B vitamins are used to treat neurological problems, blood disorders and skin problems. There are eight B vitamins that keep our bodies properly functioning.
- Thiamine (B1): Thiamine helps produce acetylcholine, which is responsible for transmitting messages in the brain. A deficiency is marked by bad short-term memory, sensitive teeth or muscle spasms. People who drink alcohol are at the highest risk for thiamine deficiency.
- Riboflavin (B2): Riboflavin breaks down fats, proteins and carbohydrates for use in maintaining healthy nerves, eyes, skin, and mucus membranes. It also acts as an antioxidant, helping the body remove damaging free radicals. Riboflavin deficient people may experience skin disorders, eyes that are light sensitive or memory loss.
- Niacin (B3): Niacin is needed to properly metabolize food. It aids in maintaining skin and healthy nerves. Deficiencies in niacin have been known to lead to skin problems, high cholesterol, and even dementia.
- Pyridoxine (B6): Pyridoxine also breaks down foods for proper use by the nervous system, skin and mucus membranes of the body. Additionally, the B6 vitamin aids in producing red blood cells and metabolizing amino acids. Deficiencies in vitamin B6 can be marked by severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), insomnia, poor coordination, confusion and anxiety.
- Cyanocobalamin (B12): Vitamin B12 works with vitamin C to make white and red blood cells in the body. It also helps to maintain the myelin sheaths that cover the nerves in our brains. Deterioration of the nerves can quickly progress if a deficiency goes uncorrected. B12 also helps to protect and repair DNA damaged by free radicals in our bodies. B12 deficiencies are more common in the elderly and vegetarians, as vitamin B12 is not provided by any plant. Our stomachs make a glycoprotein called intrinsic factor that vitamin B12 must attach to in order for our bodies to use it. As we age, we lose the ability to make this glycoprotein. If you are not absorbing enough vitamin B12 through supplementation, then a physician can administer B12 shots to correct the deficiency. Some recent studies have shown that methylcobalamin may be a more effective form of vitamin B12 than cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the active form of vitamin B12 in the central nervous system. Studies have shown that the liver may not convert cyanocobalamin into adequate amounts of methylcobalamin the body may need for proper neuronal functioning.
- Folic Acid (B9): Folic acid works with B12 and vitamin C to produce blood cells. It also produces the hemoglobin needed by red blood cells to properly transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide. Vitamin B9 works with B12 to protect and repair DNA. Deficiencies in folic acid are similar to those of B12, but additionally blood disorders can be experienced, anemia being one of the most common.
- Biotin (B7): Biotin works with pantothenic acid and folic acid to produce fatty acids. It also helps to metabolize fats and break them down into a usable form for the body. Biotin works with vitamin C during aerobic respiration, producing energy for all cells. Biotin is also needed to control blood sugar levels in the body. Depletion can lead to hair loss in areas including areas other than just the scalp. Biotin is sometimes used to treat eczema and suborrheic dermatitis.
- Pantothenic Acid (B5): Pantothenic acid is necessary for transporting carbon molecules within our cells, is vital for pregnancy, and most biochemical processes in our bodies. Because of this, deficiencies can exhibit themselves in almost any form. Pantothenic acid reduces the build-up of lactic acid after exercise.
Obviously, B vitamins are essential for many of our life functions. Many people do not get enough from the foods that they eat. Even if they eat the right foods, cooking often destroys many of the B vitamins. Supplementing may be necessary. Unless you are treating an existing condition with a specific B vitamin, when you buy vitamins, a B complex or multivitamin should be taken to ensure that you get the right balance of vitamin B.
About the Author: Phil Le Breton is owner at Wholesale Nutrition. He has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health. For more information about C-Salts, otherwise known as the best Vitamin C, or about other Vitamin C powder products, visit http://www.nutri.com where you can buy Vitamins and Supplements of the highest quality.