The B vitamins, which account for eight of the 13 different vitamins the body needs, are critical for one’s mental and physical health. They have a direct impact on a wide range of functions in the body, from your mood and ability to focus to your heart, your weight, and the digestive process. weight to your heart and digestion. While each one is unique, they have closely interrelated functions.
Picking the most important B vitamin would be like picking the most important part of the body. There isn’t one that’s more important than the other as they all work in synergy.
Why Are So Many of Us B Deficient?
Most omnivores rely on animal products to get their “Bs” as they’re found abundantly in foods like red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, but the good news for non-meat eaters is that there are some great plant-based foods that contain them too.
On the downside, it can be difficult to meet the body’s needs on a vegan or vegetarian diet. The other issue that comes into play is that the body doesn’t store these vitamins well, and the need for them is increased by numerous factors like stress, illness, smoking, alcohol and poor diet. Even in developed countries, it’s possible to become deficient in one or more of the B vitamins which can result in all sorts of health issues. For example, a deficiency in B12 can result in fatigue, memory problems, and cognitive impairment, while a deficiency in B6 can cause depression. The most common causes are malabsorption through the gut or an inadequate diet, due to the decrease in eating whole, unprocessed foods. The processing of foods has removed many of the natural vitamins from the whole food itself, which is why you see so much bread and cereal brands fortified with B vitamins.
A 2016 paper by Northumbria University’s Professor David Kennedy, director of the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre and Professor of Biological Psychology, highlighted the B vitamin deficiency problem1. While he notes that eating a healthy diet should be sufficient for obtaining B vitamins, he adds that the evidence has suggested that significant sub-sections of populations in developed nations are suffering from at least a marginal deficiency in one or more of the B vitamins, predisposing them to multiple negative health consequences.
Taking a plant-based B complex is a good way to prevent a deficiency in both meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike.
The Science Behind the Importance of B Vitamins
This group of vitamins and their impact on the body has been studied extensively as they play such a significant role in our health. For example, the group has been associated with a lower incidence of stroke. One study that reviewed randomized clinical trials of at least six months, published in the clinical journal Neurology, found that taking vitamin B supplements reduced the risk of stroke by 7 percent2.
While a sufficient amount of all the B vitamins is important, they’ve been individually researched extensively as well. Depression has been associated with both a lack of B12 and folate, as a study out of the MRC Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory in the United Kingdom highlights3.
What To Look for in A Quality B Complex Vitamin Supplement
There are many different options for B complex vitamin supplements available today thanks to the highlight put on the importance of taking them. But how do you know which to choose? Plant-based supplements are ideal and can meet the needs of vegans and vegetarians as well as meat eaters, derived from organic fruits and vegetables.
There are multiple things to look for when reading those labels. One of the more obvious is to be sure it contains no GMOs, artificial colors, preservatives or additives. Those who are on a gluten-free diet will want to be sure it’s stated as such. There are multiple forms of B12, but some are better utilized by the body, like methlycobalimin. While many supplements include folate as folic acid, this substance is not the best as it’s manufactured and poorly utilized by the body which needs to use an enzyme to make it usable and its conversion capacity is limited. Instead, look for 5-Methyl Folate. A wealth of both human and lab studies have demonstrated that 5-Methyl Folate is the form most naturally preferred by the body4.
To make sure you are getting enough B Vitamins in your diet, we recommend taking NATURELO’s Plant-Based B Complex supplement daily.
1. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review, 2016 Feb; 8(2): 68
2. Vitamin B supplementation, homocysteine levels, and the risk of cerebrovascular disease, October 08, 2013; 81 (15)
3. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12, 2005 Jan;19(1):59-65
4. [6S]-5-methyltetrahydrofolate increases plasma folate more effectively than folic acid in women with the homozygous or wild-type 677C–>T polymorphism of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, 2009 Dec;158(8):2014-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00492.x