Vitamin B Complex is extremely unique, due to is complex structure. In fact, it took over 50 years for well-known physicians, scientists, researchers, and biochemists to discover all its complexities. From 1889 starting with Christiaan Eijkman (a Dutch physician) to 1947 with Karl Folkers (a American Biochemist and Director of Merck research) extensive detailed analysis and time has been put into this vitamine (now spelled vitamin). Vitamin B had so many unmasked features, the period spent researching was very much needed. Vitamin B Complex is made up of eight water-soluble vitamins which are:
- Vitamin B1- (Thiamine)- Required for our bodies to properly use carbohydrates.
- Vitamin B2- (Riboflavin)- Required for the proper development of the skin, lining of the digestive tract, blood cells, and brain It also boosts the immune system.
- Vitamin B3 – (Niacin)- To synthesize the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), which are involved in over 400 biochemical reactions in your body (mainly related to obtaining energy from the food you eat).
- Vitamin B5- (Pantothenic Acid)- Evidence from limited intervention studies suggests that pantothenic acid and/or pantothenol (alcohol analog) might improve the healing process of skin wounds. It is also essential to all forms of life and helps produces healthy hormones.
- Vitamin B6- (Pyridoxine)- Pyridoxine is needed to help make neurotransmitters. These include gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. This vitamin is needed to help convert stored energy (glycogen) to blood sugar (glucose). It also used to help with genetic problems with metabolism, plus assist women with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
- Vitamin B12- (Biotin, Folic Acid, and the Cobalamins)- Vitamin B12 is needed to form red blood cells and DNA. It is also a key player in the function and development of brain & nerve cells.
Some of the major benefits that were found came from many biochemists trying to solve for diseases, illnesses, and sicknesses.
In 1947, Folkers and his team isolated vitamin B12 (cobalamin), producing tiny, bright red crystals of the vitamin. The following year, this new compound was tested on a patient who suffered from pernicious anemia (a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues) curing her.
In addition to anemia, here are some other major benefits:
- Lower stroke risk
- Increased metabolism
- Prevention of beriberi (a disease affecting the heart, digestive, and nervous system).
- Reduces Heart disease risk
- Prevention of many cancers (evidence has been shown)
- Reduce Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
- Healthy babies- Folic acid (found in B12), is necessary for the baby’s body growth and development.
In addition, the vitamin B complex help enzymes in our bodies do their jobs and are important for a wide range of cellular functions, like breaking down carbohydrates and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
In accordance with webmd.com, some research shows that having the right amount of B vitamins in your body may help it resist the development of cancerous growth and it is associated with a lower risk of the skin cancer melanoma (a form of skin cancer that begins in the cells (melanocytes) that control the pigment in your skin) in particular.
High Vitamin B in Foods
- Leafy Greens- (Spinach, Collard greens, Turnip greens, etc).
- Liver & other organ meats
- Oysters, Clams, and Mussels
- Legumes (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans etc.)
- Chicken & Turkey
- Nutritional yeast (popular with vegetarians & vegans)
- Fortified Cereal
- Sunflower Seeds
Keep in mind since Vitamin B complex are water-soluble, it’s difficult to overdose on them because your body will flush out the excess. However, it is possible to experience negative effects from too much of the vitamins.
Although B complex has been shown to help prevent many cancers, there is evidence to show that it may increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer in men who smoke. Researchers believe the B vitamins may help small and previously undetected tumors grow faster.
B complex contains vitamin B6, and an overdose of this vitamin (200 mg or more per day) can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs. This is usually temporary and will go away once you stop taking the vitamin, but in some cases the effect can be permanent.
B complex also contains niacin (vitamin B3). In high doses, niacin can cause skin flushing. If you take high doses over a long period of time, niacin can cause damage to the liver.
All in all, make sure you take the necessary precautions and measurements to obtain or maintain a healthy well balance diet. Ultimately live well and eat colorfully! 😊
Vitamin B Complex - American Chemical Society (acs.org)
B Complex: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Uses, Safety Information, and More (webmd.com)
THIAMINE (VITAMIN B1): Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (webmd.com)
RIBOFLAVIN: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (webmd.com)
5 Benefits of Niacin (Vitamin B3) That You May Not Know (healthline.com)
Pantothenic Acid | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6) - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center
Vitamin B12 | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Anemia - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
8 Surprising Health Benefits of B Vitamins | Everyday Health