Vitamin B is associated with child development processes, physical exercise and neurological activity, to name a few. However, it is much more than that. The B-complex vitamins are useful for many things, although they all look alike in some ways. Vitamin B functions are extremely broad.
Benefits and functions of group B
In general, we can find seven benefit groups and functions of Group B. Let’s look at them.
Helps the correct functioning of the energy metabolism
Vitamin B12 is responsible for this. Its job is to help convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is the energy the body uses to carry out the different functions that require a certain degree of intensity.
In addition, this is also in charge of intervening in the signalling performed by neurotransmitters, thus helping to carry out a correct and positive muscle contraction.
Three of the B-complex vitamins – B6, B9 (or folic acid) and B12 – are essential in the synthesis of serotonim and other mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
B12, if it works with folate, is able to produce SAM – or S-adenosylmethionine – an essential component for neurological function. It helps you cope with stress, depression and anxiety.
It has to be said, of course, that Group B by itself does not serve to treat disorders of this type, but they are considered co-factors capable of improving the performance of some other substances.
Prevent cardiovascular disease
Vitamin B6 facilitates the conversion of methionine into cysteine. Vitamin B12, on the other hand, causes homocysteine to be recycled, converted back into methionine.
Homocysteine is an amino acid synthesized from cysteine and methionine. High levels of homocysteine in the blood are associated with pathologies such as arteriosclerosis or blood clots.
Methionine-containing foods, which contain the most protein, are those that will achieve that high homocysteine level. However, we must remember that both vitamin B6 and B12 – although especially vitamin 1 – are necessary for the conversion that we have mentioned, that is, without them, however high the consumption of methionine amino acids may be, they will not achieve their purpose.
But that’s no longer all; poor treatment of homocysteine by our body can lead to heart attacks, coronary risks, blockage of the arteries and other cardiovascular system-related complications.
It will only be the stabilization of the levels of these amino acids from the consumption of B6, B12 and B9 that will achieve the correct cardiovascular functioning as well as the prevention of some related diseases.
Improve mental acuity
Again, the B6, B9 and B12 trio prevent cognitive impairment. This is given with many factors that can be controlled, however, age is one that we cannot remedy. Over the years, problems develop at the brain level that lead to dementia, mental illness, cognitive disability or lack of memory.
Returning to the previous point, we have to say that hyperhomocysteinaemia, i. e. the high level of homocysteine in the blood, can become toxic to the brain.
Of all the elements needed to maintain bone density, vitamin B12 is especially important. It acts on the formation of the matrix of connective fibers of bone tissue; it also synthesizes red blood cells.
The loss of bone density due to lack of vitamin B12 makes bones unable to regenerate, weakens and ends up leading to a process of osteoporosis.
They support vision
The B-complex vitamins reduce chronic inflammation and, as we have already said, prevent excessively high levels of homocysteine in the blood. The two problems are related to some vascular problems affecting the retina. In addition, these nutrients reduce the risk of macular degeneration and help prevent uveitis, a pathology that can lead to blindness.
They manufacture keratin
Keratin is a protein chain that protects the cells by a layer of hardness and flexibility. This essentially serves to maintain moisture and forms part of the skin, dental enamel, nails and hair.
It is vitamins B3, B6 and B12 that increase the production of keratin in both quantity and quality, making these elements more and better protected. In addition, these synthesize, as we have mentioned, the red blood cells, thus improving the transport of nutrients and oxygen.
The effects are a smooth, wrinkle-free skin, hair with natural, shiny and strong hair loss, nails that are also strong and dry, both with constant growth, and a tooth enamel of healthy color, shine and texture.
List of B Complex vitamins
The B Complex vitamins are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. As is well known, these are tremendously important for our organism, considered vital. They are the ones that offer the benefits we have just discussed, along with some others that we will indicate below.
The organism does not absorb it, it transforms it into a coenzyme related to the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Works in DNA and RNA formation.
It stimulates the appetite.
Maintains the integrity of the nervous system.
We find it in whole grains, beans, peanuts, kale, spinach or wheat germ among others.
The CDR is 1.1 mg.
It also behaves like a coenzyme. It is related to the functioning of the mitochondria, an organic that is part of the cells that supply the energy of proteins, fats and hydrates.
It will be part of two coenzymes, flavin adenine dinucleotide and flavin mononucleotide.
They are involved in the reduction and oxidation of the organism.
It preserves the state of the tissues in the best possible way, emphasizing their function in the skin, eyes and nerves.
It is antioxidative and helps to produce red blood cells.
The more physical exercise, the more vitamin B2 is needed.
We have it in wild rice, eggs, yogurt, spinach and cabbage.
CDR is 1.4 mg.
B3 or niacin
It metabolizes carbohydrates, protein and fat to produce energy.
Reduces LDL cholesterol.
It properly maintains the liver, hair, eyes, skin and normalizes the function of the nervous system.
Helps produce sex hormones.
Improves blood circulation.
You eat it with yeast, milk, red meat, eggs, beans and green vegetables.
Its CDR is 16 mg.
B5 or pantothenic acid
It releases energy as coenzyme.
Reduces some signs of aging in the skin, such as redness or spots.
Helps to improve physical performance.
Eat yogurt, avocado, legumes, meat and eggs for a good supply of this B complex vitamin.
CRD is 6mg.
B6 or pyridoxine
Forms coenzymes that facilitate protein metabolism.
It is involved in the formation of red blood cells and the degradation of muscle glycogen.
Helps in the production of amino acids.
Vitamin B6 serves to regulate homocysteine if it is found at elevated levels.
Helps to produce various hormones and neurotransmitters.
The sources of vitamin B6 are white meats such as chicken and turkey, blue fish such as salon or tuna, rice, carrots, lentils, pipes…
We must take 1.4 mg of B6 a day.
B8, H or biotin
It is known among the B Complex vitamins that form glucose from carbohydrates.
Metabolizes carbohydrates and lipids.
Keeps skin, hair and nails.
Controls blood glucose.
It greatly favours fetal growth.
We take biotin with liver and chicken and pork meats, fish, potatoes, nuts, yolks and yeast and barley.
We need 50 mcg a day.
B9, folate or folic acid
It transports the coenzymes that work the metabolism of amino acids.
It is essential for rapidly recovering tissues (blood cells, muscles…).
Essential for DNA and RNA formation.
Regenerates the intestinal walls.
Prevents premature birth and many defects in the fetus.
We got it from leafy green vegetables and root vegetables, salmon, wheat, beans…
We must take 200 mcg a day.
B12, cobalamin or methylcobalamin
The last of the B-complex vitamins, along with other elements, forms essential coenzymes for the cells, highlighting those of the red blood cells, the intestinal tract and the bone marrow.
It performs many metabolic functions: producing energy, synthesizing DNA, developing nerve cells, maintaining the cardiovascular system, performing a correct hormonal balance.
It is necessary to maintain balance with the rest of vitamins.
As it has so many functions, its lack has a strong impact on the organism.
The sources of B12 are cheese, seafood, liver and beef.
The CoR is 2.4 mcg.
Other B-complex vitamins and nutrients
There are other nutrients of type B that form part of the group. Although they are not considered vital, they are not considered vitamins. We are talking about nutrients that were once considered vitamins and now not vitamins and nutrients. These are often indicated as B-complex vitamins but are not.
B4 or adenine
It’s a nitrogen-based DNA and genetic code. It is paired with thymine and uracil.
It is found in adenosine triphosphate, the main source of cellular energy.
B7 or biotin
It is a nutrient soluble in water.
It is the precursor of acetylcholine, related to memory and muscle control, among other functions.
Synthesizes cell membranes.
B10 or vitamin R
It is water-soluble.
This vitamin B Complex vitamin serves to prevent skin diseases such as vitiligo, being very good sunscreen.
Works in hematopoiesis (red blood cell formation).
Maintains hair color.
Increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the body’s tissues.
It produces folic acid by bacterial stimulation.
B11 or carnitine
It has a structure similar to the amino acid although it is not.
It transports long-chain fatty acids to the mitochondria for oxidation and conversion to energy.
It also facilitates the transport of intermediate toxic compounds so that carnitine itself can accumulate.
It induces weight loss by accelerated fat burning.
Increases physical performance.
Protects the heart muscle.
Helps treat type II diabetes.
B13 or orotic acid
It is a heterocyclic acid compound made by the intestinal flora.
It can treat mild manic-depressive disorders.
It is able to improve insulin resistance by controlling glucose metabolism.
B14 or xanthopterin
It’s a protein pigment.
It is said to have antitumour properties, although this is not demonstrable at the moment.
B15 or pangamic acid
There are no proven uses for the molecule.
Hypothetically, it prevents cancer by not having the Rodanase enzyme found in tumor cells.
It is used in alternative medicines with B17.
B16 or dimethylglycine
Increases immune response.
It produces brain chemicals that improve neurological functions, mood, alertness, concentration and other processes related to brain activity.
Reduces lactic acid in the blood, which helps to cope with stressful situations.
B17 or amygdaline
It’s a cyanogenic glycoside.
Positive effects against cancer are attributed to it, but there is no information to support this supposed usefulness.
It is often confused with laetrile, but it is not the same thing. The latter is semi-synthetic.
It is a component of Aloe Vera, a plant with medicinal effects, especially of a regenerating nature.
It is nothing more or less than another name for vitamin B9
B-h or inositol
It is an organic polyol compound.
Transduces signals when it is attached to the lipid signaling membrane, i. e. it activates its receptors, which are put to work.
Orients the nerves and their growth.
It favours the assembly of the cytoskeleton.
Controls the concentration of intracellular calcium, mobilizing it.
Modulates serotonin activity.
It helps break down fat, helping to reduce blood cholesterol. The liver breaks down fats with the help of inositol in combination with choline.
Gene expression is favoured, which allows for the coordination of responses to changes in cellular environments.
Reduces the intensity of panic attacks.
One study showed that it affects bipolar disorder but not significantly.
It does reduce the symptoms of OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It is used to restore ovarian function.
As a curiosity, indicate that it is used as an adulterant for drugs for compatibility with the solubility of the parts.
B-t or L-carnitine
It transports fatty acids to the mitochondria, which is the part of each cell responsible for producing energy.
You need physical activity to achieve the results we all know, which are weight loss and muscle tone.
In medicine it is used to treat some heart disease.
B-x, PABA or bacterial vitamin B10
It’s an organic compound.
Metabolize some bacteria.
It is used in producer of protection against UV rays
It is also used to help in the treatment of some fibrotic skin disorders.
Infographics: The vitamins of B Complex in the human body
It is evident that the B Complex of vitamins has an enormous usefulness. These are useful for many things, but as can be seen, they are particularly important in relation to red blood cells, mitochondrial activity, the structuring of DNA and RNA, the maintenance of the nervous system and the promotion of carviovascular health.
Given the importance of these B-complex vitamins, it is common to find them separately or several of them in vitamin supplements; sometimes also with vitamins of another complex. In fact, folic acid and biotin are almost obligatory in any supplement for pregnant women.
Knowing what the B Complex vitamins are for is essential. However, as important as this is knowing which ones act alone, which need to be combined with other vitamins or compounds, the recommended dosage (let’s remember how bad it is to go wrong) and, of course, know how to design a balanced diet that provides you with just what you need.