Vitamin B complex. There’s 8 vitamin b’s. Find out what they each do.

B Vitamins are a group. A group of 8 single vitamins.

The eight vitamin Bs. What do they do on an individual basis.

You’ve possibly heard about vitamin B complex. It’s likely been recommended to balance your hormones. Or it’s been suggested as an energy booster. Or maybe it’s been recommended to treat issues with your skin and hair.

Many a time, one B vitamin is recommended. For example, folic acid for expectant mothers. Or vitamin B6 for women to treat PMS.

But what about the others?

Did you know that there are 8 B vitamins?

Yes, that complex consists of 8 singular vitamins.

What’s a complex?

Below is the definition of what ‘complex’ means.

consisting of many different and connected parts.

‘Complex’ is a brilliant way to describes the relationship these vitamins have in the body. Explaining the bond that exists when they work together.

As a complex they support each other. There are many roles within the body that require several B vitamins to work together. Without this bond or complex our lives are put into danger.

They’re very special. Working exceptionally well together, and individually having very specific roles in the body.

The role of each B Vitamin.

So, we’ve established that B vitamins work as a group. But they’re extremely powerful on their own too.

In the next sections, we’ll find out more about their unique qualities.

•What are B Vitamins? What do they do and why are they important?

Vitamin B1 -Thiamine

In order to gain energy from foods and drinks, help from Thiamine is needed.

Thiamine produces substances called coenzymes. Coenzymes are substances we produce to allow a bodily function to take place.

In the case of producing energy from glucose, we need coenzymes to break down carbohydrate foods. This requires help from Thiamine.

Protein breaks down to form amino acids. Amino acids are used for a multitude of bodily functions. Ranging from building muscles to producing hormones. Certain amino acids require thiamine to be present to function.

Thiamine is needed for a healthy nervous, cardiovascular and digestive system too.

Thiamine deficiency

Beriberi is a deficiency disorder associated with low levels of thiamine. Having Beriberi can affect your cardiovascular and nervous system.

•What are B Vitamins? This post gives an explanation of enzymes and co-enzymes

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

We need the help of a number of substances to break down fats in our diets. Riboflavin is one of those substances.

Riboflavin like Thiamine works as a coenzyme. It’s essential for breaking down fats. And has a pivotal role in converting other vitamins into other productive bodily substances.

We obtain extremely good amounts of Riboflavin from dairy foods. A bonus, as dairy foods form a large part of our diets. This is a good thing where Riboflavin is concerned as it’s unlikely for us to be deficient in this vitamin.

Obtaining Riboflavin can help boost lacklustre hair and skin. It’s beneficial for the health of our eyes as well.

Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Niacin is a coenzyme. We need Niacin for its role in making fatty acids and cholesterol and, it plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism.

DNA structure and formation of our cells require Niacin to be present too.

We get excellent amounts of niacin by eating a good protein based diet. Risk of niacin deficiency is very rare. Especially if you have a good daily intake of protein. If this is you, you’ll surely be obtaining good levels of niacin in the form of tryptophan.

Tryptophan is an amino acid which converts into niacin in the body. Good sources of Tryptophan can be found in chicken, milk and eggs.

Although rare, low levels of niacin cause digestive problems such as diarrhoea and vomiting.

Depression, fatigue, memory loss and skin problems can be signs that you’re not getting sufficient levels of niacin. Under these circumstances increasing niacin intake can be helpful.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid is in many foods. It plays a vital role in the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Pantothenic acid plays a huge role in making fatty acids and cholesterol.

Pantothenic acid gets its name from the Greek word ‘pantos’. In Greek, this means ‘everywhere’. Pantothenic Acid truly lives up to its name as deficiency is extremely rare.

This vitamin is found in abundance. It’s in absolutely everything! If your diet is high in meats, eggs, legumes and whole grains you’ll be obtaining great levels of this vitamin.

Milk, fruits and vegetables supply us with vitamin B5 too. So you’ll be able to obtain it if you’re not a huge fan of meat. However, in comparison it will be in lower amounts.

•Pantothenic Acid for healthy hair

8 b vitamins. What do they do?

Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 is indeed a unique B vitamin.

Unlike the other B vitamins, Pyridoxine is the ruler when it comes to protein.

It’s the most important vitamin for releasing energy from proteins. Whereas the other b vitamins are involved more in breaking down carbohydrates and fats.

Proteins break down into amino acids. B6 is extremely important for the success of this job. This, due to being the only B vitamin called upon to carry out this role.

Its job, is to be involved in producing more than 100 enzymes. Making it a contributor in many bodily reactions which require the presence of amino acids.

These enzymes not only play a role with proteins, they also contribute to carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

Good sources of vitamin B6 are found in both animal and plant-based foods.
Protein-based foods such as chicken, fish and organ meats are great sources. Whole grain products, fruits and vegetables are good food sources too. Especially bananas, broccoli and spinach.

Vitamin B6 is crucial for a healthy immune system, playing a role in producing white blood cells.

Vitamin B6 and our nervous system

B6 provides us with a healthy nervous system by producing substances that prompt nerve impulses.
These substances are called neurotransmitters.

Pyridoxine and the immune system

B6 also plays a role in the coating of nerve cells. This coat is called the myelin sheath. It surrounds a nerve cell, preventing it becoming damaged.

Boost your mood with Pyridoxine

B6 is particularly helpful to those of us who suffer periods of low mood. This due to releasing mood boosting hormones. It promotes mood by aiding neurotransmitter release of serotonin and dopamine.

Serotonin and dopamine are referred as being the ‘feel good’ hormones. Have you ever felt a feeling of happiness, relaxation and energy after exercise? Yes. Well you can thank serotonin and dopamine for this feeling.

Depression causes a lack of ‘the feel good hormones requiring levels to be raised. Medications as antidepressants, diet and exercise can raise levels. With this in mind, remember foods rich in vitamin B6 if you choose to use diet to raise your levels.

Other benefits of Vitamin B6

We need B6 in combination with folic acid and vitamin B12 to protect the heart. And many women swear by having a regular intake of vitamin B6 to help with PMS.

Its role in helping PMS symptoms is as a diuretic. Being especially helpful with water retention. It’s mood boosting qualities are extremely helpful for PMS sufferers too.

[1]Prescription for nutritional healing, Phyllis A.Balch

Vitamin B7 – Biotin

Biotin is involved with breaking down fatty acids and amino acids. It’s a coenzyme for a group of enzymes involved in energy production.

Good sources of biotin is in liver, yoghurt and egg yolks. It’s important to stress the importance of egg yolks and not eggs whites. If you enjoy raw eggs, you do so at its peril.

Sorry a little extreme!

The reason for this alarm is due to a substance called Avidin.

And I’m sure you’ve guessed that raw egg whites contain Avidin.

Avidin is a protein that binds to biotin and blocks absorption. If you enjoy having raw eggs to get your protein boost and looking to get good levels of this vitamin. I would think again.

You’ll benefit to look for other sources.

If you’re looking to have healthier hair and skin. Biotin is the solution.
In fact biotin is not only called vitamin B7.

It has another name too. Vitamin H.

The ‘H’ referring to the German word for hair, ‘haar’.

As well as giving us luscious hair and skin it also plays a role in the functioning of our muscles.

So remember the Avidin component in raw eggs if you’re using eggs to boost your muscle function.

Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid

Folic acid provides new cells. In particular, red blood cells.

Lacking red blood cells terms us as being anemic. Being anemic results in us not using oxygen sufficiently, which is needed by our cells to use nutrients appropriately.

Folic acid works well combined with other vitamins, working in synergy with vitamin B6 and B12. As a team they work to provide us with a healthy heart.

Folic acid and pregnancy

Folic acid is often recommended to women who are looking to start a family as the
development of the spinal cord is hugely important during pregnancy. This importance is due to making and structuring the nervous system. Housing the nervous system is the spinal cord which communicates to organs and limbs.

Folic acid is needed for DNA and RNA production. DNA and RNA are needed for our growth, development and reproduction. Providing us with our genetic make-up.

So you can see why folic acid is an important nutrient during pregnancy.

Folic Acid Sources

Look to get good sources of folate (folic acid is also known as folate) from green leafy vegetables, lentils and liver. Folate is added to many of our favourite foods. You’ll surely get your folate fix if you regularly eat cereals, rice, pasta and breads.

Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of red blood cells. It also protects our nerve cells.

It also plays a role in the use of amino acids (produced as a result of protein metabolism) and fatty acids obtained by eating animal based foods.

Vitamin B12 deficiency.

If you’re a meat eater it’s rare to be deficient in B12. This due to B12 levels being high in animal based foods.

Therefore, it’s extremely important for vegans and vegetarians to have adequate levels. This can be achieved by taking B12 supplements. Or you could look to eat foods with B12 added. Like folic acid, B12 is added to many popular foods.

B12 deficiency is not only seen in vegetarians and vegans. Some people have a deficiency due to a stomach related disorder.

This due mainly to a loss of Gastric Intrinsic Factor (GIF). GIF is a glycoprotein. Glycoproteins consist of saccharides and amino acids bound together. Saccharides are the products of carbohydrate metabolism. And amino acids are formed from protein metabolism. If GIF is not produced, the stomach will fail to absorb B12 in the intestines.

Being deficient in B12 can lead to a type of anemia called pernicious anemia in some people. This type of anemia causes a lack of red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 and its friends.

Vitamin B12 works in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid to protect our heart too. These three vitamins work together a lot. Especially folic acid.

Folic acid could be seen as a trusted friend of B12. But it can also be its enemy.

That’s because Folic acid is added to most of our foods, it’s rare to become deficient in it. Adding folic acid to popular foods benefits us greatly. But in doing so, high levels can mask deficiencies of B12.

I don’t want to alarm you! It’s rare to be deficient in Vitamin B12 especially as a meat eater. All animal based foods contain good levels of it. And most of us eat foods produced from an animal such as milk, cheese and eggs, all being excellent sources.

So if you’re a vegetarian, you’re in luck, especially if you’re diet permits you to consume milk, eggs and cheese.

And as said previously, B12 like its folic acid friend, is added to a lot of foods.

So, if you’re vegan or vegetarian it would be a good idea to check food labels if this is the case. If it says ‘fortified with’, you can be sure that B12 has been added.


So you can see the importance of B vitamins as a complex. Working alongside each other to promote our wellbeing. But I hope you can have appreciation for the individual vitamins too.

You can clearly see how these vitamins shine individually.



Pantothenic Acid for Healthy Hair

B vitamins

8 b vitamins. What do they do?


1Prescription for nutritional healing, Phyllis A.Balch

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