The benefits of B vitamins are countless. They promote everything from nerve health, heart health, immunity, to cognition and energy. B vitamins also have been linked to lower incidence of stroke, they aid in enzymatic functions, ranging from releasing energy from carbs and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body.
Many scientific studies have been and are still being conducted as more and more benefits of vitamin B’s become apparent. Thanks to such studies, we have already concluded that folate (vitamin B9) helps prevent birth defects during pregnancy and that Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and DNA. It also plays a key role in the function and development of brain and nerve cells. B6 is one of the best vitamins for memory because it helps with inflammation and to control homocysteine levels in the body. It is also essential for the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, known as the “feel-good” or happy hormones.
B vitamins are also referred to as the B-Complex and they consist of the following eight vitamins:
- B1 (Thiamine)
- B2 (Riboflavin)
- B3 (Niacin)
- B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- B6 (Pyridoxine)
- B7 (Biotin)
- B9 (Folate/Folic acid)
- B12 (Cobalamin)
More research is being carried out about folate and vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 about their roles in reducing some types of cancer and heart disease. These three B vitamins ( folate, vitamins B6 and B12) have already been linked to better cognitive health in the elderly and patients with dementia have shown lower serum levels of these three vitamins. They have demonstrated benefits on cardiovascular health, are known to boost immunity and may also treat anemia and promote eyesight.
Due to natural changes in digestion as we age, which includes a decrease in stomach acid production, the body’s ability to absorb B vitamins can decline. This is when vitamin supplementation becomes important. A quality B-Complex supplement with high absorption rates may relieve stress, boost cognitive performance, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, even in people without B vitamin deficiencies. For people experiencing B vitamin deficiencies, supplementation is urgent as the symptoms can be severe and even dangerous.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should visit your physician immediately to find out if you may be deficient in any of the B vitamins. Deficiency can lead to further health complications. For example a B12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition where the bone marrow produces large and abnormally-shaped red blood cells that do not carry out proper function. Other symptoms or conditions related to this deficiency are depression, paranoia, even dementia, as well as behavioral changes and neurological damage that may be irreversible.
B-Complex vitamin deficiency can produce the following symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Abdominal cramps
- Skin rashes