B vitamins in general

B vitamins in generalB vitamins are water-soluble and because they do not get stored in the body, we humans depend on regular intake of them. B vitamins work in synergy in a highly complicated teamwork setup. They take part in most of the body's enzymatic processes, some more actively than others. The uptake of B vitamins depends on gastric acid and digestion.

B vitamins:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
VitaminB5 (pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Biotin (vitamin B7, vitamin B8, vitamin H)
Folic acid (folate, folacin, vitamin B9)
Vitamin B12 (several types of cobalamin)

Vitamin-like substances with a chemical structure similar to that of B vitamins

Vitamin B10 (para-aminobenzoic acid)
Vitamin B13 (orotic acid)
Vitamin B15 (pangamic acid)
Vitamin B17 (amygdalin)
Choline
Inositol

B vitamins and their importance and functions in general (read more about the individual B vitamins)

  • Energy metabolism and energy levels
  • Blood cells
  • Nervous system
  • Hormonal system
  • Immune system
  • Digestive system
  • Skin and hair
  • Muscles
  • Reduction of tiredness and exhaustion
  • Several B vitamins function as antioxidants

Deficiency symptoms

  • Fatigue and low stress threshold
  • Anemia
  • Nervousness and tension
  • Constipation and irritable colon
  • Insomnia
  • Skin and hair problems
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Fluid retention (oedemas)

Deficiencies and poor utilisation may be caused by

  • Industrial processing of food (shelling, milling, and preservation)
  • Boiling and intense cooking
  • Excessive consumption of sugar and white flour
  • Excessive consumption of coffee and black tea
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and other stimulants
  • Antibiotics, contraceptive pills, diuretics, and antacids
  • Too little stomach acid and compromised intestinal flora
  • Stress

Sources

Fresh, green and coarse foods such as whole-grain, oats, legumes, vegetables, fruit, brown rice, garlic, nuts, sees, kernels, seaweed, brewer's yeast plus liver, meat, and fish.

Increased need

  • Above mentioned deficiency symptoms
  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Stress
  • Overconsumption of coffee and black tea
  • Overconsumption of alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, and other stimulants
  • Antibiotics, contraceptive pills, diuretics, and antacids
  • Stress

Important information

  • Deficiency symptoms typically occur as a result of modern lifestyles with too much processed food, sugar, stimulants, medical drugs, and stress
  • Since B vitamins work in synergy in the body it is normally best to take them together in a complex
  • Because B vitamins are water-soluble it is generally best to take them in between several main meals in the course of the day for the optimal effect
  • Avoid taking B vitamin supplements in the case of bacterial infections, as bacteria use B vitamins for their growth