The B vitamins area complex group of compounds that cannot be synthesized within the body in sufficient quantities to support optimal health and therefore, must be obtained through the diet.
The B-vitamins, like all vitamins, are classified by their biological and chemical activity and not their structure. This helps explain why there is so much variation between the chemical structures of the various B-vitamins.
Every single one of the B-vitamins play a role in one and/or two main bodily functions: cellular energy metabolism and/or cell formation and division.
Cellular Energy Metabolism
Cellular energy metabolism refers to the process by which every cell in our bodies make energy in order to do their jobs. Cellular energy does not necessarily correlate with the actual physical energy you experience on a daily basis, and this is a point of confusion for many people. While it is true that a deficiency in cellular energy over-time will certainly disrupt your physical energy AND that it is necessary to optimize cellular energy in order to restore optimal physical energy, it is NOT true that just because you are tired, it is a tell-tale sign that you are somehow deficient in one or more B-vitamins. The main B-vitamins involved in cellular energy metabolism include B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine) and B7 (Biotin).
Cell formation and Division
Every one of the cells in our bodies has a finite life, which means that we must constantly produce new cells in order to live. B-vitamins play a vital role in this process, especially B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), folate and B12 (Cobalamin). Healthy cell division and formation is vital to staying healthy. Many of these actions involve a process called ‘methylation’ by which genetic information is replicated and transferred to a new generation of cells. If these processes run smoothly, genetic information is transferred and health is maintained. If these processes are somehow altered in a negative fashion, genetic information is changed and over time, these changes can results in degeneration and disease.
There are many foods that can provide healthy doses of B-vitamins. The best all-around food source of the B-complex is nutritional yeast. Its been estimated that 1-3 tsp/day of nutritional yeast can provide all the B-vitamins necessary for a healthy person to maintain adequate B-vitamin status.
Other food sources of B-vitamins include: wheat germ, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, avocados and dark leafy greens.
For added support, or to re-establish optimal levels, supplemental support can also be used. Generally, you’ll want to look for a product that contains ‘activated’ or ‘reduced’ forms of several of the B-vitamins, including folate and B12. The reduced/active form of folate is called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) and the reduced/active form of vitamin B12 is called methylcobalamin. These forms are preferable as a large minority of the population cannot properly convert the food source or non-reduced forms of these B-vitamins into the form that the body can use. We use a product called Glycogenics, as it contains a balanced blend of the B-vitamins, using active/reduced forms when needed. (You can contact the clinic to order this product.)