Are you getting enough B vitamins? B vitamins are vital to many of the body’s most important functions, yet despite their availability in certain foods, many people still don’t get enough to maximize their health benefits. Unlike other vitamins that are unique to themselves, there are a total of eight B vitamins, and together, they make up the vitamin B complex. Although structurally similar in many ways, many of the B vitamins are involved in different bodily processes, making it essential to be sure to get a healthy mix of all of them. Here’s what B vitamins can do for you:
- B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) keep your heart, nerves and muscles functioning properly.
- B3 (niacin) is important to the digestive and nervous systems.
- B5 (pantothenic acid) is critical for the manufacture of red blood cells, to synthesize cholesterol, and to regulate the adrenal glands.
- B6 (pyridoxine) helps support a healthy immune system and aids in the breakdown of protein.
- B7 (biotin) helps support the adrenal glands and hormone production.
- B9 (folate) enables cells to make and maintain DNA.
- B12 (cobalamin) provides support for the central nervous system and the development of red blood cells.
All the B vitamins support the body’s metabolism, helping to turn food into energy that can be used by the body’s cells.
Vitamin B and Better Health
Vitamin B supplements have been shown to help treat or prevent several diseases and health conditions, including kidney disease, migraines, cataracts, heart disease, birth defects and several types of cancer. Many people take B vitamins to help treat depression, mood disorders, anxiety, fatigue, heart disease, skin problems and premenstrual syndrome, as well as to improve memory, increase energy levels and boost the immune system.
B vitamins can be found in a wide variety of foods, including eggs, chicken, leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, nuts bananas, citrus fruits, cereals and whole grains.
Potential Side Effects
Although generally considered safe, taking too much of a supplement that your body doesn’t need can cause some side effects, including skin problems and increases in blood sugar. The best way to determine the right balance of B vitamins for you is to work with a functional medicine physician who understands how B vitamins can help your whole body rather than simply focusing on one symptom or system.
Forum Health providers work with you to determine all your nutritional and health needs and to help identify nutritional supplements that could help you improve your health. Find a Forum Health provider near you and shop our supplements.