B-Vitamins, and Why They're Important


B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that are considered “essential,” meaning we must get them from our diets because our bodies cannot make them on their own.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, few adults currently gets the recommended daily intake of B vitamins from their diets alone.  B vitamins are most valued for their ability to help turn other nutrients into energy, maintain a healthy metabolism, and for supporting nerve function, liver function, skin health, eye and brain health.  In this article, we will dive into all eight forms of B Vitamins, their function and benefits, plus explore some of the ways you can get more B vitamins through your diet and supplementation.  


B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine helps your body make healthy new cells and is required for carbohydrate metabolism, normal functioning of the nervous system, and immune system support. Thiamine is important for your brain, as it helps maintain cognitive function, memory, and mood. Thiamine is found in foods such as pork, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fortified cereals.


B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin works as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging. Riboflavin also helps convert food into energy and is involved in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain and other organs. Riboflavin is important for your brain, as it helps protect neurons from oxidative stress, enhances cognitive performance, and supports mood regulation. Riboflavin is found in foods such as organ meats, beef, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms, spinach, almonds, and fortified cereals. 


B3 (Niacin)

Niacin plays a role in cellular signaling, metabolism, DNA production and repair, and the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. Niacin also helps support healthy cholesterol levels in the blood. Niacin is important for your brain, as it helps improve blood flow to the brain, enhance cognitive function, and promote mental well-being. Niacin is found in foods such as chicken, tuna, beef, liver, peanuts, mushrooms, green peas, and fortified cereals. Niacin supplements are also available in various forms, but they should be taken with caution, as they can cause side effects such as flushing, itching, headache, and liver damage if taken in high doses or without medical supervision.


B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid helps your body obtain energy from food and is also involved in hormone and cholesterol production. Pantothenic acid is essential for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in learning, memory, and muscle movement. Pantothenic acid is important for your brain, as it helps boost mental energy, improve focus, and reduce stress. Pantothenic acid is found in foods such as liver, fish, yogurt, avocado, eggs, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.


B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is involved in amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production, and the creation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA. Pyridoxine also helps regulate homocysteine levels in the blood, which may affect cardiovascular health. Pyridoxine is important for your brain, as it helps support memory, learning, attention, mood, and sleep. Pyridoxine is found in foods such as chickpeas, salmon, tuna, chicken, potatoes, bananas, and fortified cereals.


B7 (Biotin)

Biotin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism and regulates gene expression. Biotin is also important for the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is important for your brain, as it helps maintain nerve function, cognitive performance, and mental clarity. Biotin is found in foods such as yeast, eggs, salmon, cheese, liver, nuts, seeds, and sweet potatoes. 

B9 (Folate)

Folate is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells, and proper cell division. Folate is especially important for pregnant women or those who plan to become pregnant soon, as it helps prevent neural tube defects in the developing unborn infant. Folate is important for your brain, as it helps support cognitive function, memory, mood, and mental health. Folate is found in foods such as leafy greens, liver, beans, lentils, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, and fortified cereals. Folate supplements are also available in various forms, such as tablets or capsules. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is often added to foods or supplements.


B12 (Cobalamin)

Cobalamin is vital for neurological function, DNA production, and red blood cell development. Cobalamin also works with folate to regulate homocysteine levels in the blood. Cobalamin is important for your brain, as it helps maintain nerve function, cognitive function, memory, and mental health. Cobalamin is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals.


According to some studies, the prevalence of Vitamin B12 deficiency ranges from 1.5% to 40% of the general population. One of the challenges of detecting and preventing Vitamin B12 deficiency is that its symptoms are often nonspecific and can be easily overlooked or attributed to other causes. Some of the common signs of low Vitamin B12 levels include weakness, tiredness, poor concentration, mood changes, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and difficulty walking or balancing. These symptoms can vary in severity and duration, and may not appear until the deficiency is severe or prolonged.


B vitamins are essential for brain health and function, as they help provide energy, produce neurotransmitters, protect neurons, and regulate homocysteine levels. B vitamins are found in a variety of foods, but some people may need more B vitamins due to age, pregnancy, dietary choices, or other factors. In these cases, supplementing with B vitamins may be beneficial. Many of Procera's products include optimal and clinically studied dosages of B vitamins such as; Procera Advanced Brain, Procera XTF Extreme Focus, Procera Mood Balance, and Procera Essentials Multivitamin.


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