The Complex of B Vitamins:
Essential Nutrients For Energy & So Much More
Referred to as vitamin B-complex, these eight water-soluble B vitamins
are essential to the body:
B5 (pantothenic acid)
They have interrelated functions, but together they play an important
role in keeping our bodies running smoothly. These important co-nutrients
help to convert fat, proteins and carbohydrates in our food into fuel,
allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. They work together and are
often described as the spark plugs of our body, providing both mental and
Generally, B vitamins are found in unprocessed whole grains, but when
foods such as rice or other cereals are processed, most of the B vitamins
are lost. Hence, it is required by law in many countries (including the
U.S.) to add back B vitamins after processing. Good sources of natural B
vitamins include meats, poultry, legumes (beans), seafood, potatoes, eggs,
leafy greens, dairy, bananas, chili peppers and nutritional yeast.
B vitamins are water soluble, are not stored in the body and are
constantly excreted. Therefore, they need to be consumed regularly. They are
also easily destroyed by heat during cooking, especially when boiled, due to
leaching into the cooking water.
Deficiency in one or more vitamins in this group can occur easily, and
individuals who may benefit from B-complex include strict vegetarians; those
dealing with stress (emotional and physical); people losing weight or
fasting; athletes; those on restricted diets or diets high in processed
foods or mostly cooked foods; people exposed to environmental toxins; and
anyone with poor appetite or low energy.
Vitamin B12, found only in animal foods, is often referred to as the
“energy” vitamin and plays a critical role in the production of cellular
energy. It is also needed for DNA synthesis and for healthy nervous system
function. Along with vitamin B6, it is needed for healthy red blood cell
Individually, B vitamins have many other important benefits. For example,
biotin is often recommended for healthy hair and nails. Folate
is used by the body to break down and synthesize amino and nucleic acids,
which are needed to build new cells, particularly red blood cells. Folate is
important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing
baby. Folate is also known to support a healthy heart when taken in
conjunction with vitamins B6 and B12.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, board-certified neurologist, B vitamins are
your best protection against elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid
produced in the body that, in excess, can increase your risk of mood
disorders, poor mental
performance and Alzheimer’s disease.
B-Complex vitamins provide essential nutrients for
energy and so much more!
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