B vitamins have quite the reputation, and for good reason: they help with energy production, support the nervous system, and can even play a role in stress management. Let’s take a deeper dive into B vitamins, the role they play in overall health, and why you need them as part of your health routine.
What makes a B complex, complex?
The only thing complex about a B complex is remembering all of the 8 types of B vitamins that go into it:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
- Vitamin B5 (Calcium d-Pantothenate)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
- Folate (Folic Acid)
- Choline (Bitartrate)
In general, all B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning the body absorbs what it needs and pees out the rest. Also, B vitamins are considered essential because our body can’t make them and must get them through food or supplementation.
Here are other health benefits of B vitamins, aside from energy production:
B vitamins Help Support the Nervous System
Namely vitamins B1, B6 and B12, have neuro-specific functions. B1 helps utilize glucose for energy in the brain which, in turn, increases neurotransmitters.1 B6 helps neurons communicate effectively and B12 plays an important role in nerve function.1
They Help Support Mood
B vitamins can help promote a positive mood as well as curb feelings of anxiety. One study found those who took a high-dose B-complex supplement had reduced stress levels, and improved mental health and cognitive performance.2
It’s energizing, but how?
“The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell” – you may remember this from your grade 10 biology class. And this is where B vitamins play a major role in energy production.3 All B vitamins, except folic acid, are involved in the intricate chemical reactions that take place to make energy for the cell. The food we eat – carbs, fat, and protein – all get broken down, absorbed, and transported to cells and their mitochondria. From there, with the help of B vitamins, these nutrients are broken down further, helping with metabolism and using food as energy.
Who needs a B complex?
- Those looking to increase energy levels.
- People who are vegetarian, vegan, or don’t consume that much animal protein – the most potent source of B vitamins.
- People who are pregnant, especially for folate, as it’s required for proper fetal development. People who are nursing should also consider taking a B complex for overall higher demands.
- Older adults, as stomach acid – vital for B12 absorption – declines by 10-30%.4
- Those taking certain medications like proton pump inhibitors,5 metformin,6 and birth control pills7 as they can interfere with the absorption of B vitamins.
Get an energizing boost to your day with Jamieson B Complex. This delicious berry-flavoured chewable tablet delivers your essential daily B vitamins to help boost your energy, maintain healthy nerves, ease stress, and maintain heart health.
- Calderón-Ospina, C. A., & Nava-Mesa, M. O. (2020). B Vitamins in the nervous system: Current knowledge of the biochemical modes of action and synergies of thiamine, pyridoxine, and cobalamin. CNS neuroscience & therapeutics, 26(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/cns.13207
- Kennedy, D. O., Veasey, R., Watson, A., Dodd, F., Jones, E., Maggini, S., & Haskell, C. F. (2010). Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. Psychopharmacology, 211(1), 55–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-1870-3
- Tardy, A. L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., & Scholey, A. (2020). Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients, 12(1), 228. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010228
- Stover P. J. (2010). Vitamin B12 and older adults. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 13(1), 24–27. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0b013e328333d157
- Heidelbaugh J. J. (2013). Proton pump inhibitors and risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency: evidence and clinical implications. Therapeutic advances in drug safety, 4(3), 125–133. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042098613482484
- Reinstatler, L., Qi, Y. P., Williamson, R. S., Garn, J. V., & Oakley, G. P., Jr (2012). Association of biochemical B₁₂ deficiency with metformin therapy and vitamin B₁₂ supplements: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2006. Diabetes care, 35(2), 327–333. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc11-1582
- Wilson, S. M., Bivins, B. N., Russell, K. A., & Bailey, L. B. (2011). Oral contraceptive use: impact on folate, vitamin B₆, and vitamin B₁₂ status. Nutrition reviews, 69(10), 572–583. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00419.x