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Why Should I Be Taking A Vitamin B-Complex?
February 03, 2011 12:18 PM
Vitamins are vital to life. They are essential organic nutrients that are required in very small amounts. Each vitamin is responsible for a certain metabolic function. Vitamins, except for Vitamin D, are not synthesized by the human body and thus are essential nutrients that must be provided through diet or supplements. Vitamins have two categories based on their solubility, the water – soluble and the fat – soluble. Water – soluble vitamins comprise of the B – complex vitamins, vitamin C and choline. On the other hand, the fat – soluble ones are vitamins A, D, E and K. In this article, we will focus on vitamin B – complex which are water soluble.
Vitamin B – complex include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, cobalamin, biotin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins are crucial to many biologic processes:
Vitamin B-1 or thiamine is plays a role in energy metabolism and nerve functioning that is associated with muscular movement.
Vitamin B-2 or riboflavin also acts as a coenzyme in the release of energy from nutrients just like thiamine.
Vitamin B 3 or niacin is also very important in energy metabolism, specifically in glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle.
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is involved in the normal growth and development of cells.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine acts as a catalyst in protein metabolism. This is essential in the development of nerve cells and normal functioning of the nervous system.
Vitamin B7 or biotin aids the transfer of carbon dioxide from one compound to another. It also assists the body to make hormones.
Vitamin B9 or folic acid helps maintain a healthy DNA and is required in the production of red blood cells (RBC).
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is important in the growth and development of tissues and organs. It is also needed in the production of RBCs and nervous system functioning.
These vitamins are found almost in all foods, yet no one food is a perfect source of all these essential vitamins. Fruits and vegetables, cereals, meat and dairy products are great sources. Experts suggest that it is always best to consume vitamins from food sources. However, deficiencies may be rampant if you would just depend on dietary sources. These vitamins work hand in hand that an insufficiency in any B vitamin may result to poor functioning of any or all of the other B vitamins even if they are in good supply. Good thing, vitamin B – complex is made available to supplement the diet. These supplements come in capsule or tablet preparations. Inadequate levels of B vitamins may cause a feeling of weakness, tingling sensation and numbness in both upper and lower extremities, muscle cramps, hair loss, nail brittling, abdominal pain, depression, anemia, poor growth and development in children, and birth defects. As mentioned above, B vitamins are water – soluble. This means that the body cannot store this kind of vitamin except for vitamin B12 and any excess will be readily excreted in the urine. That’s why for those who are taking vitamin B – complex, it is safe and normal to have a bright to dark yellow – colored urine.