8 Group B vitamins: their effects on health and those affected


B vitamins are a group of nutrients that play many important roles in your body. Most people get the recommended amounts of these vitamins through diet alone, as they are found in a wide variety of foods.

However, factors such as age , pregnancy, food choices, medical conditions, genetics, medications, and alcohol consumption increase the body’s demand for B vitamins. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to take B vitamin supplements.

Here are the health benefits of the 8 B vitamins.

What are the B vitamins?

B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that your body does not store them. This is why your diet must provide it every day. B vitamins have many important functions and are essential for the maintenance of good health.

B group vitamins contain the following:

B1 (thiamine): Thiamine plays an essential role in metabolism by helping to convert nutrients into energy. The richest food sources are pork, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.

B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin helps convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant. The foods richest in riboflavin are organ meats, beef and mushrooms.

B3 (niacin): Niacin plays a role in cell signaling, metabolism, and the production and repair of DNA. Food sources include chicken, tuna and lentils.

B5 (pantothenic acid): Like other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps your body obtain energy from food and also participates in the production of hormones and cholesterol. Liver, fish, yogurt and avocado are all good sources.

B6 (pyridoxine): Pyridoxine is involved in amino acid metabolism, the production of red blood cells and the creation of neurotransmitters. The foods richest in this vitamin are chickpeas, salmon and potatoes.

B7 (biotin): Biotin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and regulates the expression of genes. Yeast, eggs, salmon, cheese and liver are some of the best food sources of biotin.

B9 (folate): Folate is needed for cell growth, acid metabolism amino acids, the formation of red and white blood cells and proper cell division. It is found in foods like leafy green vegetables, liver and beans or in supplements as folic acid.

B12 (cobalamin): Perhaps the best known of all B vitamins, B12 is vital for neurological function, DNA production and red blood cell development. B is found naturally in animal sources such as meats, eggs, seafood and dairy products.

While these vitamins share certain characteristics, they all have unique functions and are needed in different amounts.

Who should take a vitamin from group B?

As B vitamins are present in many foods, you are unlikely to be at risk of developing a deficiency as long as you follow a balanced diet. However, certain circumstances increase the need for B vitamins, making supplements necessary.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women

During pregnancy, the demand for B vitamins, especially B and folate, increases to support fetal development. In pregnant or breastfeeding women, especially those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, taking a supplement of B vitamins is crucial. A deficiency in B or folate in pregnant or breastfeeding women can lead to serious neurological damage or malformations congenital diseases in the fetus or infant.

Older adults

As we age, the absorption capacity of vitamin B12 decreases and appetite decreases, causing some people to have difficulty absorbing enough B12 through food alone. The body’s ability to release B from food so that it can be absorbed depends on sufficient amount of stomach acid. However, it is estimated that to 30 % of people over 17 years do not produce enough stomach acid to absorb the B12 correctly. B deficiency has been linked to increased rates of depression and mood disorders in old people. Vitamin B6 and folate deficiencies are also common in the elderly.

People with certain medical conditions

People with certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, alcoholism, hypothyroidism, and anorexia, are more likely to develop nutrient deficiencies, including B vitamins. MTHFR genetic mutation can affect how your body metabolizes folate and can lead to folate deficiency and other health problems. In addition, people who have undergone certain weight loss operations are also more likely to be deficient in B vitamins. In these circumstances, patients are often advised to supplement with B complex vitamins to correct or avoid deficiencies. .

Vegetarians and Vegans

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood. Vegans and strict vegetarians are at risk of developing B deficiency12 if they are not getting enough of this vitamin through fortified foods or supplements. Taking a B-complex vitamin daily can help people who choose to follow a diet that eliminates animal products get enough of these important nutrients.

People taking certain medications

Commonly prescribed medications can lead to B vitamin deficiency. For example, proton pump inhibitors, which are medications that reduce the acidity of stomach, can decrease the absorption of B, while metformin, a popular drug against diabetes, can decrease levels of B and folate. Birth control pills can also deplete several B vitamins, including B6, B, folate, and riboflavin .

Health benefits of taking group B vitamins

Although certain conditions make it necessary to take a supplement of group B vitamins group B for some people, research has shown that taking a B-complex supplement may be helpful even for people who do not have an increased need for these nutrients.

May reduce stress and improve mood

B vitamins are often used to reduce fatigue and improve mood. Some studies suggest that B vitamins can lift your mood and improve your cognitive performance. A 17 day study in 60 men healthy found that treatment with a high-dose B-complex and mineral supplement improved general mental health and stress and improved performance on cognitive tests. Another study in young adults showed that taking a multivitamin containing high levels of B vitamins for 90 days reduced stress and mental fatigue.

May reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression

Although vitamin supplements group B are not a cure for mental health problems, they may help improve symptoms of depression or anxiety. A study in 60 adults with depression showed that treatment with B vitamins for 60 days resulted in significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety, compared to a placebo.

B vitamins may also improve response to treatment when given in combination with antidepressants. A study has shown that supplementing patients with a vitamin containing B, B6 ​​and folic acid produced a greater and longer lasting antidepressant response over one year, compared to placebo. It should be noted that a low blood level of certain B vitamins, including B12, B6 ​​and folic acid, has been associated with an increased risk of depression. That’s why it’s important to rule out nutrient deficiencies if you have symptoms of depression.

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