by Erin Giberson | October 29, 2018
sho Nutrition welcomes guest contributor Josh Wardini at Medical Alert Help for a closer look at the value of B Vitamins.
Keeping up to date with all the things to stay healthy can be quite confusing. You need to ensure that you are getting good sleep, exercising enough, and eating healthy foods so you can get necessary vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Considering vitamins and minerals, some of you may be knowledgeable about what they are, what food sources contain them, and how they function in your body; many of you, however, may feel a bit lost.
No need to worry—a dedicated team led by Josh Wardini and Nikola Djordjevic at Medical Alert Help has created comprehensive yet easy to understand infographics for all the essential vitamins, and we are going to explain in more detail about the important energy booster, B vitamins (one of the stars of the vegan supplement shoEnergy+) including benefits and what foods contain them, to help you up your energy game and feel your best day in and day out.
Read on to learn more about the 8 different types of B Vitamins, each of which has its own purpose and plays its own part in the body.
B vitamins as a group are water soluble. They are carried around in the body’s tissues, but are not stored in the body like some other vitamins.
All B vitamins are vitally important for the correct functioning of the body, such as metabolism, the normal functioning of the central nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells, to name just a few.
Essentially, we need them for everyday energy and to keep the body going. B vitamins collectively are a powerhouse of essential nutrients.
All of the B vitamins that we need can be ideally obtained through diet, yet many people have dietary nutritional gaps, which is when supplements may be useful.
Getting Sufficient Vitamin B
In order to stay healthy, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet that contains foods such as meats, fruits, grains, and vegetables.
Although it is possible to get enough of all types of B vitamin through a proper diet, the truth is, for some people it can be very difficult to do so. Many people have low levels of at least a few of the varieties of this vitamin, and although they are abundant in various foods, they are also very delicate and can easily be destroyed.
Because they are water soluble, when we are cooking foods it is likely that many of the vitamins will be cooked out, or just get lost in the water. Or, if you are eating lots of processed food, many of the B vitamins are destroyed through the process of manufacturing.
The biggest problem lies in the fact that other than B-12, the vitamins are not stored in the body for very long, therefore we need to make sure we are getting a constant supply to replenish those that are lost, and this really needs to be done on a daily basis. Most people need to increase their intake of a vitamin B complex.
What are the symptoms and dangers of Vitamin B Deficiency?
The symptoms of a vitamin deficiency depend very much on the type of vitamin B that you are lacking. However, usually normal symptoms range from fatigue and confusion to anemia, and can even compromise the immune system. In some cases, skin rashes have been known to occur. Deficiency in just one of the B vitamins can lead to some serious health consequences.
It is especially important for pregnant women to get enough of vitamin B every day, as lack of vitamin B-12, for example, could contribute to birth defect or put the baby at risk of possible neurological problems.
The most common vitamins to be deficient in are Thiamine (B1), Niacin (B3), and Pyridoxine (B6). Being deficient in Thiamine and Niacin is often attributed to an excess in alcohol consumption. This can adversely affect coordination, muscle function, and even memory.Pregnant women should also make sure they get enough Folic acid, or vitamin B-9, as this can reduce the risk of central nervous system defects in unborn babies.
Being deficient in Pyridoxine can also be because of excessive alcohol consumption, but is also more common in women who are on the contraceptive pills, those with Thyroid disease, and sometimes in the elderly. Symptoms here could include depression and insomnia, irritability, and muscle twitching.
Why Are They So Important?
B vitamins are all grouped together because of the fact that they all have very similar characteristics. Additionally, many of them work together to ensure the proper functioning of the body, collaborating on some of the roles that are needed in order to maintain a healthy body.
Collectively, they are responsible for both energy and hormone production, red blood cell synthesis, nerve function, and metabolism. Plus, they can also aid overall brain health, prevent anxiety and depression, and help with mental alertness. Taking away just one of these B vitamins can cause big problems for the body, and may even cause it to stop functioning as it should. Click here to access the complete B vitamin infographic.
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine)
This type of B vitamin is used to help convert carbohydrates into energy, along with aiding nerve and muscle functioning which is achieved by regulating the flow of electrolytes that go in and out of the muscles.
Ideally, a female should be getting 0.8mg of Thiamine every day, which can be achieved by eating foods such as trout, soybeans, and sunflower seeds, among others.
It is not very common to be deficient in vitamin B1, usually it is combined with another disease or problems such as in alcoholics, or those with Crohn’s disease. Symptoms can include difficulty with coordination, fatigue, having a low mood, and abdominal discomfort.
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)
This type of vitamin is not stored in the body, which means you need to consume certain type of foods every day to make sure your body has enough of it. Vitamin B-2’s role in the body is to break down essential nutrients from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, maintaining energy supply to the muscles. It is also important for red blood cells production.
You should be able to get enough Riboflavin in your diet as it occurs naturally in many foods such as eggs and salmon. It is also possible to make Riboflavin synthetically, and it is added into sugary sweets to give them that glowing, almost neon color.
Women should be in taking around 1.1mg a day, an amount that is not difficult to get. You may know if you are deficient in B-2 if you have dry or cracked lips, a sore throat, and sensitivity to light.
Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)
Niacin is used in the body to help metabolize fat, alcohol, and glucose. It can also help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood stream and promote good levels of it. Usually, 13mg of daily intake should be enough for women, and you will be able to get it by eating tuna, peanuts, mushrooms, and green peas.
Although you are not likely to consume too much Niacin naturally, it may be possible to take too many supplements, and symptoms here may include headaches, diarrhea, and nausea.
If possible, we should all be trying to get enough vitamins and minerals through diet. Sometimes, however, this is not possible, therefore we have to get them through other means, such as supplements.
(Editor's note: notice the difference between standard supplement pill sizes, left, and sho Nutrition's easy to take and easy to swallow Spheri-Gels, right).
Nutritional supplements are a big seller in the drug industry, and sometimes it can be difficult to know which are the best companies to go with. Consumers should look for companies with researched-backed, quality ingredient products.
As long as vitamin B supplements are taken in the correct dosage, they are pretty much safe to take. Of course, like with all drugs, it is possible to encounter some side effects if your body doesn’t agree with them or if they are taken in excess (yet again, since B vitamins are water-soluble and not stored in the body, they are considered a safe supplement as what is not needed by the body will be flushed - a detoxing which, in and of itself, can be beneficial - and overdose is not a concern).
For vegans and vegetarians, the biggest problem is likely to be the struggle to get enough vitamin B-12, as really these are only found in animal based food. That’s why many vegans are likely to supplement this vitamin in some way.
While many of these vitamins work in tandem with each other, each has its own specific benefits, so you should be doing all you can to ensure that you are getting the right amount of each every day. The easiest way this can be achieved is to simply try and get a balanced diet, eating a good amount of each of the main food groups, with lots of health fruits and vegetables. However, since B vitamins deficiencies are common, many people can benefit from supplements of this nutrient.
A simple, easy way to get the B vitamins you need is with shoEnergy+. A vegan supplement with essential B vitamins plus Matcha, shoEnergy+ boosts daily energy, improves focus without making you crash or feel jittery, and improves vitamin B levels for better health.