When you wake up feeling energized and alive, it's easier to check off your to-do list and enjoy the day, but sometimes it’s not as simple as getting a good night's sleep or adding another espresso shot to your AM latte. That's where B-vitamins come in.
You may be familiar with the benefits of vitamins C, E, and D, but B-vitamins can be more complex to understand – pun intended. Vitamin-B complex is incredibly important to your daily wellness and general health, but it's not as commonly mentioned as its fellow vitamins. Let's break down the B-vitamins, what they do, and how to ensure you're getting the recommended amount in your day.
What are the B-vitamins?
When we talk about the B-complex, we're referring to eight B-vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), panthothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9, also known as folic acid), and cobalamin (B12.)
Each of these eight B-vitamins plays an important role in the body.
- B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) convert food into fuel.*
- B3 (niacin) supports muscle function.*
- B5 (pantothenic acid) supports cellular energy and hormone production.*
- B6 (pyridoxine) supports heart health.*
- B7 (biotin) supports healthy hair and nails.*
- B9 (folate) aids in cell growth and the formation of red and white blood cells.*
- B12 (cobalamin) is needed for everything from red blood cell growth to DNA to nerve function.*
While each of these has its own job to do within the body, they all play a role in energy production pathways to convert the food you eat into fuel and help your body function at its best.*
When B-vitamins are even more important
B-vitamins are important to your well-being especially because they support so many other essential systems and processes.* Certain B-vitamins also play important roles at different life stages. For example, if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you'll want to take a prenatal vitamin with B-vitamins, especially folate (B9) before conceiving. Adequate folate consumption helps support your baby's brain and spinal cord development in the critical early weeks after conception.*
If you live a vegetarian or plant-based lifestyle, you're likely not getting some of the B-vitamins that come from meat and dairy products, so you might consider supplementing with B-vitamins, B12 in particular.
B-vitamins and adults 50+
As you age, your nutritional needs change – and so does your body's ability to obtain nutrients from food. Adults over 50 are more likely to experience B-vitamin deficiencies in their later years, especially B12 and B6. For example, certain forms of B12 require stomach acid to be released for absorption in the body, and adults 50+ may not produce an adequate amount to reap the benefits of their dietary choices. Low amounts of folate may contribute to anemia.
You may remedy this by supplementing with B-vitamins, choosing cereals and breakfast foods fortified with B-vitamins, or working with your doctor to find a solution that works for your lifestyle.
B12: What's the story?
B12 is important because it helps your body produce red blood cells and DNA, supports nerve function, and helps support cell metabolism.* It's also more common to have low B12 status, especially if you're elderly, vegan or vegetarian, or if you've had certain surgeries. As previously noted, B12 is unique to the B-vitamin complex in that it's only found in animal products, including eggs, dairy, meat, and shellfish. If you think you may not be getting enough B12, speak to your doctor.
The B-vitamin complex in your multivitamin
One of the best sources of B-vitamins is leafy greens, like spinach and kale, and other green veggies. B-vitamins are also found in whole grains, meats, and dairy products. If you eat a healthy, balanced diet, it's likely you're getting lots of vitamin B each day. Keep up the good work!
But B-vitamins may pose a bit of a challenge. They're water-soluble and can't be stored by the body for long periods of time, making it imperative to acquire them from your diet or a supplement. Something you may notice if you begin taking a supplement rich in B-vitamins is bright yellow urine, but don't be alarmed – that's just your body expelling any extra B-vitamins it isn't actively using.
If you're not meeting daily recommendations for certain B-vitamins, supplementing with a multivitamin can help you fill in those nutritional gaps. Alive!® Multivitamins are carefully crafted to help you live your best, most vibrant life, which is why most of our formulas contain the full B-vitamin complex. Our multivitamin formulas include premium forms of B-vitamins that are ready to be used by the body such as methylcobolamin, the active form of B-12, and Quatrefolic® l-methylfolate, the active form of folate. We're passionate about helping you thrive all day with a little support from this dream team of vitamins – and we think you'll love how you feel.