In last week’s post, we talked about why it’s important to find a B vitamin supplement with high bioavailability: when you take a nutritional supplement, you want to make sure that it is specifically formulated to maximize absorption. In this post, we’re going to discuss the reasons why it is important to choose a supplement with the full spectrum of B vitamins, as well as ways you can add more B vitamins to your diet.
What Each B Vitamin Does in Your Body
These days, it’s easy to find B vitamin supplements that only include one or two of the eight B vitamins. However, if you’re looking to take a B vitamin supplement for general wellness, it makes more sense to choose as supplement that includes all of them. While it is broadly true that all of the B vitamins are involved in energy metabolism, each B vitamin plays a slightly different role in your body. Therefore, a complete B vitamin supplement with the full spectrum of vitamins will have the broadest, most comprehensive effect on your overall health.
Consider a few of the distinct activities and benefits of each one of the B vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Thiamine plays an important role in cell growth and development. It also helps support the normal functioning of the immune system.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant, which means that it helps combat free radicals that can damage your cells and DNA. Early studies also indicate that taking riboflavin supplements can help prevent cataracts and migraine headaches.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Niacin has been shown to help boost HDL (good) cholesterol, and it can help support gastrointestinal function by reducing inflammation in the gut. It is also involved in the maintenance of skin health and may help reduce acne when taken in a supplement form.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Pantothenic acid plays a direct role in the production of red blood cells, ensuring that sufficient oxygen reaches all of your body’s tissues. This vitamin is also involved the production of sex hormones and stress-related hormones, both of which have broad effects throughout your body.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
This vitamin is involved in healthy brain development and the production of multiple hormones and neurotransmitters, including melatonin (which influences your sleep-wake cycle) and serotonin (which plays a role in your mood).
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Biotin is best known for its important role in the health of skin, hair, and nails. There is also early evidence that biotin may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, and some reports also suggest that a supplement can reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Folic acid is involved in the production of the cell’s genetic material (DNA and RNA). These materials must be generated rapidly during periods of growth, which is why it is so important for pregnant mothers, children, and adolescents to get enough folic acid. Folic acid coordinates with vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 to regulate the levels of homocysteine in your blood, which are directly associated with cardiovascular disease.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Like folic acid, vitamin B12 is important for the production of DNA and RNA. It also helps maintain healthy nerve cells, and it coordinates with folic acid in the production of S-adenosylmethionine, which is involved in mood regulation and immune function.
Clearly, each of these B vitamins plays a critical role, so it is important to make sure that you are getting the recommended daily value for all of them.
Adding B Vitamins to Your Diet
A complete B vitamin supplement may fulfill or even exceed the recommended daily amount for some of the B vitamins. However, it is also important to look for ways to include more B vitamins in your diet. Today, you can find many products on the market that are fortified with B vitamins, but you can also find them naturally in many common foods. In most cases, the best sources of B vitamins are animal products, but you can also find plant-based sources. Consider some of the following from both categories.
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and turnip greens, and collard greens are high in folate.
- Shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab, contain lots of vitamin B12.
- Bananas and potatoes are both good sources of vitamin B6.
- Chicken, turkey, salmon, and canned tuna all contain high levels of niacin.
- Eggs are among the best sources of biotin.
- Yogurt and avocado are both high in pantothenic acid.
Because each B vitamin works slightly differently — and because they often work together in particular body processes — your health depends on getting enough of all of them. That’s why it is essential to choose a B vitamin complex that includes the full spectrum of B vitamins, like the one offered by Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness. Our chiropractors also offer nutritional counseling, which can help you boost the B vitamins you take in naturally from your diet. Contact us today for more information!Share