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What Does the Body Do With the B-Vitamin Supplements I Take?

Jun 27, 2008
The B vitamins are integral to body growth and development. They play a great part in the activities of enzymes that regulate chemical reactions in our body. Different B vitamins exist in various animal and plant foods. Examples of some of these are cereals and whole grains, pork, seafood, eggs and liver. They are also in dairy products, dried beans, chicken, watermelon and grapefruit to name a few among the many sources. Supplements are another great way to ingest B vitamins.

These vitamins consist of a group of eight water-soluble nutrients:

* B1 - Thiamine
* B2 - Riboflavin
* B3 - Niacin
* B5 - Pantothenic Acid
* B6 - Pyridoxine
* B7 - Biotin
* B9 - Folic Acid, Folate
* B12 - Cobalamin

When the body takes in these B vitamins, it uses them in different ways. The body uses B1 and B2 to affect enzymes (proteins) that have an influence on muscles and nerves. When B1, thiamin, enters the system, the body uses it to help convert glucose into energy. It uses B2 to help repair hair, skin and nails. Vitamin B3 helps maintain skin health and digestive functions. This vitamin also helps maintain the health of the body's nervous system. Vitamin B5 affects the body's normal growth and development overall.

The body uses B6 to break down protein and to maintain the health of the red blood cells. It also uses this kind of B vitamin to keep the nervous system and components of the immune system healthy. The B7 vitamin helps the body produce hormones. It also helps it break down carbohydrates and proteins. The B9 vitamin also helps the production of red blood cells. The body uses B9 in its cells so they can manufacture and maintain DNA. This DNA contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all living organisms known to man. The body uses vitamin B12 to help produce blood cells and uses it in nervous system functions.

Since the B vitamins are water-soluble, they do not remain stored in the body if too much of them are ingested. The exceptions are B12 and folate (B9), which the liver stores. The body eliminates most of any extra amounts of the rest of the B vitamins through the urine. However, it's wise to take only what your particular system requires when it comes to these vitamins.

Because the body uses the B vitamins to aid so many vital functions, certain things happen when the body does not get enough of them. Some people may experience numbness and tingling in their arms and legs if they're deficient in B vitamins. Muscle cramps can occur as well as tiredness. Anemia is a concern if a person does not get enough of these vitamins, as is depression. Loss of appetite and abdominal pain are symptoms of vitamin B deficiency as well. Therefore, it is important that one ingest the B vitamins on a regular basis.

Just eating foods that contain these B vitamins prepared in any manner is not enough. Because the body uses these vitamins to support important functions, it needs them in full measure. Extended cooking times and food processing can dilute the strength and concentration of these vitamins. Alcohol can diminish their useful effects too.

The right amounts of B vitamins on a regular basis are part of a comprehensive health strategy. The body uses the required amounts efficiently to promote overall health. Used in conjunction with the other vitamins and minerals we need, the B vitamins can make daily living that much more energetic.
About the Author
More information on B complex vitamins is available at VitaNet , LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
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