What do B vitamins do for my body? Are all B vitamins made the same? If I am overall healthy do I need B vitamins? B vitamins, each B vitamin does unique things in the body. Some help with the digestion of food, others help to provide energy, but they also help the heart keep its rhythm.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) breaks down sugars and amino acids
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) helps in the making of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (or ATP) energy
Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Nicotinic acid) Break down dietary fats, Process carbohydrates, Breaks down proteins and absorption, Synthesizes carbohydrates and fatty acids
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) The production of enzymes, theses enzymes facilitate fatty acid synthesis
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) maintains nerve health, skin health, and the health of your red blood cells
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) biotin helps with the breakdown of sugars
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) folic acid is essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids and amino acids
Vitamin B12 (Hydroxocobalamin) maintains the health of your neurological brain tissue. B12 absorption hinges on a liquid secreted by your stomach known as Intrinsic Factor (IF).
B vitamins impact bone marrow, blood production, nerves, bowels, heart, and digestion to name a few things.
How can I get B vitamins in my diet? Fermented foods can help support B vitamins, Liver, and Organ meats. Nutritional yeast is a great way to support B vitamins as well. Also, limiting antinutrients of B vitamins that pull or use up B vitamins.
B vitamins are one way to support the heart. The gut has a connection to B vitamins, supporting bacteria can increase them by supporting good gut health, as our intestines/gut bacteria create B vitamins. Fermented foods support gut microbiota to improve the bacteria environment in the gut, which improves the health of the intestines/bowels and supports B vitamins.
If my body is producing B vitamins do I need to take them as a supplement? Our foods can help support B's, but oftentimes our modern-day diets rob our bodies of them. Things like sugars, caffeine, processed foods, antacids, and chemicals all can deplete B vitamins.
As mentioned above, you can't even absorb B vitamins if your stomach is not working properly. Intrinsic Factor (IF) helps us to break down B vitamins like B12, IF is secreted by our oxyntic cells, if stomach acidity is destroyed these cells will not produce the IF. This can also lead to anemia and achlorhydria.
Plant B's versus animal-based B's, we know plants do not have all B vitamins, due to unhealthy soil we do not get B12 usually. Which makes the liver one of the best food sources of B vitamins. If you are not willing to do an animal-based food, nutritional yeast is one of the better ways to get B12, yet it is usually fortified, which usually means synthetic.
B vitamins also can come in a single B versus a complex of all the B vitamins. When we have an excess of one B vitamins we can create an imbalance of the rest of the B vitamins. B vitamins and how we digest them can also be part of why we are not getting them currently from the foods we are eating. So as usual make sure your support gut bacteria and stomach acidity as they are key to supporting absorption as I mentioned before.
Here is some nutritional information on the best options for B vitamins.
Liver and other organ meats
Though not especially popular, organ meats — especially liver — are packed with B vitamins. This is true whether they’re from beef, pork, lamb, or chicken (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
For example, a 3.5-oz (100-g) serving of beef liver contains (12Trusted Source):
Thiamine (B1): 15% of the DV
Riboflavin (B2): 263% of the DV
Niacin (B3): 109% of the DV
Pantothenic acid (B5): 139% of the DV
Pyridoxine (B6): 61% of the DV
Biotin (B7): 139% of the DV
Folate (B9): 63% of the DV
Cobalamin (B12): 2,917% of the DV
Just 2 teaspoons (5 grams) of fortified nutritional yeast contain (2Trusted Source):
Protein: 3 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Carbs: 2 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Fiber: 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 246% of the DV
Niacin (vitamin B3): 109% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 212% of the DV
Folate (vitamin B9): 59% of the DV
Vitamin B12: 313% of the DV
Iron: 2% of the DV
Potassium: 2% of the DV
If you need assistance with digestion or a good source of B vitamins, or maybe you are not sure if you are getting enough B's at all. Feel free to do a health survey, set up an appointment, or an in-office visit. I would be happy to help you.