The B complex vitamins are water-soluble. They are depleted from your body whenever you are stressed, tired, ill or physically active. Overall, B complex vitamins nourish and support your nervous system and convert food into energy.
Additionally, they create neurotransmitters such as tryptophan, tyrosine, dopamine, seratonin and melatonin. The three phases of the liver methylation cycle are very much dependent on these vitamins.
Because the water-soluble B complex vitamins are so essential, it is vital to ensure that you are supplementing with a high-quality product.
It is also necessary to understand that you should not take just one B vitamin on its own. It will create a deficiency in all the other Bs, so when taking a particular B vitamin, always take it simultaneously with a B complex.
Here are some examples to demonstrate the importance of what each vitamin B does:
Vitamin B1 is responsible for carbohydrate metabolism, nervous system, adrenal and cardiovascular function, and provides the co-factor for glucose metabolism. It also creates neurotransmitters for your brain.
Deficiency symptoms are a tired, weak heart, peripheral neuropathy, calf tenderness, nightmares, restless legs, nervousness, anxiety, muscle weakness, headaches, depression, muscle wasting, and fluid retention in legs.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is essential for energy production and the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Deficiency symptoms can be cracked red lips and tongue, cracks around corners of lips, bloodshot or itchy, watery eyes, inflamed tongue, and sore throat.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is needed for DNA repair, creating steroids (such as adrenal hormones), stabilizing blood sugars, breaking down fats, and lowering cholesterol to maintain normal levels. Deficiency symptoms are lack of appetite, digestive issues, low tolerance to cold, memory loss (dementia), skin inflammation (dermatitis), redness around the neck, diarrohea, and muscle weakness.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) supports the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Deficiency symptoms are morning stiffness, burning feet, fatigue, acne, irritability, insomnia, apathy, muscle cramps, low blood sugar, tingling pricking or numbness, and excessive soreness after exercise with a poor recovery rate.
Vitamin B6 supports more than 100 different enzymes involved in metabolism. B6 is involved in blood cell creation, amino acid creation, and neurotransmitter synthesis. Without B6, all amino acids become essential (meaning they cannot be made from your body).
It is needed to make serotonin and convert tryptophan to B vitamins. Deficiency symptoms are cardiovascular weakness, carpal tunnel syndrome, dandruff, headaches, and high homocysteine levels.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) is essential in the formation of new cells, especially in pregnancy and infancy. B9 supports metabolism, nerves, blood, and growth development while being vital for energy production. Deficiency symptoms are a sore tongue, depression, anxiety, fatigue, neural tube defects, and anaemia.
Vitamin B12 supports liver function, the gastrointestinal tract, and healthy blood cells.
Deficiency symptoms are an overwhelming feeling of tiredness despite enough sleep, sighing or yawning frequently, shortness of breath, heavy breathing while climbing stairs, irritability, brain fog, mood swings, and memory loss.
You could also have a swollen tongue, brittle nails, pins and needles or numbness in your hands and feet, nerve pain in the bottom of your feet (peripheral neuropathy), or a constant full feeling in your stomach.
This information is general only and is not meant to treat or diagnose health issues.
Trudy Kither is a naturopath and owner of Nature’s Temple. Visit naturestemple.net