Posted on March 31 2017
As Winter has officially come to a close and the Spring season makes an attempt to surface, you may be struggling like I do at this time every year. The thing is, as a Midwesterner, I know what to expect, but that doesn’t make it any easier every year when these long streaks of gloomy and rainy days trail on for what seems like an eternity. Where’s my sunshine?! With the overcast skies and stagnant temperatures, are you like me when it comes time to roll out of bed? I’m groggy and, although I get a good night’s rest, I just feel void of energy. Racking my brain for a solution other than Red Bull or coffee, I recalled hearing something about vitamin B. Could B vitamins be the answer to my energy emergencies?
Turns out through my research that B vitamins actually don’t just magically grant you energy. Popular B vitamins such as B6 and B12 are tied to increased energy, but it’s through their efforts of helping your body create energy. But hold the phone, did you know that there are actually several different vitamins within the B vitamin group? Beyond B6 and B12, there is an entire slue of B vitamins in the family and many of them play key roles in contributing to our bodies regular function.
Why You Need B Vitamins
Now I can’t take all the credit for my recent studies in B vitamins. I have to give credit where credit is due; I recently spoke with WRITTEN Woman, Emma Lessman (Food Science Major at Iowa State University) and this is what she informed me of while bringing me up to speed on all things vitamin B.
There are thirteen vitamins that we need. Eight of these thirteen vitamins actually make up the B vitamin group: B1-3, B5-7, B9, and B12. Each of these water soluble vitamins also have common names that most people are more familiar with such as Biotin(B7) and Folic Acid(B9). Most of these vitamins cannot be stored by the body, due to them being water soluble, and therefore, have to be regularly consumed in the diet.
Now you may be thinking, “Well do I have to change my diet now to receive all the vitamins that my body needs”? The answer is no. B vitamins are actually found in most foods that you may already consume such as milk, nuts, and meats. However, in today’s society of new fad diets that deprive you of important nutrients at times, you may be at risk of B vitamin deficiency that can cause health issues such as anemia (with a lack of B6 and B12). But don’t worry, there is no cause for concern; there’s an easy way for you to receive all your B vitamins…and the best part is, it’s easy and takes no time at all.
Well, That Was Easy
A B complex vitamin is a dietary supplement that delivers all eight of the B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folate), B12 (Cobalamin). As mentioned before, these eight vitamins play an important role in health such as helping the body to produce energy and form red blood cells. However, each vitamin has a significant role of its own. Here are just a few of the benefits that our bodies receive from taking B vitamins according to an article found on verywell.com:
- B1 (Thiamine) and B2 (Riboflavin) are important for healthy functioning of the muscles, nerves, and heart.
- B1 helps the body make new cells. B1 may also help prevent kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of cataracts.
- B2 is important for red blood cell production and fighting free radicals. B2 has also been known for preventing migraines.
- B3 (Niacin) helps regulate the nervous and digestive systems and helps convert food into energy. It also helps with lowering cholesterol.
- B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is responsible for the production of hormones.
- B6 (Pyridoxine) supports the immune system and helps the body produce hormones. B6 may also protect against heart disease, relieve PMS symptoms, and alleviate pregnancy- related nausea.
- B6, along with B9 and B12, also helps to regulate levels of the amino acid homo cysteine (an amino acid thought to contribute to heart disease when it occurs at elevated levels).
- B7 (Biotin) is involved in the production of hormones. This vitamin is also associated with healthy skin, hair, and nails.
- B9 (Folate) helps cells make and maintain DNA and promotes the growth of red blood cells. B9 may help prevent breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, as well as decrease risk of birth defects when taken by pregnant women.
- B12 (Cobalamin) helps regulate the nervous system and plays a role in red blood cell formation.
Interested in trying B complex vitamins? You can purchase it at your local GNC health-retail store in a variety of ways including gummies and powder drink mixes.
Feel free to share with us below how you incorporate B vitamins into your diet!