What is the Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex is a group of vitamins that all contain the letter B in their name, followed by a number. The numbers are based on order of when a vitamin was first discovered.
This group contains eight vitamins: vitamin B1, which is also called thiamin, B2 is riboflavin, niacin is B3, B5 is pantothenic acid, b6 is called biotin, B9 is folic acid, and B12 is cobalamin.
These vitamins are similar, but they each have a specific role in the human body. They are very important for many body functions and they are necessary for health. Deficiency of one or more of the Vitamin B complex vitamins can lead to many diseases and conditions.
Role of B-complex vitamins
Vitamin B is essential for cell reproduction, which is why it is recommended for persons who have suffered a trauma, an injury or a disease. These vitamins are essential for recovery and they are usually prescribed as supplements for most convalescents.
These vitamins are also very important for proper functioning of the nervous system. Many problems, like poor memory and concentration, can be traced back to B-complex deficiency. This happens because without the aid of these vitamins, the information cannot pass completely and adequately to and from the brain, and it results in problems with memory and low reaction speed.
Recently there has been much talk in the scientific and medical circles about the importance of B-complex vitamins for good heart health. Specifically, it is believed that vitamins B6, B9 and B12 break down homocysteine, which reduces the risk of a heart attack. People who are at risk of coronary disease, or who have had problems with heart, should increase their intake of these important vitamins.
In addition, these vitamins are important for the transformation of carbohydrates into glucose, which is important for energy, metabolism of fats and proteins, for muscle tone, gastrointestinal health, skin, hair, nails, liver, eyes and many more.
Sources of B-complex vitamins
Vitamins of the B complex can be found in foods or taken as a supplement. Ideally, the two methods of intake should be combined. As supplements, these vitamins may come together, as complex, or individually, in case only one of them needs to be restored. Vitamin B12 usually comes as an individual supplement because it is hard to find it and take it sufficiently through food, especially for people who do not eat animal products.
The foods that are known to be rich in one or more B vitamins are liver, milk, meats, fish, peanuts, oranges, nuts, eggs, whole grains, beans, green leafy vegetables, clams, yogurt and cheese.