What is Vitamin B and why do you need it? Great question, let us break it down for you.What is Vitamin B anyway?
Vitamin B is not just a single vitamin, it's actually a group of water-soluble vitamins that work together to provide energy to your body and help maintain optimum functionality. The specific vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folate/folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid.
Vitamin B1 - Thiamin
Vitamin B1, Thiamin, is a water-soluble vitamin (any excess is excreted through urination) that plays a major role in energy production in the body. Without it, energy, metabolic function and endurance may not be maintained.
Food sources of Thiamin include wheat germ, legumes, pork and nuts.
Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin
Vitamin B2, riboflavin, is absorbed by the small intestine and supports aerobic energy production, helping the body convert nutrients into energy and also helping improve cellular function. Although deficiency is rare, it can result in poor performance
Food sources of riboflavin include eggs, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and other dairy.
Vitamin B3 - Niacin
Vitamin B3, Niacin, references two substances, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Vitamin B3 helps in energy metabolism as well as in synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acid, Without it, although rare, death by disease called Pellagra is possible. Although niacin consumption is common among athletes and niacin is found in most vitamin/mineral supplements, there has been no proven link to increased athletic performance. Too much Niacin may not be good for the liver, and may cause flushing of the face and body. It should also not be taken with aspirin or other NSAIDs.
Food sources of niacin include beef, fish and poultry.
Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine
Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin found in many foods. which helps synthesize amino acids and break down glycogen for energy. It also plays a role in production of red and white blood cells, which in turn support energy production and immune function.
Deficiency of Vitamin B6 is usually the result of a poor diet, and can be recognized by symptoms like nausea, immuno-deficiencies, general weakness and anemia. Toxicity can occur in doses over 1,000 mg/day and can also cause peripheral nerve damage. Vitamin B6 may also interfere with certain antibiotics. Always consult a doctor before consuming if you take medication.
Food sources of Vitamin B6 include beef, fish, eggs and poultry.
Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin
Vitamin B12, Cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps protect the central nervous system through maintenance of the myelin sheath around the nerve fibers. It also helps convert nutrients into energy and aids in red blood cell production.
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, so deficiencies in those with strict plant-based diets is a high possibility.
Food sources of Vitamin B12 include dairy, eggs and meat.
Folate / Folic Acid
Folate, or folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a major role in DNA synthesis and cell division. It also aids in tissue repair and maturation of red blood cells.
Without enough folate, complications during pregnancy can manifest in the form of developmental issues with the embryo. Oppositely, toxicity levels are set around 1,000 mcg / day.
Food sources of folate / folic acid include legumes, dark leafy greens, vegetables, strawberries and fortified grains.
Vitamin B7 - Biotin
Vitamin B7, Biotin, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps in energy metabolism. It helps convert nutrients into energy and synthesize DNA for healthy cell development.
Food sources include cheese, leafy green vegetables, nuts and legumes.
Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin B5, Pantothenic acid plays a large role in energy metabolism.
Without enough Pantothenic acid, fatigue, coordination loss, nausea and loss of sleep may occur, although with a balanced diet this would be rare.
Food sources of pantothenic acid include legumes, dairy, tomato, beef and poultry.
Summing it up, although Vitamin B deficiency is rare, the B vitamins all play an extremely important role in many bodily functions. If you are extremely active or have a diet that is not holistic, supplementation may be a good idea.
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