Vitamins are essential ingredients that our bodies need to grow and develop normally. There are 13 vitamins that the human body needs. They are:
- Vitamin A;
- B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate);
- Vitamin C;
- Vitamin D;
- Vitamin E;
- Vitamin K.
While you can usually get most of the vitamins from the foods you eat, if you don’t eat a varied foods diet or practice a predominantly vegetarian diet, you may need to take vitamin B supplements.
Vitamin B complex comprises of eight essential nutrients which are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). Each of these vitamins contributes to our overall body function. These compounds are soluble in water which means that our body cannot store them. This is why a healthy intake of vitamin B is necessary for us to remain healthy. However there is no single natural food that contains all of the 8 vitamins so eating a varied, healthy diet is very important.
Although each vitamin play individual roles they also work together to complete some very important actions in the body.
One of the functions that the vitamin B family support is our body’s metabolism. They work in synergy to support high-yielding and healthy metabolism. They help by ensuring that our body efficiently absorbs, digests and makes use of the macronutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates required to provide our cells with the energy required to maintain our daily activities. These are important nutrients that contribute in the reduction of tiredness and fatigue as well.
While this group of vitamins contribute collectively in ensuring our bodies have a healthy metabolism, they each have important individual roles to play as well.
Riboflavin – This vitamin is found in high amounts in the cardiac and muscle cells and plays an important role in keeping these organs energized. This vitamin is needed for development and growth of vital organs and health. Riboflavin is one of the eight B-Complex vitamins which helps to breakdown larger particles into smaller like breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into smaller to generate energy to the entire body. In which food items we can find this Riboflavin vitamins: Majorly in Green leafy vegetables, Eggs, Meat, Milk, Dry nuts, sprouts. Intake of diet rich riboflavin maintains the eye points.
Thiamine – This vitamin also termed as Vitamin B1 or Over the Count (OTC) or water soluble B vitamin which plays an essential role metabolizing sugary carbohydrates into glucose and therefore energy. Having sufficient amounts of Thiamine is of paramount importance as our brains, muscles (especially during high intensity exercise) and our central nervous system use glucose for fuel. Where we can find Thiamine or Vitamin B1: Foods like grains, nuts and meat.
Pyridoxine – Glycogen is the name given to stored glucose and vitamin B6 is essential for storing and breaking down glycogen. This is stored in muscle cells and the liver. Which is normally prevents vitamin B6 deficiency and used as dietary supplement and normally intake by mouth or injection. Uses of Pyridoxine: Proper intake of B6 foods increases in red blood cells, normal functioning of nerves.
Niacin – This vitamin is also termed as Vitamin b3 and is involved in more than 200 biochemical reactions which help the body in metabolizing macronutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the energy required by almost every cell in the human body.
Pantothenic Acid – Other than playing a vital role in the production of energy, vitamin B5 is required for the synthesis and metabolism of our steroid hormones and vitamin D, this helps maintain the equilibrium between our hormones.
Biotin – Vitamin B7 plays a crucial role in the creation of fatty acids also known as lipogenesis, this helps maintain the healthy cells in our skin and hair.
Folate and B12 though do not play important roles in metabolism but have a role in providing our bodies with energy.
These vitamins are also very crucial in maintaining the normal functioning of the heart. While Thiamine has been shown to improve the left ventricle function, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folate and cobalamin work together with important nutrients to form red blood cells. These cells contain haemoglobin which binds oxygen and helps deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. Some of these vitamins are required for the regulation of blood homocysteine levels. These amino acids when found in normal levels are healthy but elevated levels due to alcoholism or other genetic conditions can lead to the hardening of the arteries.
Vitamin B complex is required for our nervous system to function normally. Vitamins B1, B2 and B3 play an important role in the formation of nerve cells in the brain and thus cognitive ability. Vitamins B5, 6 and 7 have a range of roles with regard to biochemistry and neurotransmission. From melatonin that regulates our sleep to serotonin that influences our mood and appetite, these vitamins help balance all these.
Glucosamine is found in the body naturally, but is also available in the form of supplements. Glucosamine keeps the cartilage healthy. Cartilage cushions the bones and joints, but as we get older the levels of Glucosamine reduce leading to a breakdown of our joints. There is evidence to suggest that supplements can counteract this effect but it is not conclusive.