26 Feb The Benefits of Vitamin B
We often underestimate the power of B vitamins. Hell, we don’t even know how to pronounce all eight of them by name. We deem Omega-3s, calcium and vitamin D as superstars, and though they do deserve the hype, vitamin B should be right up there with them.
Vitamin B both promotes a healthy nervous system and maintains metabolic processes. It provides sufficient and long-lasting energy to get us through our busy workdays and keeps our bones, hair, and nails strong.
Here’s a quick guide showcasing each of their special talents:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) comes in handy for racing and marathon events, due to its ability to break down simple carbohydrates in a smooth and efficient manner. Great sources include whole grains, such as quinoa, peanuts, leafy greens, such as spinach, and legumes, such as lentils.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) promotes longevity due to its anti-aging properties and ability to fight damaging free radicals within the body. It also helps monitor the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Foods that are high in Riboflavin include almonds, eggs, dairy products, leafy greens and soy.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) increases HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind!), thus reducing the risk of heart disease, high LDL cholesterol and diabetes. Sources include red meat, poultry, broccoli, tuna and mushrooms.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) assists in hormone production, such as that of testosterone and cortisol. Eating foods rich in B5 around that time of the month may help you mellow out. Primary sources include avocado, chicken liver, salmon, yogurt, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) both reduces inflammation and converts tryptophan, an amino acid derived from protein, into serotonin, thus triggering the release of “feel good” hormones. Low serotonin levels can lead to depression, anxiety, and for women, painful PMS symptoms. Excellent sources include lean meats, oily fish, beans, sunflower seeds and whole grains, such as brown rice.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is vital for fetal development in pregnant women and may help diabetics better manage their blood sugar levels. It also keeps skin, hair and nails strong and glowing. Sources include egg yolks, peanuts, organ meats, oily fish, and yeast products.
Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) is also beneficial during pregnancy and may even discourage memory loss. Great sources include leafy greens, seafood, beets, fortified cereals, lean meats, asparagus, legumes and seeds.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is like Queen B. It works with B9 and iron to regulate our red blood cells and stimulate hemoglobin production. Plus, a recent study reported on February 25, 2015 at the University of St. George’s London reveals that Vitamin B9 and B12 may prevent Alzheimer’s disease (ScienceDaily). People in the early stages of dementia were found to benefit from having a greater concentration of B vitamins within their systems. Levels of homocysteine, a molecule known to heighten cognitive decline, were lowered substantially with the help of a little B. Munch on fish, shellfish, lean meats, eggs and dairy products, and if you are a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to take a daily supplement.
Popping a daily vitamin-B-complex supplement will give you that extra hit of wellness that we all need.
Of course, vitamins are best absorbed through food, but if you notice any muscle, teeth or heart pain, irregular bowel movements, loss of appetite, chronic lightheadedness or fatigue, and any symptoms of anemia, invest in a good brand at a local health store.