B Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B is actually a family of water-soluble vitamins that’s important for the health of many organs and body systems. B vitamins serve as coenzymes, which are biochemical cofactors that are necessary for a wide range of chemical reactions in the body.
The “coenzyme” form of a B vitamin refers to its biologically active form in the human body. B vitamins are especially important for nervous system and neurological health, but their roles as coenzymes make them critical for normal cellular function.*
- Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin) – Thiamin plays a central role in the generation of energy from carbohydrates. It’s involved in RNA and DNA production, as well as healthy nervous system function. It’s also involved in the production of hydrochloric acid, an important aspect of healthy digestion
- Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) – Riboflavin is important for circulatory and immune health and is especially important for developing fetuses during pregnancy. It’s involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Vitamin B-3 (Niacin) – Also known as niacinamide and nicotinic acid, niacin plays a role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and is involved in the production of hydrochloric acid. The nicotinic acid form helps to support healthy circulation and also helps to maintain cholesterol levels already within the healthy range
- Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid) – Vitamin B-5 is extremely important for healthy cognitive function due to its role in the production of neurotransmitters. Like other B vitamins, it’s involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates for energy. Most importantly, pantothenic acid is required for the synthesis of coenzyme A, which is necessary for numerous body functions
- Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine) – Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B-6 is involved in cardiovascular and immune system health and helps to balance sodium and potassium levels. Pyrodoxine also plays a role in the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine
- Vitamin B-7 (Biotin) – Vitamin B-7 is necessary for normal growth and body function. It’s a key regulatory element in gluconeogenesis (the generation of glucose from carbon sources), fatty acid synthesis, and in the metabolism of some amino acids. Alongside its role in energy production, biotin enhances the synthesis of certain proteins and promotes normal immunity. Biotin is probably best known for its role in skin health and, to a lesser extent, for hair and nail health.*
- Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) – B-12 is vitally important for the growth and health of the nervous system, as well as for cellular growth and longevity. It’s involved in digestion and the absorption of foods, and its role in the metabolism of homocysteine makes it important for cardiovascular function. Like other B vitamins, it’s also involved in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates
Other B vitamins and B vitamin-like nutrients with important physiological roles include folate, choline, inositol and para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA, a common ingredient in many commercial skin care products.
Also known as ascorbate and ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that’s absolutely essential for our survival. A well-known antioxidant nutrient, vitamin C supports the immune system and is involved in tissue growth and repair due to its role in the formation of collagen, the body’s main structural protein.*
Vitamin C is an electron donor, which is important for the synthesis of enzymes, and it’s a cofactor in the production of numerous essential biochemicals. Vitamin C is also involved in the synthesis of the amino acid carnitine, as well as various neurotransmitters.*
There are various forms of vitamin C available, so you may be wondering what the best form of vitamin C is, or whether or not it even makes a difference. Because vitamin C is acidic you’ll often find vitamin C supplements that include mineral ascorbates, which are mineral salts of ascorbic acid that are buffered and therefore, less acidic.
There are also a number of natural substances that support and even enhance the absorption, bioavailability and benefits of vitamin C, including rutin, rose hips, and other natural sources of bioflavonoids.
The ABCs of vitamins
You may be wondering why vitamins are so important:
- Vitamin A – Like all vitamins, Vitamin A is important for a myriad of bodily functions including normal visual function, immune system health, healthy bones and teeth, and healthy skin. Our bodies also need Vitamin A to utilize protein, and this vitamin is also an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage.*
- Vitamin B – B vitamins serve as coenzymes, which are biochemical cofactors or participants in a wide range of chemical reactions in the body. B vitamins in supplemental form are converted to the biologically active coenzyme form in the body. As a whole, B vitamins are extremely important for nervous system and neurological health.*
- Vitamin C – A well-known antioxidant nutrient, Vitamin C supports the immune system and is involved in tissue growth and repair due to its role in the formation of collagen, your body’s main structural protein. It’s an electron donor for the creation of important enzymes and is a cofactor in the production of numerous essential biochemicals.*
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D enhances the intestinal absorption of the dietary minerals calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and therefore plays an important role in skeletal health.* Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with low bone mineral density. This well-known vitamin also supports healthy immune system function, and more recent research suggests Vitamin D may play a role in normal cardiovascular function as well.*
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that prevents the spread of free radical damage that arises when fat in our bodies is oxidized. This important nutrient is also involved in a wide range of metabolic processes such as cell signaling and gene expression, and plays a role in platelet aggregation, immune system function and neurological function.*
- Vitamin K – Not as well-known as its other vitamin brethren, Vitamin K is nonetheless very important for several body functions. It’s necessary for proper coagulation, a critical component of cardiovascular function.* Research has shown that Vitamin K plays a role in the proper disbursement of calcium throughout the body, which in turn supports bone health.* In fact, Vitamin K-2 has been shown to play a pivotal role in vascular elasticity.*
- Multivitamins – As you’ve read, all vitamins are important for our health in some way. But popping tons of pills a day just isn’t feasible or desirable for many of us. This is why multivitamins are a valuable part of many individuals’ health regimen today. With a high quality, comprehensive multivitamin formula you can get the nutrients you need at the dosages recommended by the experts.*
We obtain minerals primarily through our diet. Plants and other vegetation obtain them primarily from soil. Animals, including humans, obtain them through the ingestion of plants and other animals.
What you may not realize is the mineral content of soil can vary significantly from region to region, and these variations affect the nutrient content of both plants and animals. Modern food processing methods can further limit and even destroy these vital nutrients, so by the time your fresh produce or meat reaches your table it may not be nearly as nutritious as you might think.
Should we be getting our mineral nutrients from our food? Yes. Is a healthy, well-balanced diet sufficient to do so? These days, probably not, unless you’re eating raw, whole foods grown in pristine regions of the world where pollution and chemicals have yet to arrive. If you’re eating grocery store foods and the occasional fast food then you’re most likely not getting what you need.
Even if you’re eating healthy, you still may not be getting enough of the mineral nutrients you need.
This is why mineral supplements are an important part of a health regimen that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Vitamins are essential
When it comes to vitamins we often forget one simple truth. They’re absolutely essential for our survival. These vital organic compounds are required in small amounts by all living organisms, including humans.
Unlike certain other types of nutrients, vitamins cannot be synthesized by our bodies, so we must obtain them from our diet, either from the foods we eat or through supplementation.
Why should I take vitamin supplements?
A healthy, balanced diet is the ideal way to obtain the vitamins we need in sufficient quantities to support good health. However, this assumes your diet is comprised of nutritious whole foods grown in well-balanced soil. While the majority of us aspire to eat healthy, today’s highly processed and refined foods just don’t provide adequate levels of the vitamins and other nutrients we need on a daily basis.
This is why every day more and more people are incorporating vitamin and multivitamin supplements into their health regimen. While your diet should always be your primary source of nutrition, vitamin supplements and multivitamins can help bridge the gaps in your diet to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need for optimal health.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.