Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vitamin B

The scientists who first discovered vitamin B soon learned that it wasn’t just one vitamin, but a group of 8 substances. B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins, meaning that excess is excreted in your urine. They act as coenzymes in the release of energy from food. They don’t provide energy, they facilitate the release. If you think of metabolism as the engine in your body, B vitamins are the lubrication needed to keep the engine moving optimally. They don’t substitute the fuel, they lubricate the engine. A common crazy misconception is that vitamins have calories.

Some facts about B vitamin family:

- As a family of compounds, B vitamins are intertwined. Food sources are shared and often similar. If you have a deficiency of one, you’d be more likely to have a deficiency of another one.

- Alcohol is the ultimate destroyer of vitamin B. Alcoholics can exhibit signs and symptoms of deficiency of many B vitamins.

- B vitamin deficiencies are manifested in the mouth. Actually, they manifest in the whole gastrointestinal tract, but we see them in the mouth.

This group of vitamins include 8 compounds. I have separate articles for the most famous ones:

-Thiamin (vitamin B1): breaks down carbohydrate for energy.

-Riboflavin (vitamin B2): supports energy metabolism in the body.

-Niacin (vitamin B3): supports energy metabolism in the body.

- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): synthesizes enzymes important for obtaining energy from fat.

- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6): essential for amino-acid (protein building-blocks) metabolism.

- Biotin (vitamin B7): helps in fat synthesis and metabolism, amino-acid metabolism.

- Folic acid or folate (vitamin B9): essential for metabolism of amino-acids and synthesis of DNA. Also essential in cell division and development of neural tube in fetuses.

- Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12): needed in the production of red blood cells, the maintenance of the central nervous system, the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrate.

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