B Vitamins — The Benefits of the “B Team”

Do you sometimes feel like you’re running on empty? Perhaps you’re not handling stress as well as you normally do? Or you experience occasional brain fog? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you may not be getting enough B vitamins in your diet.

You can think of the B vitamins as a team of super-athletes working together in your body to help keep you energized and healthy. Also called the B-complex vitamins, these nutritional superstars are involved in hundreds of cellular processes.

Although they are found in a diverse array of foods, they’re water-soluble, which means that they’re not stored in the body and, when consumed in excess, are excreted in the urine. That’s why it’s critical to consume plenty B vitamins every day in your food or in supplement form.

Team Players

Each of the B vitamins plays an essential role in good health. But like in every team sport, each individual’s success depend on the support of their other teammates. They don’t fly solo; rather they join forces, interact, and help each other get absorbed and utilized.

One of the dynamic duos on the B team is vitamins B12 and folate (B9). They work together to support DNA synthesis and cell replication. They also collaborate to keep your heart healthy by maintaining the optimal metabolism of homocysteine. Another important aspect of their relationship is that folate depends on B12 to be absorbed and utilized.

An interesting fact about this vitamin pair is that they come from very different food sources – B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods like meat, eggs, and milk, while sources of folate are mostly plant-based such as leafy greens and legumes. For this reason, vegetarians or vegans might not get enough B12 in their diet, which can affect the adequate absorption of folate. That’s why taking a high-quality, vegan B-complex supplement is an excellent way to help meet your needs for both.

Each player on the B team has its own role to play, but many share similar functions such as helping to break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in our food into energy. Several B vitamins facilitate the formation of red blood cells, while others are needed for the production of DNA and to uphold a healthy nervous system. Here is a list of each of the B-complex vitamins and what they do in our bodies.

Types of B Vitamins


Thiamin (B1)

Thiamin is vital for maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. It plays an important part in the metabolism of carbohydrates into energy and also supports healthy immune, digestive, and heart function.

Good sources of thiamin include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Egg yolks
  • Legumes
  • Seeds & nuts

Thiamin deficiency can occur in people who have a poor diet or are heavy drinkers of alcohol since alcohol interferes with the absorption of the vitamin. Insufficient thiamin is associated with disruptions to normal balance, mobility, and sensation.

Riboflavin (B2)

Riboflavin is important for maintaining the health of our skin and mucous membranes (like the lining of our gut). It’s a key nutrient for keeping the cornea of our eyes healthy, promotes antioxidant recycling in our bodies, and supports a healthy immune system. It also acts as a coenzyme to assist in the breakdown fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy.

Foods that contain riboflavin are:

  • Dairy products
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Wild rice

People who do not consume milk products may be more prone to a lack of riboflavin. Insufficient riboflavin can lead to various skin problems and imbalances in the tissues of the nose and mouth.

Niacin (B3)

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is required by over 200 enzymes to perform their tasks and is the most important B vitamin for energy production from the foods we eat. Niacin is critical for keeping our nervous and digestive systems humming, supports healthy blood composition, and helps maintain the health of our skin.

All protein-containing foods are rich in niacin, including:

  • Meat & fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Mushrooms

A diet lacking in niacin, more typical among malnourished people and those struggling with alcohol abuse, can have negative impacts on the brain, gut, and skin.

High doses of niacin are commonly prescribed to support healthy lipid levels, but large amounts are associated with skin flushing and other unfavorable symptoms.

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

Pantothenic acid is particularly important for supporting healthy endocrine function and overall growth. Like other B vitamins, it has an important role in transforming carbohydrates and fats into useable energy and promoting healthy red blood cell production. It helps enhance stamina and supports a healthy mood by facilitating the production of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

This B vitamin can be found in nearly every food group, which is where it gets its name. Pantothenic comes from the Greek word pantothen, which means “from everywhere.”

Rich sources of pantothenic acid include:

  • Meat
  • Egg yolk
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage family vegetables like broccoli & kale
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Legumes

Since such a wide variety of foods contain pantothenic acid, most people consume adequate amounts.

Pyridoxine (B6)

Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, assists more than 100 enzymes to perform a wide variety of functions. Essential for a healthy brain and nervous system, pyridoxine supports healthy mood and sleep patterns by helping the body produce serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine. It also supports the production of red blood cells, supports healthy immune function, and the breakdown of homocysteine.

The following foods are good sources of pyridoxine:

  • Meat, fish & shellfish
  • Legumes like chickpeas
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fruit like bananas, papayas & oranges
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Brown rice

Pyridoxine is abundant in many foods, so most meet their needs in their diets. But insufficient absorption of B6 can be a secondary effect of various health conditions, resulting in neurological symptoms and sleep disruptions.

Biotin (B7)

Biotin is known as “the beauty vitamin” since it assists in the synthesis of important fatty acids for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It’s also a coenzyme for the conversion of sugars and fats into energy.

Foods rich in biotin include:

  • Meat
  • Cooked eggs
  • Avocados
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Nuts & seeds

A diet lacking in biotin can result in poor skin, hair, and nail health. About a third of pregnant women experience may have lower levels of biotin. People who frequently eat raw eggs in recipes for mayonnaise, Caesar dressing, eggnog, or other forms can also fail to absorb biotin. That’s because a protein in egg whites called avidin can bind to biotin and prevent its absorption. Cooked eggs are not a problem since the avidin gets broken down when heated.

Folate or Folic Acid (B9)

Folate is best known for being essential for supporting the healthy development of the fetal nervous system, and therefore is an important vitamin to supplement during pregnancy. Some of its other functions are facilitating the formation of red blood cells and promoting healthy circulation, supporting healthy cellular repair of the skin and digestive tract, working together with B12 for DNA synthesis, and upholding healthy immune function through the formation of white blood cells.

This B vitamin has various forms and corresponding names — here are a few of them so you can more easily identify this essential vitamin. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of the vitamin found in many dietary supplements and in fortified foods. Other forms of the vitamin are L-5-MTHF and folinic acid, active forms that are similar to those found in our body.

Good sources of vitamin B9 are:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanuts

Some otherwise healthy individuals can carry a gene variant that affects the normal function of the MTHFR enzyme, which converts folic acid to its biologically active form. Undetected, impaired folate metabolism can impair energy, brain function, and skin integrity.

Cobalamin (B12)

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient heavyweight that is critically important for maintaining our overall health. It helps produce and maintain the myelin sheaths that surround our nerve cells, and plays a vital role in the development of red blood cells. B12 also upholds healthy mood and memory, especially as we get older. In addition, protein, carbohydrates and fats all rely on vitamin B12 for proper cycling throughout the body. Like vitamin B6 and folate, vitamin B12 is essential for optimal heart and vessel health through its ability to break down homocysteine.

Most animal-based foods are rich in vitamin B12 like:

  • Meat
  • Fish & shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

Inadequate levels of B12 are associated with increasing age, as the digestive system becomes less efficient at metabolizing and absorbing the vitamin. In fact, some research suggests that up to 30 percent of people over age 50 have lost the ability to absorb adequate vitamin B12 from their food. Vegetarians and vegans are also at risk of having low B12 levels, since this vitamin is exclusively found in animal derived foods.

Getting Enough B Vitamins

Clearly, the B team of vitamins are essential for supporting an astonishing variety of life functions. And while eating a well-balanced diet is key to ensuring we get enough of these nutrients, a significant number of people may not be meeting their needs through diet alone.

Some reasons for this include a high consumption of processed foods, declining levels of nutrients in our soils, and many common health conditions that influence nutrient absorption, among other things. Plus, factors like age, pregnancy, activity level, genetics, and prescription medications can influence our individual B vitamin needs.

That’s when a supplement of the B team can give our body a boost. Super B-Complex™ is a food-form source of all eight B vitamins plus the three important cofactors choline, inositol, and PABA. Each vitamin in the formula is made through a fermentation process using organic vegetables and fruits, then activated with enzymes and probiotics for enhanced bioavailability. Super B-Complex is gentle and can be taken on an empty stomach, and by taking B supplements in food-form, you get your daily nutrition just as nature intended for optimal benefit.

3 Years ago