The group of B vitamins comprising thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin H or B7), folic acid (vitamin B9) and cobalamins (vitamin B12), is termed as vitamin B complex. These are water soluble vitamins.
The importance of vitamin B complex comes from the fact that each of these vitamins has its own unique function in the body. For example, vitamins B1, B2 and B3 together with B7, are responsible for producing energy required by the body.
Amino acid metabolism is essential for the body, and vitamin B6 takes care of it. Cell division is another essential process of the human body, which requires vitamin B12 and B9. Apart from these basic functions, all these vitamins also perform other additional tasks in the body.
In What Ways Is Vitamin B complex Beneficial?
Vitamin B complex is necessary for converting carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn produces energy for the body to function optimally. As already mentioned, the vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B7 work together in the process of energy production. So a deficiency of any of these vitamins may result in extreme fatigue, and lack of vitality in the body.
Optimum Nervous System
Vitamin B complex plays a major role in the breakdown of fats and proteins, and this helps in maintaining the proper function of the nervous system. Vitamin B5 improves the functioning of the adrenal glands. Functions of these glands impact our growth and development, help regulate kidney function, and help us manage stress, as well.
This vitamin is also required in the production of certain hormones, and nerve regulating substances. The entire function of the nervous system which also includes the brain, is regulated by vitamins B1, B6 and B12. A deficiency of these vitamins may lead to developing stress, anxiousness and depression.
Healthy Digestive System
As all B complex vitamins are water soluble, they improve digestion and production of hydrochloric acid (HCL). This acid breaks down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6 are particularly essential in maintaining proper digestion in the body. Given that, deficiency of these types of vitamins may lead to severe digestion problems.
An important benefit of B vitamins is increased level of memory and concentration. According to researchers, these vitamins build a protective shield around the brain neurons. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is known to be toxic to nerve cells.
B vitamins help in breaking down this very amino acid. And since these vitamins enhance production of red blood cells, the brain receives higher amount of oxygen. Vitamin B6, B9, and B12 are known to be the primary B vitamins for memory.
Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
Vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B7, vitamin B9, and vitamin B12 are needed for healthy growth of skin, hair and nails. Adequate amount of these vitamins is vital for a glowing and clear skin, youthful appearance, and delaying the graying of hair.
Healthy skin, hair and nails depend upon correct RNA (Ribonucleic acid) and DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) synthesis and cell reproduction, which function well with the help of B complex vitamins.
Skin disorders like dermatitis, greasy skin, dandruff, scaly lips, dry skin, gray hair and poor hair growth results from deficiencies of these vitamins. Other common problems include premature wrinkles, acne, rashes, splitting nails and skin irritation.
According to experts, one of the most important measures that expecting mothers can take to reduce chances of serious birth defects, is getting adequate amount of vitamin B9 (folic acid) everyday. This vitamin is more effective when taken in enough quantities before getting pregnant and during early pregnancy.
Doctors are not certain about what makes folic acid so important in preventing birth defects. However, they are aware of the vitamin's contribution in the normal development of DNA.
Nursing and expecting mothers are required to consume about 400 mg of folic acid everyday as directed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Deficiency of vitamin B9 may lead to impaired growth of babies, and learning disabilities.
Rich Sources of B Vitamins
As we can see, B complex vitamin benefits are several, and deficiencies of any of these vitamins may lead to acute or chronic health disorders. These benefits are the simplified versions of the complex function and working of all the individual B complex vitamins.