Vitamins are so much more than the brightly colored Flintstone tablets from your childhood. In fact, organic vitamins and minerals work together to perform all the functions of the human body, such as growing from infants to adults, digesting food and converting it to energy, managing stress, and keeping our immune systems strong. All natural vitamins also help to regulate our mood, allow us to have a sense of taste and smell, and even work alongside other nutrients to keep our heart beating .
Since all micro and macronutrients work together (including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats,
For the purpose of this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the role of vitamins in the body. In particular, we will look at B vitamins, which are so important they shouldn't be left out of any healthy diet, and ways to tell if vitamin B deficiency is affecting your body.
How Vitamins Give the Human Body Life
Vitamins are found in all foods, but are most abundant in unprocessed plant foods found in nature. Animal products also contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, but all nutrients found in animal products can also be found in plant foods.
When you actually get to know the functions vitamins perform in the body, it's fascinating to learn how these little microscopic compounds can give us life. Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant to keep harmful toxins from lurking in our cells, while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, the mineral required to build strong, healthy bones.
With vitamins and minerals being so crucial to how our bodies function (and therefore, how we feel on a daily basis), we can certainly feel the effects when we're not receiving an adequate amount of a certain vitamin or mineral.
The Importance of B Vitamins
One group of vitamins that plays an extraordinarily large role in all aspects of our health are B vitamins. Unfortunately, B vitamin deficiencies are not uncommon. There are eight known B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12, and although they exist in the same class, they also perform unique functions of their own.
All B vitamins have one important job in common, which is to help the body convert food into usable energy [
As you can see, vitamins are some kind of miracle for giving life to the human body. This is why it's so important to ensure your vitamin intake is optimal, especially when it comes to B vitamins. Being water soluble, it's said that B vitamins are not be stored in the body in significant amounts, which is why it's ideal to include them in your diet each day; without doing so can lead to vitamin B deficiency. Luckily there are several foods that contain B vitamins, which makes it easy for us to do so.
Since there are multiple B vitamins that work with one another to perform several key functions, noticeable signs and symptoms are likely to appear when you're not getting enough of a specific vitamin B.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Although it was previously mentioned that no nutrient is more important than another, vitamin B12 is going to steal the spotlight for a moment. It's worth mentioning that vitamin B12 is one of the most common vitamin B deficiencies, and since most B12 is found in animal products, it's most prevalent in vegans or vegetarians.
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient not only for transporting oxygen between cells (which gives us energy and
It's been said that the most bioavailable form of B12 is found in animal products such as fish, beef, pork, dairy products, eggs,
Vitamin B12 Deficiency & Chlorella
Vegans, rejoice: the following information may be your new favorite answer to the all-too-common question "But as a vegetarian, where do you get your B12?
As you know, B12 has been thought to only be found in adequate amounts in animal products, but recent studies are suggesting otherwise. Chlorella has been considered one of the only superfood plant to contain a sufficient amount of B12, but many questions have surrounded whether the B12 in plant foods is easily digested, absorbed and assimilated in the body. Basically, we've wondered if the B12 in plant foods is useful or useless.
Interestingly enough, the recent findings published in The Journal of Medicinal Food may help
Each subject's B12 levels were monitored from start to finish by measuring the methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels and homocysteine levels in their blood. This is because raised MMA and homocysteine levels indicate a B12 deficiency.
When the study was over, the findings showed those who received 9g of chlorella
Being rich in bioavailable vitamin B12 is only one of the benefits of chlorella. This amazing green superfood is also rich in other vitamins, minerals, plant protein, and a nutrient called Chlorella Growth Factor, which provides the body with nucleic acids RNA and DNA.
Although we've discussed in detail how vegans and vegetarians are thought to be most at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, anyone can be deficient in any B vitamin. B vitamins are depleted in the body by many factors such as chronic stress, smoking, diets high in refined sugar, heavy alcohol consumption and chronic digestive issues.
Here are 5 signs you may not be getting enough B vitamins, and how to easily increase them through your diet.
1. Low Energy Levels
All B vitamins, especially vitamin B1, help the body convert sugar from carbohydrates into glucose- which the body can then use as fuel, or energy. Without B vitamins, our bodies cannot properly utilize the nutrients from the foods we're eating, and therefore, we may experience low energy levels, despite sleeping eight hours each night.
Foods to Eat for Extra B1: organic sprouted wheat, legumes,
2. Unexplained Tingling and Numbness in Your Hands or Feet
Several of the B vitamins are essential to
Foods to Eat for Extra B1, B6 and B12: organic wheat germ, legumes, nuts and seeds, Sun Chlorella tablets or Sun Chlorella powder, turkey, spinach, brown rice, organic unprocessed whole grains and sunflower seeds.
3. Frequent Low Mood and Symptoms of Depression
Vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9 help convert the amino acid tryptophan, into serotonin. Serotonin is the "feel good” neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood and prevent consistent feelings of sadness. Inadequate levels of serotonin have been linked to feelings of
The fact that B vitamins aid in the conversion process of tryptophan to serotonin also illustrates the potential to improve our mental health and wellness through our diets.
Foods to Eat for Extra B1, B3,
4. Frequent Colds
Although vitamin C is known as the immune-boosting vitamin (who hasn't told you to drink orange juice when you're sick!?), several of the B vitamins are also immune system
It's suggested that vitamin B2 may help prevent the body from contracting bacterial infections, while vitamin B6 promotes immune function by lowering the immune response, which can progress to producing T-cells and B-cells. T-cells and B-cells are known as the "killer” cells that attack foreign invaders and are involved in an advanced immune response .
Foods to Eat for Extra B2 and B6: Spinach, beets, turkey, whole sprouted grains, tempeh (fermented soy), plain organic yogurt, mushrooms,
5. Stress, Anxiety, and Nervousness
If you're more anxious than
Since all B vitamins play a key role in healthy nerve cells, it only makes sense that they're fundamental to the functioning of the nervous system. A
The best way to support your nervous system through proper nutrition is by eating plenty of foods that are rich in various B vitamins. As you know, these foods range from various vegetables to animal protein, unprocessed whole grains and superfoods such as Sun Chlorella tablets or Sun Chlorella powder.
By adding more B vitamins to your diet, you can expect to experience more energy, a lighter mood and an overall sense of improved health and wellness.
About Brandi Black, RHN
Brandi Black is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare
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