Vitamin B is that essential vitamin that is needed for energy production from the food we eat. Though people are aware of what one should or should not eat with respect to proteins, carbs, and fats, the need of the body’s vitamins and minerals are rarely fulfilled. The lack of Vitamin B12 especially can send your health spiraling downward. In fact, the very onset of its depletion can cause fatigue, body pain, depression, and even a nervous breakdown. This is especially amongst the vegans as plant-based diets generally do not have much of this Vitamin. Though meat has adequate quantities, it is there in very small quantities in milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt. Fermentation by yeast ups the nutritional content of Vitamin B12 but for those who do not even have milk, supplements of Vitamin B 12 are much required.
But it’s not only the Vitamin B 12 that is required to optimize what we eat but the entire gamut of Vitamin B ‘s. Though there is a sudden awakening towards being health aware, being diligent with their diets, their exercise, the overall quality of life, the duress of everyday routine sometimes makes it difficult. So though we may be in taking the appropriate amount of carbs, the lackluster feeling that we get an end of the day can be more due to the inadequacy of Vitamin B rather than our controlled diets. One might then decide that the diet doesn’t suit us and indulge in eating more carbs and fats trying to compensate for the energy loss, not releasing that the exhaustion is due to non-conversion of carbs into energy at the correct time.
The easiest form of Vitamin B is eggs, chicken, nuts and seeds followed by milk, whole grains, oranges, green veggies though in smaller quantities. The wisest thing to do for vegetarians is making sure they incorporate the latter into their everyday diet. The ones that cannot, will have to make sure they have a comprehensive supplement of all the Vitamin B’s.
B1 THIAMINE- Co-enzyme to release energy from carbs, helps in the formation of collagen, needs to be higher during sports training and pregnancy.
B2 RIBOFLAVIN- Co-enzyme to release energy from carbs, antioxidant, protects mucous membranes
B3 NIACIN- Helps in regulating blood glucose, release energy from carbs and fats, antioxidant and is important for DNA repair.
B5 PANTOTHENIC ACID – Energy release from carbs, is an essential component of Co-enzyme A which is vital to life, helps in the synthesis of sex hormones and corticosteroids, the formation of the HEME in hemoglobin, DNA repair etc.
B6 PYRIDOXINE- Important for the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbs, It is important for the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters in our body, maintaining healthy immunity, is important for cardiovascular health, reduces PMS symptoms.
B7 BIOTIN (VIT H)- It is important for cell growth, and maintenance of healthy hair and skin. Important during pregnancy for fetal growth also
B9 FOLATE- It is vital for fetal growth, development of the cells and proper function of the nervous system.
B12 COBALAMIN- It is essential for proper functioning of the nervous system and the release of energy from food. Important for the metabolism of homocysteine which is required to maintain cardiovascular health.
So, though the most important of them all, Vitamin B12 is also produced by the human body in the intestine as well as the in the mouth it is the non-absorption that might cause the deficiency. If one does not chew the food well enough giving it sufficient time or the gut flora is damaged then it becomes essential that Vitamin B complex(all the various B vitamins) is taken orally in supplement form to combat it. So while we are overly concerned about the carbs we eat, let’s not forget about the essentials that make our body run. Vitamins and minerals though required in extremely small quantities (visually just a pinch) are what keep our bodies running.
Eat wisely, eat slowly, eat well.