We’ve all heard of B-Vitamins or a Vitamin B Complex. But what do B-Vitamins do and what exactly are they good for? We’re going to explore what the benefits of B-Vitamins are, and how they fit into your diet and nutrition.
What Are B-Vitamins?
You’ve probably heard of Vitamin B6 and B12, but did you know that there are eight different B-Vitamins, with other names like thiamin and biotin? B-Vitamins are comprised of eight complex and essential water-soluble vitamins that play pivotal roles in cellular function and energy metabolism, acting as co-enzymes in many catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions. Numerous clinical studies have also demonstrated the benefits of B-Vitamins on energy metabolism, neurological function, neural inflammation, and oxidative stress [R]. Most B-Vitamins remained stored in the body, therefore they must be acquired from your diet through food or supplementation.
What Does Each B Vitamin Do?
Each B-Vitamin has a unique function and mechanism of action, on biological and enzymatic reactions within the human body.
converts food into energy; supports muscle contraction; supports nervous system function
breaks down macronutrients; supports red blood cell production
supports skin, digestive system, and nerve health; supports cellular energy production
Adenine is most known for its role in speeding up the process by which energy is manufactured in our body.
supports hormone product; breaks down carbohydrates for energy
metabolize amino acids from food; creates red blood cells; creates serotonin, melatonin, norepinephrine
Helps maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails
Vitamin B8 is involved in normal function of the nervous system, production of energy needed for good cellular function, and maintenance of normal hair, skin and mucous membranes.
helps develop nervous system production; helps grow red blood cells
assists in red blood cell production; regulates central nervous system
What Are The Benefits Of A Vitamin-B Complex?
B-Vitamins are involved in every aspect of the essential process, of creating cellular energy, and deficiency in any of the B-vitamins will produce a negative impact on this process [R]. Active forms of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are essential co-enzymes in mitochondrial aerobic respiration and cellular energy production via their direct roles in the citric acid cycle, the electron transport chain and the resultant formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s energy currency [R].
The brain is the most actively engaged organ in the human body, only accounting for 2% of total body weight, yet accounting for nearly 20% of the body’s total energy expenditure. B-Vitamins perform general metabolic functions, which are essential to brain function, as each vitamin is transported across the blood-brain barrier.
A Swedish study showed that Folate (Vitamin B-9) had a positive correlation with better academic achievement in adolescents [R]. Studies have also shown that Vitamin B12 can help with disease states such as Alzheimer’s, supporting better energy metabolism and brain support [R, R].
Optimal Health & Performance
B-Vitamins are particularly important for athletes as they have increased and adequate nutritional requirements for optimal health and performance. Folate, Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin B-12 are essential during increased physical activity. Athletes with sub-optimal nutrient intake are recommended to supplement with a B-Complex to help increase energy metabolism from food. [R] Studies have shown that B-Vitamin supplementation plays a critical role in the breakdown of glucose for energy and acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of branch-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) [R] The conversion of energy from the carbohydrates and fats that we consume is called adenosine triphosphate or ATP; this process fuels almost every cell action in our bodies. B-Vitamins support muscle cells to become more efficient and effective at producing and using energy.
What Foods Are High In B-Vitamins?
- Grains such as brown rice, barley, and millet
- Meat such as red meat, poultry, and fish
- Dairy products such as milk and cheese
- Seeds such as sunflower seeds
- Nuts such as almonds
- Leafy and dark vegetables such as broccoli and spinach
- Fruits such as avocados, oranges, and bananas
How Much Vitamin-B Do I Need?
Since B-vitamins are water-soluble, any excess is generally excreted in your urine. You can safely consume a Vitamin B-Complex 1-3 times daily. [R] In terms of upper limits, only three of the eight B-vitamins have been ascribed any upper limit for daily consumption, with the remainder considered safe at any dose. These vitamins are Folic Acid, Niacin, and Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 has an upper limit set at 100 mg/day (approximately 75 × RDA). The upper limit for niacin is set at 35 mg. Lastly, In the case of folic acid, which is ascribed RDAs typically between 200 and 400 µg/day, the upper limit is generally set at 1000 µg/day simply on the basis that increased folate can mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
Do I Need To Take B-Vitamins? Takeaway
Supplementing with B-Vitamins is beneficial and extremely important to everyone. B-Vitamins are vital to those who may not be able to convert B-Vitamins to their active forms and those of you that drink coffee regularly. Like I said… everyone [R]. Basic B-Complex contains the active forms of several B-vitamins, which are essential for creating energy from food, red blood cell formation, and healthy neurological function.
Looking for an amazing B-Vitamin Complex?
B-Vitamins play a pivotal role in your overall health and well-being. B-Vitamins are considered the building blocks of a healthy body and support energy levels, cellular function, and brain health. Swolverine's B-Vitamins contain the entire B-Complex, in addition to Choline, Inositol, and Biotin which are also considered part of the B-Vitamin family.
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Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1998. 2, The B Vitamins and Choline: Overview and Methods. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114324/
Ford, Talitha C et al. “The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial.” Nutrients vol. 10,12 1860. 1 Dec. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10121860
Doets EL, Van wijngaarden JP, Szczecińska A, et al. Vitamin B12 intake and status and cognitive function in elderly people. Epidemiol Rev. 2013;35:2-21.
Lopes da silva S, Vellas B, Elemans S, et al. Plasma nutrient status of patients with Alzheimer's disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Alzheimers Dement. 2014;10(4):485-502.
Woolf K, Hahn NL, Christensen MM, Carlson-phillips A, Hansen CM. Nutrition Assessment of B-Vitamins in Highly Active and Sedentary Women. Nutrients. 2017;9(4)