B Vitamins

Vitamin B1: Thiamine

nullCasimir Funk discovered B1 in 1912. Also known as thiamine, it converts carbohydrates and fats into energy. It also help prevent the buildup of toxic byproducts of this metabolism, which could otherwise damage the heart and nervous system. All B vitamins are involved in the process of converting food into energy, but thiamine plays a unique role, helping the brain and nervous system absorb enough glucose. Without thiamine, we become forgetful, depressed, tired, and apathetic. Good food sources of thiamine are Brazil nuts, sprouted seeds, sprouted beans, and germinated brown rice.

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin

D.T. Smith and E.G. Hendrick discovered B2, also known as riboflavin, in 1926.

Riboflavin, called vitamin B2, breaks down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and converts them into energy. B2 is significant in the maintenance of the skin and mucous membranes, the cornea of the eye, for nerve sheaths, and for red blood cell production. Riboflavin also acts as a coenzyme for oxidation-reduction throughout the body, and works with other vitamins in the B complex to process calories from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Because oxidation reactions cause damage to our cells, minimizing them can help us overcome many diseases.

Without riboflavin and other B vitamins, our body fails to release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism. Riboflavin supports our immune system by keeping the mucous membranes that line the respiratory and digestive systems healthy. Riboflavin may also help make antibodies for fighting off infections and help to preserve the integrity of the nervous system, eyes, skin, nails, and hair. There is evidence that older people with high levels of riboflavin do better on memory tests. Both niacin (B3) and pyridoxine (B6) need riboflavin to function properly. Riboflavin activates pyridoxine and is essential for the conversion of tryptophan, a neurotransmitter often associated with never “calming” into niacin. This means that a deficiency in riboflavin can cause malabsorption of and deficiencies in other vitamin such as tryptophan and niacin.

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is needed for more than 50 body processes. Like all the B-complex vitamins, it is important for release of energy from carbohydrates and fats, the metabolism of proteins, the creation of certain hormones, and assisting in the formation of red blood cells.

Although niacin is a crucial factor in energy production, it may not be the first reason why people need it. Niacin helps balance cholesterol levels. It makes enzymes that help cells turn carbohydrates into energy. The coenzymes NAD and NADP are essential for utilizing the metabolic energy of foods. The important role of niacin in energy production is that it helps control blood-glucose levels. Niacin is useful in the production of fatty acids, promotes appetite, aids in digestion, and supports healthy skin and nerves. It assists in the breakdown of proteins and fats and in the formation of red blood cells, and has been used successfully to increase blood flow.

American Conrad Elvehjem discover vitamin B3 in 1937. It is found naturally in fresh water algae, sea vegetables, raw sprouted nuts, and other sprouts. Legumes also supply some niacin. Like all the B-complex vitamins, it is important for converting calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy. Additionally, it helps the digestive system function.

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