B vitamins have long been known to play a key role in metabolism and energy extraction; and a deficiency in vitamins B6 or B12 can cause anemia.
New research suggests that B vitamin supplementation may also play a role in protecting against Alzheimer’s disease – which is good news for the aging U.S. population. First of all, what are the B vitamins?
There are eight different B vitamins with their own name and function:
- B1 (thiamine) is involved in numerous body functions including nervous system and muscle functioning and carbohydrate metabolism, just to name a few.
- B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) both aid in digestion; B2 is additionally responsible for helping make oxygen available for use by your body while B3 has implications in the health of your nerves and skin.
- B5 (pantothenic acid) and B7 (biotin) are necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and amino acids.
- B6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin and norepinephrine and myelin formation.
- B9 (better known as folic acid or folate) aids the body in making healthy new cells and is imperative for women of childbearing age to consume to prevent neural tube defects.
- B12 is a key player in red blood cell formation and protein and DNA synthesis.
B vitamins are primarily found in high-protein foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy. Some leafy, green vegetables, beans and peas are also high in B vitamins. Vitamin B complex as a supplement often contains a combination of all of these individual vitamins, and vitamins for each individual B vitamin are also available.
If you want more information on each specific B Vitamin, just click a link below:
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B7 (biotin)
- B12 (methylcobalamin)
- B9 (Folic acid)
Here are some more areas that these vitamins are essential for:
- The breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (this provides energy for the body)
- The breakdown of fats and proteins (which aids the normal functioning of the nervous system)
- Muscle tone in the stomach and intestinal tract