The Importance Of B Vitamins

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Carla Oates The Beauty Chef Founder

By Carla Oates

We all know how important vitamins and minerals are to our overall health and wellbeing—but there are also certain nutrients that seem to get more time in the spotlight. We’re looking at you vitamin C!

For optimal vitality, however, it’s important to consume a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and one category that if often overlooked is B vitamins. As a family consisting of eight nutrients—thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid and cobalamin—these essential B vitamins each play an important role in a number of bodily functions and work both together and in isolation to help maintain good health. They're also often found in multivitamins or dietary supplements as a 'vitamin B complex'—grouped together for maximum benefits.

Although most of us are able to get enough B vitamins through a well-balanced, wholefoods-based diet, deficiencies can occur and manifest in symptoms as diverse as skin irritations or rashes, cracks in the corners of the mouth, fatigue or listlessness, anemia, irritability, nausea, digestive problems or abdominal pain and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Vegans and vegetarians are also more likely to experience deficiencies given that B vitamins are commonly found in animal products.

But B vitamins also have a number of benefits. Read on to discover how important these vitamins are for our health, beauty and wellbeing… 

B Vitamins For Skin Health

While you’ve likely heard of the importance of vitamin A for skin health—you may be less familiar with the role of B vitamins. But truth be told, B vitamins play an integral role in how our skin feels and functions. Niacin, or vitamin B3, for example, helps to keep skin soft and smooth while also providing a protective effect, helping to combat the skin-damaging effects of oxidative stress. While another B vitamin which is famous for its skin health benefits is biotin—or vitamin B7. As a water-soluble vitamin, biotin is often found in skin and hair supplements as it helps your skin to maintain moisture and regulates fatty acid metabolism. Although rare, a B7 deficiency can manifest as thinning hair, rashy skin or inflammation so if you find your skin is a little dry, your nails or hair is particularly brittle or you’re sprouting rashes, you may need to up your biotin intake. Good food sources of biotin include organ meats, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds.

The other B vitamin which is particularly important for skin health is pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 as it helps to regulate epidermal barrier function and support wound healing. And for those suffering from acne or breakouts, this is a very exciting thing! Note that our gut microbiota also synthesise B group vitamins including biotin so maintaining a healthy gut can also help. As a pleasant side effect, by supporting good gut health, B vitamins can also strengthen and support immune system function. 

B Vitamins For Women's Health

You’ve likely heard of folic acid and its importance as a pregnancy and prenatal vitamin—but folate (as it’s also known), or vitamin B9, has been proven to be important both before and during pregnancy as it reduces the risk of certain birth defects and is important for cell growth. Commonly found in dark leafy green vegetables, liver, avocado, eggs, beans and nuts. Breakfast cereals and whole grains products are also often fortified with folate. As with any prenatal, pregnancy or breastfeeding vitamin however, it's important to speak to your healthcare practitioner before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is also vital for hormonal health, helping to produce sex and stress hormones—while vitamin B6 is involved in the production of neurotransmitters. If you regularly feel stressed, you may benefit from a complex B vitamin supplement

B Vitamins For Energy Metabolism

One of the key roles of B vitamins is that of energy metabolism. Helping to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats—niacin (vitamin B3), biotin (vitamin B7), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and vitamin B12 are all important in how the body breaks these macronutrients down into molecules that are able to be absorbed and used in energy production. B vitamins also play a role in amino acid metabolism which is important for energy synthesis. As one of the most well-known B vitamins, B12 is also vital for neurological function. If you’re feeling fatigued, experiencing weight loss, are constipated or suffering from memory or cognitive dysfunction, it may be worth exploring to see whether you are experiencing a vitamin B12 deficiency. Like many B vitamins, good food sources of B12 include fish, meat and poultry and dairy products.

At The Beauty Chef, we incorporate B vitamins into many of our supplements—with ADAPTOGEN, for example, containing activated vitamin B6 and B12 to reduce fatigue and refresh tired or ruddy complexions. While GLOW—our bestselling inner beauty powder—contains broad-spectrum B vitamins from sprouted quinoa, ensuring greater bioavailability and maximum benefits.