Vitamins A-Zinc — B-vitamin Primer

On January 7, 2010, in Vitamins, Water Solubles, by Andrea

The B vitamins are a complex of vitamins that play an important role in many body systems.  Once thought to be a single vitamin and referred to as such (such as vitamins C and D), we now know there are eight separate water-soluble vitamins, each with a different structure and purpose.

B vitamins are necessary for metabolism, neurological health, maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone, immune system health, and promoting cell growth and division — including the red blood cells making them crucial in the role of anemia status.

All B vitamins are water-soluble and most must be replenished regularly as the body excretes excess through the urine.  There are a few exceptions (such as B12) in which the body holds a store that can last even years.

The eight B vitamins are:

B1 – Thiamin(e)
B2 – Riboflavin
B3 – Niacin
B5 – Pantothenic Acid
B7 – Biotin
B9 – Folic Acid
B12 – Cobalamin

Individual B vitamins can be supplemented individually, or in a group as a “B-complex.”

There are additional compounds that were once believed to be vitamins and have similar structure, and thus given names to fill in the gaps of the B vitamin series.  Some are not essential to humans but are to other organisms; others have no nutritional value.

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