My Aunt calls us Bello girls the three B’s. But its not what you may be thinking. Okay, maybe it is. She has quite the sense of humor but we learned from the best so what can I say 😉
However, the B’s I am actually referring to in this article are the 8 B’s….. B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. These B’s are water-soluble vitamins that are responsible for making red blood cells, assist in metabolism and are important for optimal neurological functioning.
Vitamin B complex vitamins helps prevent infections including support for…..
- Cardiovascular health and red blood cells
- Brain function and proper nerve function
- Muscle tone
- Digestion and Appetite
- Energy levels
- Fetal Brain development
Types of B vitamins
Thiamin (B1)– Thiamin helps create energy for brain and neurological function playing a major role in muscle contraction and nerve signals.
Riboflavin (B2)– Riboflavin plays a major role in energy production. it helps convert the food you consume such as carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate producing energy.
Niacin (B3)- Niacin helps metabolize our food, helps our nervous system to function properly and helps keep our skin healthy. In addition, this vitamin can improve cardiovascular function by supporting cellular energy production thus boosting HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Pantothenic acid (B5)- Pantothenic acid helps break down fats and carbohydrates for energy.
Pyridoxine (B6)– Pyridoxine helps forms hemoglobin build new red blood cells. It also is involved in sleep patterns due to its ability to produce serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine.
Biotin (B7)– Best known for supporting healthy hair, skin and nails.
Cobalamin (B12)– Vitamin B12 is essential for brain development, cognitive function and neural myelination. B12 deficiancy during pregnancy has been associated with impaired cognitive development in early childhood. B12 helps with synthesizing DNA, red blod cells and nerves. It works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells.
Folate (B9)– AKA Folic Acid, AKA Folinic Acid but I like to call this one the Queen B. Folic acid is a synthetic form of Folate. Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9 and the most active form is known as levomefolic or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).
Vitamin B9 in most commonly known for fetal health and development, and plays a critical role in the nervous system. It reduces the risk of neural tube defects, like spina bifida. It also helps red blood cell growth. It is essential for DNA production, correct cell division, activating B12, reducing homocysteine levels and supporting the synthesis of SAMe.
Most dietary folate is converted into 5-MTHF in the digestive system before entering your bloodstream. However, when folate/folic acid enters a cell, it needs to be converted into 5-MTHF before the body can utilize it. This conversion can be hindered by a gene variant that some people carry. This gene, MTHFR helps produce an enzyme that coverts folate/folic acid into folinic acid leading to the most active form of methylfolate that is utilized in cells. In other words, if you have the gene that stops you from utilizing folate, you could be compromised with health conditions related to B9 deficiency. If you take B9 and dont know if you carry this gene, you could be over dosing in B9 if your body is not metabolizing this properly. You can read about the MTHFR gene here.
- Leafy green vegetables
- Milk, cheese
- Citrus fruit
- Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and Inflammatory bowel disease
- Kidney conditions
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Common Side effects
For the most part common side effects for B complex vitamins include upset stomach or flushing may occur. However, higher doses can lead to…
- Vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea
- Nerve damage
- light sensitivity, blurred vision
- Skin rashes
- Bright yellow urine from you body excreting excess vitamin
Concerns of Deficiency
If a deficiency is left untreated, you could be at risk for developing
- Skin conditions
- Digestive issues
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
- Birth defects
Like with any new medication or supplement, consult with your practitioner. Just to name a few products that interact with this supplement:
- Some antibiotics
- Anti-seizure medications
- Cancer medications
- Cholesterol medication
- Kidney medication