The B Vitamin Family
(updated from Jan. 2013)
The B-vitamin family consists of a wide range of specialized members that are necessary and vital for the healthy functioning of nearly all of the body’s processes. Without B vitamins, it would be impossible to maintain life. For this reason, B vitamins are considered essential nutrients, and are perhaps the most well-known of all the vitamin supplements.
The actions of the B vitamins involve everything from energy production, oxygenation of tissues, digestive processes and nervous system function, to hormone balance. B vitamins provide the greatest benefit when taken together, thus the importance of a “B Complex” supplement.
The most well-known “B” vitamins:
The “B-complex family” consists of the particular B vitamins that work best in conjunction with the other family members. Included in this family of vitamins are:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 or H (biotin)
- Vitamin B8 (inositol)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B10 (PABA)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
When looking for a B complex supplement you will see that there are a few potencies: B-50, B-100, or B-150.
B-100 consists of 100 mg of each of the B Complex Vitamins, except folic acid (Vitamin B-9) which has a higher content due to the ratio needed to compliment the other B vitamins. The same can be said for B-50 (50 mg each) and B-150 (150 mg each).
Often, extra amounts of certain B vitamins are necessary and should be taken separately and in conjunction with a B Complex.
The less well-known “B” vitamins:
Vitamin B15 (pangamic acid) and Vitamin B17 (laetrile or amygdalin) have been subjected to extreme controversy despite the inherent healing qualities they possess. Just as with other B Vitamins, Vitamin B15 and Vitamin B17 are found in foods we eat. Vitamin B17, for example, is found in strawberries and apricot seeds, while Vitamin B15 is found in brown rice, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
In fact, it has been reported that cancer may be caused by Vitamins B17 and/or B15 deficiencies, much like Vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency causes beriberi, Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency causes pellagra, Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets and Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy.
“B” vitamins you may not be familiar with:
Vitamins B8 (inositol) and Vitamin B4 (choline, also known as adenine and carnitine) are slowly making their way into the mainstream. These vitamins work best together. Both inositol and choline appear to play an important role in the health of cell membranes, especially the specialized cells in the brain.
Research has indicated that there is a connection between inositol deficiency and depression. Choline has been associated with improved mental performance in Alzheimer’s patients. And this only skims the surface.
Seeing that the B vitamins are involved in so many of our bodily functions, it becomes clear that the lack of these precious vitamins can result in countless health conditions and diseases.