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Capital importance of vitamin B complex: roles, shortcomings and advice

You've probably heard of B vitamins, but do you really know why they're important? In this article, I propose that we delve deeper into the mechanisms by which these essential vitamins contribute to our well-being. We will analyze their specific roles in different biological processes, their direct impact on our health, and the risks associated with vitamin B deficiency.


  • The vitamin B group is complex and plays a critical role in various metabolic functions, including cellular energy and DNA synthesis;
  • Vitamin B deficiency can lead to a variety of symptoms, including chronic fatigue and neurological problems;
  • B vitamins are found mainly in unrefined grains, brewer's yeast, and wheat germ; A modern refined diet increases the risk of deficiencies.

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Presentation of group B vitamins

At the beginning of the twentieth century scientist Kazimierz Funk Find out that Brewer's yeast Rice bran is rich in a water-soluble amino substance that causes improvement in neurological and skin symptoms resulting from an exclusively refined diet.

Initially it was thought to be a single vitamin, but from the 1920s onwards, in-depth analysis was performed and various variations were identified. Group B vitamins Then it was discovered.

More than 15 different substances were discovered within the B group, but some of them were later excluded from the B complex, because their vitamin properties in humans had not been confirmed (eg B4, B7, B10…); Or because its function in the body has not been confirmed (B15 or pangamic acid, for example). This is why the numerical nomenclature of group B vitamins is a bit messy with numbers missing.

It is common to find groups of B vitamins called B complex. Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 ​​(pyridoxine), B8 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin) are included; Some labs also include vitamin B7 (choline and inositol) and B10 (PABA).

B vitamins in our diet

B vitamins are abundant in it Unrefined grains (complete) and hazelnut. This is why current diets, generally highly refined, inevitably lead to serious and multiple B complex vitamin deficiencies.

The primary sources are brewer's yeast and wheat germ. Cobalamin or B12 is a bacterial source. It is found in foods of animal origin or in some plant-based foods that have been fermented, such as miso or tempeh.

General symptoms of vitamin B deficiency

In general, a deficiency of B vitamins leads to: Chronic fatigueAll kinds of neurological or neurological effects, changes in the skin and appendages (nails, hair) and muscle tensions.

In fact, B vitamins have many functions, from cellular energy production to the synthesis of our DNA bases, including the biosynthesis of the hemo group of our hemoglobin. We recognize that these are very important nutritional contributions. Let's take a look at the different functions of B vitamins in our bodies.

Group B vitamins are essential for our health. Many of them are essential for the proper functioning of our cellular energy metabolism. In all of our cells, we burn calories from our food to produce cellular energy, which is the energy needed to perform our body's functions properly.

In this energy metabolism, Krebs cycle It is the central element. This is a cyclic metabolic pathway. The researcher Hans Krebs was the one who completed the identification of all the elements of this cycle, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1953 for these discoveries.

Well, many B vitamins act as cofactors in the Krebs cycle. These are vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and biotin. In other words, a deficiency of one or more of these vitamins will result in decreased efficiency of our cellular energy production.

Therefore, a deficiency of B complex will lead to chronic fatigue. Cells that need more energy, such as neurons, will be the first to be affected by this deficiency and deficiency Nervous system He will be affected. Rapidly dividing cells, such as the enterocytes that line our intestines, or epithelial cells, will also be affected.

For this reason, vitamin B complex deficiency causes nerve, skin, and appendicitis disorders.

Furthermore, if there is a deficiency of B complex, the muscles that use glycolysis are filled with lactic acid, causing muscle tension. For some of my patients, this leads to a state of chronic tension in the back, with an inability to relax the muscles.

Other major roles of B vitamins

Vitamin B2

As a precursor of FAD/FADH2 electron transfer, B2 is essential Antioxidant system Glutathione peroxidase.

Vitamin B3

B3 is a precursor to NAD+/NADH. Since we can also synthesize NAD+/NADH from the amino acid tryptophan found in food, consuming vitamin B3 conserves our tryptophan stores.

This economy allows us to obtain more tryptophan for another biosynthetic pathway, the serotonin and melatonin pathway.

Through this indirect effect, consuming Vitamin B3 improves our serotonin status (a neurotransmitter that regulates our body levels). mood) and melatonin, Sleep hormone.

Vitamin B5

B5 is the precursor of coenzyme A, which is necessary for the formation of acetyl-CoA, both for its entry into… Krebs cycle Or for Fat metabolismIn each cycle there is beta oxidation.

In addition, B5 interferes with… Muscle contractionBecause it is necessary for the biosynthesis of acetylcholine. It is also involved in the biosynthesis of Steroid hormones And the heme group ofHemoglobin.

Vitamin B6

B6 has a huge impact on the health of our nervous system. It is a precursor to PLP, a coenzyme essential for the biosynthesis of three important neurotransmitters: GABAthere Serotonin And the Dopamine.

PLP is also essential for the biosynthesis of thymine bases in our DNA.

Vitamin B8

Biotin is a cofactor for several carboxylase enzymes (pyruvate carboxylase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, propionyl-CoA carboxylase or 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase). These enzymes are essential for processes Cell division. For this reason, biotin deficiency affects tissues with rapid cell division, e.g leather where is the Poetry.

Biotin is also often used to combat hair loss.

Vitamin B9

Finally, folic acid. This B vitamin is a precursor to THF, an essential coenzyme in the biosynthesis of the four bases of our DNA. Therefore, folic acid is also necessary for cell divisions. For this reason, it is recommended to use its supplements during pregnancy to avoid malformations.

Why take folic acid during pregnancy?

Folic acid needs are greatest during early pregnancy.

The 2 mm long embryo has a full-length cleft that closes to form the neural tube from which the brain and spinal cord are formed.

A deficiency of folic acid at the time of this closure has serious consequences, with several neural tube anomalies, including one – Incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord.

If the neural tube does not close at the top, it can lead to a birth defect called anencephaly (incomplete development of the brain and skull) and the baby will die within a few hours of birth. If the defect is in the lower part of the neural tube, it can cause spina bifida, leaving the baby with serious damage such as an inability to move, sphincter and bladder control, as well as just learning problems.

The formation and closure of the neural tube occurs between the 17th and 18th days of fetal life, when many women still do not know they are pregnant. This is why every woman of childbearing age (especially women who want to have a baby) should take folic acid.

Group B vitamins are water-soluble and are not stored in the body

Group B vitamins are water-soluble (soluble in water), and are not stored in the body. Therefore, their intake must be regular.

If there is excess in the diet or supplements, it will be eliminated through urine. Note that B vitamins pass easily into cooking water, and most can be destroyed by heat.

Therefore, when cooking brown rice, it will be important to add the right amount of water so that you do not have to throw away the water at the end of cooking.

Isolated B vitamins should be avoided

It will be clearly understood that B vitamins work synergistically and it will be better to consume a B complex than any isolated B vitamins. B vitamins taken in a B complex will be more effective.

In addition, taking isolated B vitamin supplements can be harmful, as taking any of the isolated B vitamins for a long period can lead to a noticeable imbalance, with excess of one vitamin and significant depletion of the remaining vitamins due to an imbalance in the ratios. .

Recently, I often see patients who consume isolated vitamin B12, because this is the only vitamin that is measured after a blood test. In this case, it would be advisable to suspend vitamin B12 supplements and take a complete B complex instead, i.e. a supplement containing all the B vitamins (including vitamin B12).

How to choose your B complex supplement?

As described in this article, it is important to ensure complete metabolism of B vitamins. Many supplements are called a B complex even though they contain only three B vitamins.

Also, the vast majority of B compounds are very low dosed and a very low dose consumed will produce no therapeutic effect at all. Therapeutic doses are about 50 milligrams for vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 and about 50 micrograms for folic acid, biotin, and B12.

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(Tags for translation) Overview of B vitamins (R) B vitamins in our diet (R) General symptoms of vitamin B (R) deficiency B complex and cellular energy metabolism (R) Other main roles of B vitamins (R) Why take folic acid during pregnancy ?
Capital importance of vitamin B complex: roles, shortcomings and advice

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