Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'B Vitamins' - a run down!

B vitamins are one of the most commonly requested/purchased nutritional supplements, but what are they? what do they do? how do they work? and what foods can you get them from if you're not into taking supplements? Here's a little run down, written my Maryl Celiz from HLife Daily (one of my favorite sites....check it out here)

'Talk about a power team: Vitamin B Complex refers to all the B vitamins (B1-B12), which work together to offer a great deal of nervous system and cardiac support and are therefore critical in stress management. Discovered in the first part of the 20th century and studied extensively ever since, these vitamins are usually referred to and distributed as a group supplement, but they have individual names and functions:

✦ Thiamin (vitamin B1) is crucial for cardiac, muscular and nervous system function.✦ Riboflavin (vitamin B2) important for red blood cell production. Helps release energy from carbs. (Riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light, so store sources in dark containers).✦ Niacin (vitamin B3) is involved in cellular energy production as well as in the digestive and nervous systems (also vital for great skin) It’s the only one that can have toxic effects if taken in excess.✦ Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is necessary for normal growth and development and helps break down food and use it in the body.✦ Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)) supports the immune system by helping to produce antibodies and maintaining healthy red blood cells. Breaks down proteins (the more protein you eat, the more B6 you need).✦ Biotin (vitamin B7 aka vitamin H) helps break down protein and carbohydrates and helps the body make hormones (also key for abundant, shiny hair).✦ Folic acid (vitamin B9) is essential for normal nervous system development of the fetus while in the womb. It helps in the making and maintenance of DNA and red blood cells.✦ Cobalamin (vitamin B12) is important for proper nervous system function, maintenance of red blood cells, and energy production.

According to the American Cancer Society, with the exception of pregnant or lactating women (who need more folic acid than others), a balanced diet of whole unprocessed foods that includes five daily servings of fruits and vegetables as well as grains is the general recommendation for most people to get all the B vitamins their bodies need. Though much isn’t needed in the form of quantity, B vitamins are water soluble, which means the body doesn’t store them and excess leaves through the urine. This means it is important to replenish them daily. Deficiencies are uncommon but can cause anemia, chronic fatigue, and depression as well as muscle cramps, hair loss and eczema, so make sure you’re eating the right foods to replenish what your body uses to battle stress and keep your nerves, blood and muscles healthy.

Sources: Green leaves, legumes and whole grains are major sources for most B vitamins. B1 is found in potatoes, kidney beans and whole grains. B2 is found in nuts, whole grains and green leafy veggies. B3 is found in nuts, whole grains, and dried beans. B5 is found in almost all foods, including broccoli and other veggies in the cabbage family. B6 is found in beans, nuts, potatoes, wheat germ, and bananas. B7 is made by intestinal bacteria and is also in peanuts, bananas, mushrooms, watermelon, and grapefruit. B9 is found in green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, peas, dried beans, citrus fruits, and wheat bread. B12 is made by intestinal bacteria and is found in nutritional yeast'.

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