Vitamin B complex is often a combination of all eight B vitamins within one formulation or capsule. B vitamins are water soluble, meaning the body will not store them. This means that we must absorb them from foods we eat, or with supplements.
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine plays an essential role in metabolism, helping to convert nutrients into energy for the body.
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin helps to convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant to eradicate free radicals.
Vitamin B3 – Niacin plays an important role in cellular signalling, metabolism and DNA production and repair.
Vitamin B5 – Much like the other B vitamins, Pantothenic acid helps the body obtain energy from food and is involved in hormone and cholesterol production.
Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine is involved in amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production and the creation of neurotransmitters.
Vitamin B7 – Biotin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Vitamin B9 – Folate is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells and helps with proper cell division.
Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin is vital for neurological function, DNA production and red blood cell development.
During pregnancy, the demand for B vitamins, particularly B12 and folate grows to support the growing baby’s development. In women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, especially if their diet is a vegetarian or vegan one.
As you age, the ability to absorb B12 decreases and appetite declines. This makes it difficult for some to get enough B12 in their diets alone. It is estimated that 10-30% of people over 50 do not produce enough stomach acid to properly absorb vitamin B12. Deficiencies in vitamin B6 are also common in the elderly population.
People with certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease of Crohn’s disease are more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies, including B vitamins. In these circumstances, patients are often advised to supplement with a B complex to correct these deficiencies.
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