B vitamins are the collective term given to a number of water soluble vitamins which often work together in the body. They are naturally found in many of the same foods and often supplemented together as a “B complex.” B vitamins work as coenzymes (activate enzymes for metabolic processes), help us to obtain energy from our foods, and help to make new cells, neurotransmitters and hormones. These important little vitamins work in various sites of the body, including our brain, muscles, bones and digestive tract.
So why do we need B vitamins?
Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) have key roles in energy metabolism. They are coenzymes of key pathways of energy production in the body, for example thiamin which is involved more specifically in the production of energy via carbohydrate metabolism. Our metabolism is also dependent on vitamin B12.
Build new cells
Folate and B12 are required for the synthesis of new DNA and RNA (the genetic material of our cells). New DNA is required every time new cells are synthesised, such as new blood cells or to repair damaged cells.
Essential component of nerve cells
Folate and B12 are also required for the synthesis of the myelin sheath (a protective coating around nerves). Vitamin B12 is the most essential component for this, which is why deficiencies in B12 are important to avoid. B12 deficiency may cause a condition known as pernicious anemia and result in permanent nerve damage. B12 is predominantly found in animal products including meat, dairy and eggs. Vegans or vegetarians may need to keep an eye on their B12 levels, and potentially supplement this key nutrient.
Important nutrients for pregnancy
Folate is required in higher amounts during preconception and the first trimester of pregnancy. It’s an important nutrient to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Vitamin B6 can also be useful in preventing pregnancy-related nausea. In order to get the correct dosage and optimal forms of the nutrients (and avoiding others which are non-favourable and potentially dangerous) it’s best to seek guidance from a qualified health professional during preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our team is well trained and we also have practitioners on site who are able to consult with you and provide you with the highest quality of practitioner-only products which are not otherwise available.
Neurotransmitter and hormone production
Vitamin B6 plays a key role in amino acid metabolism (amino acids are the building blocks of protein). As a consequence of this, B6 is required for the production of many neurotransmitters and hormones which are derived from amino acids. These include GABA, serotonin, dopamine and our sleep hormone, melatonin. Vitamin B6 is therefore an important nutrient for stress.
For more information about B vitamins, get in touch with one of our team or browse our selection on the web.
Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for educational purposes only. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat any health concerns you may have. This information is not intended to replace the advice given to you by a qualified health professional. Get in contact with a Tonic Health consultant or a relevant health professional if you need guidance on your individual health journey.