Vitamin B deficiency is a relatively common problem, affecting millions worldwide. It leads to various diseases and disorders, including anaemia, nerve damage, and cognitive decline. 

However, what exactly is vitamin B, and what role does it play in the functioning of the body? Read on to learn why this nutrient is crucial for your health and well-being. 

What is Vitamin B?

Vitamin B is a group of eight water-soluble vitamins that ensure the proper functioning of cells in the body by helping them convert food into energy in a process called metabolism. 

The eight vitamins in the B group are as follows:

  • thiamin (B1)
  • riboflavin (B2)
  • niacin (B3)
  • pantothenic acid (B5)
  • pyridoxine (B6)
  • biotin (B7)
  • folate or ‘folic acid’ when included in supplements (B9)
  • cyanocobalamin (B12).

Together, they are called the vitamin B complex. Your body can’t store most of these vitamins. You must consume them regularly in recommended amounts through a balanced diet and/or dietary supplements to avoid severe deficiencies. 

The vitamin B complex directly impacts many of the body’s processes, mainly nutrient absorption, nerve health, and muscle function. It also helps create new blood cells, maintain hair and skin, keep the heart healthy, prevent infections, and support neurological function. 

Impact of Vitamin B on the Body

Nutrient Absorption 

Vitamin B, particularly B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin), helps various enzymes release energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They also help break down amino acids and transport oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body. Without enough vitamin B, you may feel run-down and fatigued. 

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for the proper absorption of iron, and a deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells. 

Nerve Health

The B vitamins, especially thiamine (B1), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12), are key players in maintaining neuronal viability. 

Thiamine plays an important role in the nerve regeneration process. More precisely, it helps break down carbohydrates for energy production in nerve cells and keeps them away from oxidative stress, resulting in normalized pain sensations. A deficiency in vitamin B1 can lead to neurological disorders such as Beriberi.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) contributes to the production of neurotransmitters - the chemicals responsible for transmitting signals in the brain. A deficiency in vitamin B6 can result in neurological symptoms like confusion, depression, and seizures.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) also helps maintain the protective covering of nerve cells called the myelin sheath. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to nerve damage, including numbness and tingling in the hands and feet and difficulty walking.

Also, vitamin B9 (folate) is integral to the proper development of the nervous system. A deficiency in this vitamin may result in neural tube defects in infants and cognitive decline in adults.

Muscle Function

Vitamin B12 helps metabolize protein and fats - the two primary macronutrients crucial for building muscles. Hence, the right amount of this vitamin helps people reach their fitness goals. The more intense your workouts are, the more vitamin B you need. 

Particularly, Riboflavin helps convert carbohydrates into energy-storing compounds called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in muscles. 

Niacin, another important B vitamin, is known for boosting muscle vascularity and testosterone production. It doesn’t only contribute to muscle growth but also helps with muscle repair and recovery. 

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is also important for the proper functioning of muscles, including the heart. Since it plays a key role in forming neurotransmitters and metabolizing amino acids, a deficiency in B6 can cause muscle weakness, muscle cramps, and anemia.

Are Vitamin B Supplements Beneficial?

Your body needs only small amounts of B vitamins for optimal functioning. Under normal circumstances, these needs can usually be met through a balanced diet. However, the recommended daily intake of B vitamins can vary depending on age, gender, and other factors. 

You are likely to develop a vitamin B deficiency only if you don’t consume a diet rich in those vitamins or if your body cannot absorb them effectively. 

Particularly, a vitamin B supplement may be beneficial in the following cases:

Vegan or Vegetarian Diets

High concentrations of vitamin B are mainly found in animal products, like milk, cheese, eggs, fish, poultry, and beef. So, people following a plant-based diet are at a higher risk of vitamin B deficiency. A Vitamin B supplement may help them fulfill their daily recommended intake. 

Prolonged Statin Use

Prolonged usage of statins and other medications can make it hard for your body to absorb vitamin B, causing neurological and muscular weakness as side effects. This can be addressed through the use of a vitamin B supplement.  

Old Age

Aging can make it difficult for people to absorb vitamin B12 from food sources due to reduced stomach acidity. This is because stomach acid is important for separating this vitamin from the protein in meat and other food sources. 

Vitamin B12 supplement form, also called cyanocobalamin, does not require stomach acid for absorption. Hence, older adults with low stomach acid levels can still get their necessary vitamin B12 intake through supplements.

Over Use of Vitamin B

Some supplements may contain high levels of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. They may exceed the daily recommended intake of vitamins for your body, causing multiple health problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings and taken action against such products. 

Conclusively, it is important to ensure that the supplement you use contains a balanced amount of the vitamins you need. Vitamin B Complex Gummies by the Good Vitamin Company is a balanced blend of Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B7 that support cell health, energy levels, brain function, and overall wellness. These gummies contain Vitamin C for your immune support.