A Quick Guide to the B Vitamins
The B vitamins are all necessary for your health, playing vital roles in your metabolism. The best vitamin B supplements carry them all in one package, the whole B complex. Below you’ll find a quick look into the b vitamins and their benefits.
B1 is thiamine (or thiamin). You need it in order to make use of carbohydrates, and it can not be made by the human body. This makes it an essential nutrient. Certain illnesses can lead to thiamine deficiency, which affects the whole body, especially the nervous system.
B3 is niacin. You have probably seen it on lists of ingredients, right next to riboflavin (B2). It is another essential nutrient. Niacin deficiency used to be a bigger problem, in areas where corn was the diet staple to the exclusion of other vegetables. In some cases, niacin supplements are used to reduce the risk of heart trouble. Studies have shown that niacin may reduce lipoprotein A levels.
B5 is pantothenic acid, also an essential nutrient. It helps the body produce energy and assists in the function of the brain and nerves. It also plays a crucial role in the adrenal glands. Taking B5 during times of stress can keep your cortisol levels from getting too high, helping you recover quickly.
B6 is pyridoxine. It helps metabolize glucose and lipids (sugar and fat) and plays several roles in the functioning of the adrenal gland. The elderly and people with diabetes, liver disease, and rheumatoid arthritis have sometimes been found to suffer from vitamin B6 deficiency.
B7 is biotin. It is needed for all sorts of things cell growth, fat, and amino acid metabolism but you don’t normally need to worry about it unless you eat an unusual amount of egg whites, which blocks B7 absorption.
B9 is folate. Supplements of this vitamin are given for a great variety of purposes. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant take B9 supplements. It also reduces the risk of heart disease, according to some studies. Deficiencies in folate can lead to mental confusion and dementia.
B12 is methylcobalamin. It is necessary for the working of the brain and nervous systems, as well as making new red blood cells. It is most often found in meat, so vegans need to look for alternative sources of it.
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