast, mushrooms, and almonds.
Vitamin B3– Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin. Niacin is an important nutrient that plays a role in metabolic processes. Niacin is involved in both DNA repair, and the production of steroid hormones in the adrenal glands. Niacin deficiency along with tryptophan deficiency is called Pellagra. Symptoms of Pellagra include aggression, skin inflammation, insomnia, mental confusion and diarrhea. Niacin can be found in a variety of foods such as salmon, avocado, broccoli, nuts, seeds, whole grains, carrots and mushrooms, and animal products such as steak, chicken and pork.
Vitamin B5– Vitamin B5 is also known as Pantothenic Acid. Pantothenic is an essential nutrient for sustaining life. It plays an important role in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Pantothenic deficiency can cause acne and in severe cases can cause Paresthesia, numbness of the skin. Panthothenic acid can be found in many foods, but whole grains, legumes, meat, eggs, and royal jelly contain the highest amounts.
Vitamin B6– Vitamin B6 is also known as Pyridoxine. Pyridoxine helps in balancing sodium and potassium and promotes the production of red blood cells. Pyridoxine has also been linked to cardiovascular health by reducing levels of Homocysteine, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease. A deficiency in Pyridoxine can cause anemia, high blood pressure, water retention, depression and dermatitis. Pyridoxine can be found in many grains, green leafy vegetables, liver, eggs, and meat.
Vitamin B7– Vitamin B7 is also known as Biotin. Biotin is a co-factor in the metabolism of fatty acids and leucine, and it plays a role in regulating your blood glucose levels. Deficiency in adults usually does not cause any symptoms; however, in infants it can cause impaired growth and neurological disorders. Biotin can be found in a variety of foods such as liver, beans, soybeans, milk, in small amounts, but larger concentrations can be found in royal jelly and brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin B9– Vitamin b9 is also known as Folic Acid. Folic Acid is important for many biological functions such as playing an important role in the metabolic process to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent Anemia to decreased levels of Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease. Some studies have also shown evidence that Folic Acid can delay the effects of age on the brain. Folic acid is especially important during pregnancy because a deficiency in pregnant women can cause birth defects, which is why taking supplements during pregnancy is often recommended. Folic acid can be found in large quantities in leafy greens, legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds, liver and baker’s yeast.
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 is sometimes referred to as Cobalamin. Vitamin B12 has become a popular supplement in energy drinks because of its important role in the normal functioning of the nervous system and brain. Along with Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 helps produce healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 also plays a role in the metabolism of cells in the body, including its regulation and synthesis, as well as the synthesis and energy production of fatty acids. Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in anemia, the inability of DNA to synthesize in the production of red blood cells, memory loss, increased chances of cardiovascular disease and other cognitive impairments. Since Vitamin B12 is only found in meat, eggs, milk and other animal products, vegans must supplement their diet with Vitamin B12 or buy plant-based foods that have Vitamin B12 added to them.
B vitamins are the 2nd most important supplement you can take, besides multi-vitamins for a healthy body. B vitamins are an important part of getting the most nutrients from your diet and helping your body stay energized and healthy. It is very difficult to take the optimal amount of each B Vitamin individually so it is easier and cheaper to take a Vitamin B complex. Even if you are not sure if you are getting too much of a particular B Vitamin, you cannot overdose because they are easily excreted from the body . Also with the complex you use the synergistic effect of all B Vitamins, which means better digestion and absorption of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. B vitamins should be taken after a meal but don’t take them at the same meal you take your multi-vitamin.
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