At times, it can be difficult to get yourself or the little ones to take their vitamin supplements. But there's huge benefit in it, if taken correctly! Supplements help fill in the gaps in our diets. Our health columnist, Renée Leonard Stainton, zooms in on the benefits of Vitamin B.
We all know that eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep are essential in order to concentrate, work and/or study well. However, sometimes the stress and pressure of work and study means our bodies need an extra boost, and that’s where B vitamin supplements can step in. Read why you should consider adding nutritional supplements to your health regime.
Vitamins are essential to life. They contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food. B vitamins act as coenzymes, helping enzymes to react chemically with other substances, and are most commonly known for their role in energy production.
However, when you look at specific B vitamins and how they aid the body, you realise how many essential body processes these vitamins contribute to!
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism, and the production of hydrochloric acid (important for proper digestion).
- Optimises cognitive activity and brain function.
- Has a positive effect on growth, energy, normal appetite and learning capacity.
- Needed for proper muscle tone of the intestines, stomach and heart.
- Acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from the degenerative effects of aging, alcohol consumption and smoking.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Necessary for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration and growth.
- Alleviates eye fatigue, and is important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts.
- Aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- Together with Vitamin A, it maintains and improves the mucous membranes of the digestive tract.
- Facilitates the use of oxygen by the tissues of the skin, nails and hair.
- Helps the absorption of iron and vitamin B6.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Needed for proper circulation and healthy skin.
- Aids the functioning of the nervous system.
- Aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and in the production of hydrochloric acid.
- Involved in the normal secretion of bile and stomach fluids, and in the synthesis of sex hormones.
- Lowers cholesterol and improves circulation.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- Known as the ‘anti-stress vitamin’.
- Plays a role in the production of the adrenal hormones and the formation of antibodies.
- Aids in vitamin utilisation.
- Helps to convert fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy.
- Involved in the production of neurotransmitters.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Involved in more bodily functions that almost any other single nutrient.
- Reduces water retention.
- Necessary in the production of hydrochloric acid.
- Aids absorption of fats and protein.
- Aids in maintaining sodium and potassium balance.
- Promotes red blood cell formation.
- Required by the nervous system and is needed for normal brain function.
- Activates many enzymes and aids in the absorption of B12.
- Aids in antibody production.
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
- Needed to prevent anaemia.
- Aids folic acid in regulating the formation of red blood cells, and helps in the utilisation of iron.
- Required for proper digestion, absorption of foods, the synthesis of protein and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
- Prevents nerve damage.
- Maintains fertility.
It’s important to remember to eat foods rich in B vitamins also. Some options include; spinach, capsicum, parsley, broccoli, tuna, asparagus, eggs, salmon, beef, lentils, calf liver, snapper and oats.
If you’re finding it hard to concentrate at work or struggling to manage exam stress, consider the importance of B vitamins and taking supplements to ensure your nutritional balance is in check!
Unless diagnosed with a specific deficiency or disorder, B vitamins are best taken in conjunction with each other by way of a vitamin B complex vitamin. Up to two to three times more of one B vitamin can be taken for a period of time if needed for a particular disorder. As always, speak with a health professional before starting any supplement regime.
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