The early investigations having found the substance called vitamin B were surprised to discover a whole family of these B vitamins. Actually there were more than a dozen of these vitamins, all different and performing a wide variety of functions. Most of these B complex vitamins work together for the benefit of the body. Because of the close bond between them, they were referred to as the B complex vitamins.
Cereals such as rice, wheat, and barley all contain B complex vitamins, but they are found particularly in the outer covering of the grain. This means that polished rice has lost many of these vitamins. The same is true of white flour from meat.
The vitamin B-complex refers to all of the known essential water-soluble vitamins except for vitamin C. These include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B 6), biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins (vitamin B 12).
Each member of the B-complex has its own structure and performs its own functions in the human body. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and biotin takes part in energy production, vitamin B6 is essential for amino acid metabolism, and vitamin B12 and folic acid helps in the cell division. Each of these vitamins has many additional functions. However, contrary to popular belief, no functions require all B-complex vitamins simultaneously.
Human beings require these vitamins in different quantities. Their requirements for vary considerably—from 3 mcg per day for vitamin B12 to 18 mg per day for vitamin B3 in adult males. Therefore, taking equal amounts of each one—as provided in many B-complex supplements—makes little sense. Furthermore, there is little evidence supporting the use of megadoses of B-complex vitamins to fight against everyday stress, boost energy, or control food cravings, unless a person has a deficiency of one or more of them. Again, contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence indicating people should take all B vitamins to avoid an imbalance when one or more individual B vitamin is taken for a specific health condition.
The majority multivitamin and mineral supplements contain vitamin B-complex as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. Since multivitamin/mineral supplements are more complete than B-complex vitamins by themselves, multivitamin-mineral supplements are recommended to prevent deficiencies over individual vitamin supplements.
B-complex vitamins are water-soluble. If these vitamins are taken in excess are excreted in the urine but are sometimes associated with toxicity. Both the B vitamins and vitamin C are also stored in the liver.
Vitamin B-complex includes a variety of components, each of which has the potential to interact with drugs. It is recommended that a person should discuss the use of vitamin B-complex and if he is taking any medicine with the doctor or some recognized medical practioner. These are available from a wide variety of foodstuff and in addition are synthesized in the alimentary tract by the normal bacterial flora provided no sulphonamides and antibiotics are administered to the person for any length of time. These are obtained for therapeutic use either from these natural sources or from synthetic preparations.
Sources for Vitamin B Complex
Whole grain cereals, wheat, Pulses, Nuts, Green leafy vegetables, Molasses, Meat Liver and Brewer’s yeast.
Benefits of vitamin B complex
These vitamins are essential for:
The breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (this provides energy for the body)
The breakdown of fats and proteins (which aids the normal functioning of the nervous system)
Muscle tone in the stomach and intestinal tract, Skin, Hair, Eyes, Mouth and Liver
B vitamins are vital for clear, luminous skin, youthful looks and for delaying graying of hair. They are essential for healthy skin, hair, and eyes. Studies show that 40 percent of dermatitis sufferers lack B vitamins. B vitamins also counteract stress, which has adverse effects on one’s appearance.
Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B complex
A deficiency of B complex vitamins can lead to:
Poor hair growth
Redness and irritation.
Inflamed fissures at the corners of nose and mouth.
Who are not advised to take?
Patients who are recovering from heart attacks are not advised to take vitamin B complex. Studies show that those who took the highest amounts of vitamin B their heart risk increases by 20 percent.
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