We all know that it’s important to have plenty of vitamins, whether through our diet or through supplementation. B Vitamins, however, are water soluble vitamins that the body does not store well, and therefore must be replenished on a regular basis. In this article, we’ll discuss a bit more about B-Vitamins and their importance for health.
A vitamin is an organic molecule that is an essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Most essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the body, either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Vitamins are a group of substances that are needed for normal cell function, growth, and development.”
What do B vitamins do? Some B vitamins are produced in the bowel, but the conditions for that to happen require the intestinal microflora or friendly bacteria species that colonize the bowel to dominate over the unfriendly species. Unfortunately, because many Americans are living on processed dead foods, alcohol and diets lacking in any living enzymes, the balance of friendly to unfriendly is inverted, preventing the body from realizing any benefit from its ability to produce B vitamins.
The importance of having sufficient quantities of B vitamins available to the body is vital to not only a broad spectrum of cell and metabolic reactions, but also to the body's ability to defend itself and almost every aspect of immune response.
In this article, we’ll go through each B vitamin, what it does in the body, and name all the foods high in B vitamins::
It helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. Maintaining high energy levels depends in part on maintaining adequate B1 in the diet.
Best sources of Vitamin B1:
Plant-based sources: legumes, nuts, oats, brown rice, nutritional yeast, and pseudo-grains (foods that resemble grains from the perspective of the person eating them, but are not biologically members of the same group. Examples of pseudo-grains include quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth)
Animal sources: beef, milk, eggs
Best sources of Vitamin B2:
Plant-based sources: legumes, nuts, brown rice, avocado, mushrooms, spinach, nutritional yeast, and pseudo-grains
Animal sources: beef, milk, fish
It is essential for the body’s breakdown and utilization of carbohydrate and protein. As with other B vitamins, vitamin B3 plays an integral part in the conversion of food into energy. It also plays a key role in keeping the digestive system healthy, allowing the body to get more out of the food it consumes.
Best sources of vitamin B3:
Plant-based sources: wild rice, brown rice, acorn squash, beets, sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables, legumes and nutritional yeast
Animal sources: meat, poultry, red fish (e.g. salmon, tuna), milk
As well as all B vitamins, this vitamin helps convert food into energy. It also facilitates the production of steroids – an integral part of the regeneration process after physical exertion.
Best Sources of Vitamin B5:
Plant-based sources: seeds, mushrooms, broccoli, pseudo-grains, avocados, acorn squash, plantain, corn, yams, potatoes, oranges
Animal sources: liver, kidney, eggs, poultry, milk
It aids in the production of antibodies—essential for warding off infection and maintaining the ability to recover from exertion quickly. Vitamin B6 also contributes to cardiovascular health, helping the heart efficiently circulate blood in a greater volume.
Best sources of Vitamin B6:
Plant-based sources: pseudo-grains, bananas, brown rice, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pistachios, tahini, brussels sprouts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, spring greens, sprouts, avocados, chickpeas and oats,
Animal sources: beef liver, tuna, salmon
It is essential for a healthy nervous system, aiding in coordination and smooth muscle movement. It is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. As with other B vitamins, B12 plays a role in production of red blood cells and conversion of food into energy. Unlike other B vitamins, Vitamin B12 is not plentiful in most foods.
Vitamin B12 is a very important nutrient. In our modern food supply, B12 is found mostly in animal products. The bacteria in the stomach of vegetarian animals such as cows (and also goats, sheep, deer, etc.) can synthesize B12, which is then absorbed by their small intestines, thereby imparting B12 into the animal. So nonvegetarians get their B12 from eating these animal products.
Humans also make B12-synthesizing bacteria in their large intestine. The challenge lies in the fact that it's actually absorbed in the small intestine, which is upstream. Fortunately, the cells of our stomach actually make something called "intrinsic factor" which seeks out B12 from food and together they make their way to the small intestine where the B12 can be absorbed. So, we need this intrinsic factor because B12 is the only nutrient that requires help in order to be absorbed.
In the past, B12 was plentiful because we ate foods that were not as deep cleaned and practically sanitized as they are today, so the bacteria in our guts were able to synthesize the B12 we needed. Since times have changed, it's important that all people, especially those on a plant based diet, supplement their diet with B12.
Best sources of Vitamin B12:
Plant-based sources: Vitamin B12 supplements, chlorella, fermented foods, miso, and nutritional yeast
Animal sources: fish, meat, poultry, eggs
B vitamins play a variety of roles in the body and are essential for many of the body’s functions. Getting adequate amounts of B vitamins in the diet is important, and these, along with minerals and amino acids, are among the nutrient groups that people are most often deficient in.
Our Zuma Nutrition team has created a Co Enzyme B Complex after years of research in the field, and this formula is more bio available and uses higher quality ingredients than many B complexes in the industry. Through simply taking 2 capsules each morning with the proper protocol, your body is fed a full B complex vitamins to start off your day, arming your immune system for a full day’s work.