Facts Issue 2: Vitamin B... Part 1
You want the Facts? You CAN handle the FACTS! (Always wanted to be able to say that.)
So we boiled it all down to just give you the necessities.
This week it’s Vitamin B. There’s so damn many of them. Which one does what?
Ok, first, What are the B Vitamins? I’ll list them all, but B4, B8, B10, and B11 are no longer considered vitamins by definition (SAY WHAT?). They are still in use, however, and so I will cover them in a separate article.
We’ve got B1, AKA Thiamine, which is an essential vitamin involved heavily in glucose production and digestive health. Your major organs - heart, liver, kidneys and brain - all contain high amounts of this stuff. It gives your body the power to break down sugar from food, create certain neurotransmitters (hopefully the ones helping you commit this to memory), produce essential fatty acids and synthesize certain hormones.
Riboflavin…may have heard of it. Well, that’s B2. It’s required to help certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Think energy boost! Riboflavin also plays a role in breaking down fats, drugs and steroid hormones, converting tryptophan - Man, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and the naps - into Niacin, and converting B6 into a coenzyme the body needs to function properly. Pretty important, don’t ya think!
Then there’s B3, one of the big guns, Niacin. It’s an essential vitamin that can aid in improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as bolstering brain function. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Our bodies convert niacin into something called NAD - it’s hard to pronounce, don’t worry about it. All you need to know is that NAD is responsible for the highest number of reactions by any of the vitamin derived coenzyme.
Hey Rebels, this means changing the energy (see: calories) in carbs, fats and proteins into the stuff you can use!
B4 was the vitamin formerly known as Adenine and is no longer considered a vitamin.
But, B5 is key vitamin. Also known as Pantothenic Acid, B5 is critical for the formation of CoEnzyme A - which plays a major role in helping a ton of different enzymes function properly. Also, great for an energy boost and supporting metabolism!
Pyridoxine is the name for the very well known B6. The body needs it for all sorts of important functions, such as amino acid metabolism, breaking down carbs and fats, brain development and immune function.
B7 is commercially known as Biotin. Bad news, doesn’t actually do a whole lot for hair, skin and nails. Good news, it also helps break down fats, carbs, and proteins, aids in cellular communication and regulation of DNA.
Skipping to B9 (B8, or Inositol, isn’t actually a vitamin). Ahh, Folate! You probably know it in its synthetic version, Folic Acid. Most well known for preventing neural tube defects in infants, Folate is also beneficial for DNA replication, metabolism of vitamins and amino acids, as well as proper cell division.
B10, remember not an actual vitamin, is Para Amino Benzoic Acid or PABA. And B11, same boat, is Salicylic Acid. Keep checking back for when I go into more depth on these guys, and their buddies B4 and B8.
Raise your hand if you want to guess the next one?
That’s Right, B12! One of the better known B’s, B12 is also called Cobalamin because it contains the mineral cobalt. This body uses B12 for some major functions, like creating new red blood cells, DNA synthesis, Neurological function and fat and protein metabolism.
With their 8 powers combined, they are known as B COMPLEX! Truth is they often occur together in the same foods and the majority of you are going to be able to get what you need by eating a - SAY IT WITH ME - a balanced diet full of a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
In Part 2, next week, we’ll cover some of the most common foods containing all of these, some potential causes for deficiencies, and how to take them, if needed. We’ll also dig into some of the evidence for the more commercialized benefits of supplementation. Is it worth supplementing even if you aren’t deficient? We are going to separate fact from fiction for you.