Did you know that there are eight B vitamins, all of them with their own unique name and function? They’re all also essential, meaning your body needs them in order to function properly.
Below, I’m going to share with you the eight B vitamins, as well as their function, and how they can help you!
B vitamins are water-soluble and largely absorbed in the intestinal tract. Any excess is simply passed through the body, so no negative side-effects come from consuming large amounts. This also means that these vitamins must be consumed regularly, as the body does not store them.
Now, let’s take a look at what these vitamins do:
Vitamin B1, or thiamine, was the first B vitamin to be discovered, hence the name. Its primary function is to help the body turn food into energy. The body uses it to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that transports energy within the cells.
If you do not have enough vitamin B1 this process cannot work properly. You may have symptoms such as tiredness, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.
If you’ve ever consumed foods with riboflavin, or taken it as a supplement, you might have noticed that your pee is especially yellow. This is due to vitamin B2 and its natural yellow color. But besides yellowing your pee, vitamin B2 plays a role in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to produce energy.
Riboflavin deficiency can cause skin disorders, sores at the corners of your mouth, swollen and cracked lips, hair loss, sore throat, liver disorders, and problems with your reproductive and nervous systems. So make sure you’re getting your vitamin B2!
Vitamin B3 boasts many health benefits while also helping the body convert food into energy. It is a major component of the coenzymes involved in cellular metabolism. Additionally, niacin acts as an antioxidant and contributes to making and repairing DNA.
A severe niacin deficiency leads to pellagra, a condition that causes a dark, sometimes scaly rash to develop on skin areas exposed to sunlight; bright redness of the tongue; and constipation/diarrhea. Other signs of severe niacin deficiency include depression, headache, fatigue, memory loss, and even hallucinations.
Like all B vitamins, B5 contributes to metabolism, turning the food you eat into energy. On top of that, pantothenic acid helps create red blood cells, sex hormones, and stress hormones.
Though pantothenic acid deficiency is rare in the United States, it can happen. Severe deficiency can cause numbness and burning of the hands and feet, headache, extreme tiredness, irritability, restlessness, sleeping problems, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Along with its function of metabolizing protein and glucose, vitamin B6 is involved in keeping the lymph nodes, thymus, and spleen healthy. It helps create hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells. Pyridoxine is also thought to support brain health.
Vitamin B6 deficiency may cause seizures, mental status changes, anemia, itchy skin, dry lips, swollen tongue, and depression.
Also known as vitamin H, biotin stimulates keratin production in hair and can increase the rate of follicle growth. The word “biotin” comes from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.” Biotin helps keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth.
Symptoms of low biotin include hair loss, dry scaly skin, cracking in the corners of the mouth, swollen and painful tongue that is magenta in color, dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, and depression.
Folate is another contributor to the creation and maintenance of DNA and other genetic material. It also helps in the process of cell division – a necessary part of the cell cycle.
Common symptoms of folate deficiency can include fatigue, lethargy, and muscle weakness. There may also be neurological signs, such as a feeling of pins and needles, tingling, burning, or peripheral neuropathy, i.e. a numbness in the extremities.
Cobalamin is a complex vitamin that has been heavily researched and is notable for an array of health benefits. The vitamin is crucial for human health, with prolonged deficiency having potentially permanent consequences. It plays an important role in brain function and the nervous system. It is also critical in the formation of red blood cells, along with regulating and creating DNA.
Not getting enough vitamin B12 to the point of a deficiency can cause a variety of serious symptoms including brain fog, depression, joint pain, and fatigue.
You also now know just how important these seemingly boring nutrients are for your health. When you’re too low on them, you can run into many health issues. Sure, vitamin C and other nutrients may take the limelight, but the B vitamins are just as important!
I knew that for biotin, which is why I made Complete Biotin Plus. I had found myself to be WAY too low in biotin, which had been causing me all sorts of issues, such as poor hair growth, dry skin, and constant fatigue.
Thankfully, after taking Complete Biotin Plus, I feel MUCH better.
You can too if you think you may be low!