The B vitamins are comprised of eight essential vitamins referred to as B-complex vitamins. The B group of vitamins is water-soluble, meaning if the body gets too much they are excreted via the urine. B vitamins are mainly responsible for breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates; the body's primary source of energy. However getting enough vitamin Bs in your diet will also result in healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver and intestinal health.
The average diet receives an ample dose of vitamin Bs through foods such as whole grain cereals, rice, milk, eggs, and nuts, a variety of fruits and meats including fish, liver and leafy green veggies. B vitamins get kudos for helping treat coronary heart disease, depression and dementia.
The B-complex vitamins include the following:
B1 or Thiamine – metabolizes carbohydrates into the simple sugar glucose. B1 is also helps the nervous system function properly.
B2 or Riboflavin – also breaks downs carbohydrates, as well as fats and proteins. Vitamin B2 also has a significant impact on skin, the mucous membranes, as well as the eye's cornea and nerve sheaths.
B3 or Niacin – is required to metabolize food. B3 also helps develop healthy skin and supports gastrointestinal tract and nerve maintenance. A deficiency of niacin causes the disease, pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia.
B6 or Pyridoxine – supports the decomposition of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
B9 or Folic acid – in partnership with vitamin B12 and vitamin C, breaks down proteins and hemoglobin, an important part of DNA repair.
B 12 or Cyanocobalamin – works with B9 and vitamin C to repair human DNA. B12 is also partially responsible for producing the body's blood cells and maintaining the nervous system. Vegetarians often suffer vitamin B12 deficiency if they don't incorporate the proper supplements in their diets.
Pantothenic acid – helps to breakdown carbohydrates, lipids and some amino acids. Too much pantothenic can cause a serious case of diarrhea.
Biotin – is produced by our intestines and it acts as a coenzyme in carboxylation reactions to aid with body function. Those who eat too many egg whites can be deprived of biotin and develop a skin condition called scaly dermatitis.