Understanding B Vitamins

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Summer is coming and naturally, we should have more energy with the longer days….  I certainly am enjoying the sun and feel how it can help nourish me.

But sometimes when I feel a bit rundown and more tired than usual, I will often turn to a Vitamin B Complex (and sleep!) to help with this.  I am sure you have all heard of them and maybe you are using them – but there is far more to this group of vitamins that you might think!

What you might not realize is that each member of the B-Complex family has its own set of UNIQUE PROPERTIES & incredible potential benefits, but in combination they keep our bodies running like a well-oiled machine!

Vitamin B1 – THIAMINE – The Stress Buster

B1 helps our body make new healthy cells.  It is often called the “ANTI-STRESS” nutrient, and for good reasons. In 2015, a study concluded that it plays a “main role in the central nervous system and immune system” – potentially enhancing the body’s ability to withstand harmful, stressful conditions.

Food Sources: Whole grains, spinach, beans, kale, blackstrap molasses and wheat germ.

Vitamin B2 – RIBOFLAVIN, The Antioxidant

We’re constantly being bombarded by pollutants & stressors that can accelerate ageing & disease. That’s where B2 comes in… it works to fight free radical damage (these are particles that damage our cells) to delays the signs of aging.  Riboflavin is important for red blood cell production which is necessary for transportation of oxygen around the body

Food Sources: Almonds, wild rice, yoghurt, eggs, brussel sprouts and spinach.

Vitamin B3 – NIACIN, The Heart-Helper

With more than 17 million deaths around the world from heart disease per year, it’s no wonder that cardiovascular health is a big concern for many of us. The good news? Studies suggest that Niacin can RAISE GOOD HDL CHOLESTEROL BY UP TO 25% & potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular incidents.  Supplementing with higher levels of niacin (as niacinamide) have also been used to help with mental health disorders of many kinds and can be used for treating acne.

Food Sources: Yeast, red meat, eggs, beans and green vegetables.

Vitamin B5 – PANTOTHENIC ACID, The Metaboliser

Our metabolism determines how effectively we can take nutrients from our food and convert them to an energy source (as opposed to storing them as fat). Vitamin B5 acts as a precursor to coenzyme A – an important enzyme involved IN THE BREAKDOWN OF FATS, amino acids & carbohydrates for fuel.  Along with this, B5 is also responsible for the production of our sex and stress-related hormones – such as testosterone & cortisol.

Found in small amounts in most food groups – larger amounts in avocados, meat, eggs and legumes.

Vitamin B6 – PYRIDOXINE, The Sleep Secret

A deficiency in Vitamin B6 has been shown to interfere with normal sleep patterns. This may be due to its involvement in the synthesis of the CRUCIAL NEUROTRANSMITTERS dopamine, epinephrine, GABA & serotonin – all involved in sleep and mood regulation.  Also helps to regulate homocysteine and can help to reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.

Food Sources: Chicken, turkey, eggs, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, brown rice & carrots.

Vitamin B7 – BIOTIN, The Beauty Vitamin

Biotin is often referred to as ‘Vitamin H’, from the German ‘Haar & Haut’ (meaning hair & skin). Aside from the role it plays in supporting YOUTHFUL ENERGY LEVELS, biotin-containing supplements have been shown to enhance hair thickness. It may help people with diabetes with better control with their blood sugar and is especially important in pregnancy for the healthy growth of the baby.

Food Sources: Barley, liver, cauliflower, nuts, egg yolks, chicken, pork and fish.

Vitamin B9 – FOLATE, The Mood Booster

In a world where mental health challenges are becoming more and more prevalent, many of us could do with a helping hand. Folate may be a potential option, as in one study, supplementation was associated with IMPROVEMENTS IN SOCIAL RECOVERY for both depression and schizophrenia.  Make sure it is a natural form of Folate and not Folic Acid, which is the synthetic form not so easily absorbed.  Especially important for pregnant women as it prevents neurological birth defects.

Food Sources: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, beetroots, salmon, root vegetables and beans.

Vitamin B12 – COLBALAMIN, The All-Rounder

B-12 is the all-rounder – the vitamin that contributes to just about every process in the human body. As well as supporting the nervous system and mental health, it’s also involved in regulating a HEALTHY INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE – a key marker of health and longevity.  Working with B9, it helps produce red blood cells and supports iron to do its job in the body (creating oxygen-carrying protein, hemoglobin).
As most B12 comes from animal produce – if you are a strict vegan it may be necessary to supplement.

Food Sources: Meat, eggs, fish, shellfish, some algae – spirulina/chlorella.

I hope this helps a little with understanding how B vitamins work.  They are available in many everyday foods and amazingly our beneficial bacteria in the gut can make them too!

If you would like to give your system an extra boost – I often recommend using some B vitamins in supplemental form.  This can be useful in the short term, but being aware of our diet and what is happening with our digestive system also plays a role.

As I mentioned our beneficial bacteria can synthesise B vitamins in the large intestine.  But if our bacteria is compromised or if we are suffering from gut dysbiosis this may not be happening.

I like to use Pure Encapsulations – Vitamin B Complex and also Innate Response –


If you don’t already have an account with the Natural Dispensary, you can easily set one up online or by telephone.  You can claim a 10% discount on all orders by giving them my name as your Practitioner (Rebecca Jones) and using the code: JONES010 in the promotions box.

Now you can see why B vitamins are so essential to our bodies daily function.  They do far more than just raise our energy but actually, they deliver an enormous range of health benefits.

To summerise – as well as helping the body to convert fuel into energy they also play a major role in a number of other essential functions. B complex vitamins are vital for helping your body to use fats and proteins efficiently as well as keeping your digestion, heart, skin, joints and nervous system healthy and fully operational.