Vitamin B: Types and Names of vitamin B: The vitamin B comprise 8 water-soluble vitamins involved in many cellular metabolism processes. Although each vitamin B performs a specific function, they act as enzymatic cofactors in metabolic pathways that produce energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in a generalized way. In addition, the vitamin B complex plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of the brain and nervous system functions, including DNA and RNA synthesis and repair, DNA methylation reactions, and the synthesis of neurochemicals and signaling molecules.
- Likewise, group vitamin B have recently investigated for their possible involvement in cardiovascular and bone health.
- Although the scientific community has focused primarily on the subgroup (B6 / B9 / B12) due to its participation in homocysteine metabolism, maintaining adequate levels of the rest of the B vitamins is essential to preserve optimal physiological and neurological functioning
In an increasingly aging society and the absence of an optimal diet rich in these nutrients, administering a supplement that includes the entire group of B vitamins in the appropriate doses could be an excellent approach to preserve the brain, neurological, and health. Boost our immune system.
Our body is not always able to convert B vitamins into their active form effectively. If digestion is not adequate or has a sensitive metabolism, we may not utilize its full potential. Therefore, when choosing a good supplement, it is advisable to pay attention to those that offer us B vitamins in their active form (methylated and coenzyme) since they do not require their conversion in the liver and are used directly by the body—improving its absorption and bioavailability.
Table of Contents
THIAMINE (VITAMIN B1)
Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) is the lively form of vitamin B1. It acts as a cofactor for enzymes complicated in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids and the synthesis of neurotransmitters and other bioactive compounds essential for brain function.
- In recent years, vitamin B participation in the maintenance of neurological function has increasingly recognized, acting as a neuromodulator in synthesizing acetylcholine and contributing to the structure and function of cell membranes, including neurons.
- A deficiency of this vitamin could increase the risk of suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart failure. It is important to prevent heart disease, as getting life insurance after a heart attack can be difficult.
- In older people, thiamine deficiency can become a problem due to reduced appetite and difficulty in eating. Age, malnutrition, alcoholism, liver and heart dysfunction, bariatric surgery, oxidative stress (lactic acidosis), refeeding syndrome, kidney failure, and critically ill patients can be risk factors associated with thiamine deficiency.
- The recommended daily dose is 1.1 mg for healthy adults. In children and pregnant women, the recommended daily intake is 0.3 mg and 1.5 mg, respectively.
- As for the foods that contain it, we have whole grains, wheat germ, yeast, soy flour, and pork.
It is a water-soluble vitamin that is actively absorbed through transporter proteins when ingested in a small quantity. In contrast, if it swallowed in high concentrations, it is passively absorbed in the small intestine. The storage of thiamine in the skeletal muscle, liver, heart, and kidneys is scarce, so it is necessary to guarantee a continuous supply since its half-life is 10-20 days.
RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2)
Vitamin B2 is the main component of the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN) cofactors. These coenzymes participate in the oxidation-reduction reactions of the metabolic pathways involved in the production of energy.
- They also act as crucial cofactors for the synthesis and conversion of other vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B6, and folic acid and participate in the synthesis of hemoglobin and other proteins involved in electron transfer, oxygen transport, and storage.
- On the other hand, riboflavin contributes to favor an optimal absorption and utilization of iron
- and has antioxidant properties participating in the glutathione redox cycle.
- Riboflavin is found naturally in cereals, green leafy vegetables, fatty meats, and fish. In addition, in western countries, milk and some dairy products are usually enriched with this vitamin.
Its recommended intake is 1.4 mg for adults. It is essential to note that this vitamin not stored in the body, and the excess that the body does not need to eliminate via the urinary tract. Sometimes if the amount excreted is large, the urine may turn bright yellow. Older people are more prone to B2 deficiency because aging causes a reduction in the absorption efficiency of this vitamin. In addition, as it continuously eliminated in the urine, its weakness is relatively common when the intake in the diet is insufficient.
Riboflavin deficiency can cause eye, mouth, and skin disorders and increased tiredness and fatigue. Additionally, riboflavin deficiency has linked to pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
- Other studies indicate that riboflavin supplementation is effective as a migraine treatment due to its role as a precursor of flavoproteins in the mitochondrial electron transport chain.
- Diets poor in this nutrient, diabetes, alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, and stress are some conditions that can cause a riboflavin deficiency.
NIACIN (VITAMIN B3)
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the two most essential coenzymes that the body uses for energy production: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). These coenzymes are involved in almost all oxidation-reduction reactions at the cellular level. Its derivatives, NADH and NAD +, and NADPH and NADP +, are essential in the energy metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and are also very important for cell differentiation, DNA repair, and cellular calcium mobilization.
- In addition to these functions, vitamin B3 contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, to normal psychological function, to the maintenance of the skin and mucous membranes in normal conditions, and reduces tiredness and fatigue.
- The biosynthesis of vitamin B3 takes place in the liver from the essential amino acid tryptophan, converted to nicotinic acid and later to nicotinamide. This synthesis is not entirely efficient (60 mg of tryptophan is required to synthesize 1 mg of niacin), so it is essential to incorporate B3 in the diet or through supplementation. Nicotinamide has the advantage of not causing the unwanted flusheffect of B3 like nicotinic acid, a fact to take into account when choosing a supplement of the said vitamin. Foods contain vitamin B3 from yeast, liver, poultry, legumes, green leafy vegetables, and nuts. The recommended daily allowance of niacin for adults is 16 mg per day.
PANTOTENIC ACID (VITAMIN B5)
- Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin needed to synthesize coenzyme A (CoA). This molecule acts as a cofactor for reactions involving the transfer of acetyl groups in the form of acetyl-CoA. It is essential for cellular respiration and contributes to the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. It participates in the biosynthesis of many vital compounds for the structure and function of brain cells, such as fatty acids, cholesterol, and acetylcholine. On the other hand, vitamin B5 contributes to the synthesis and normal metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D, some neurotransmitters, and the maintenance of average intellectual performance.
- As its name indicates “pantos,” are found everywhere, as there are small amounts of this vitamin in almost all foods. Hence, its lack is rare. Its primary sources include liver, wheat bran, legumes, eggs, and cheese. Calcium pantothenate is usually used in food supplements since it is the most heat-stable form of B5. The suggested daily amount for adults is 6 mg/day.
Given the importance of B5 as a component of CoA in the metabolism of fatty acids and steroid hormones, some scientists have shown its application in the treatment of skin lesions caused by acne with excellent results.
- On the other hand, the efficacy of vitamin B5 supplementation for the treatment of intestinal ileus after the surgical intervention has also demonstrated.
PYRIDOXINE (VITAMIN B6)
- The biologically active form of vitamin B6 is pyridoxal phosphate, which acts as a cofactor of various enzymes that intervene in multiple chemical processes in our body, such as the metabolism of glycogen, phospholipids and amino acids, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenaline, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), etc.). Vitamin B6 also plays a severe role in homocysteine metabolism, in the synthesis of hemoglobin, and in the normal functioning of the immune system.
- In various studies with animals and humans, a low intake of vitamin B6 is associated with several immune disorders. This may be due to decreased interleukin production and lymphocyte proliferation in people with this vitamin deficiency.
- On the other hand, certain studies demonstrate its role in the regulation of cerebral glucose
- and pyridoxal phosphate levels have also associated as biomarkers of inflammation.
- Although Vitamin B deficiency is not very common, excessive alcohol consumption and malnutrition in the elderly can cause a B6 defect caused by poor appetite and poor absorption. The recommended daily intake depends on age, gender, and other factors, but the NRV for adults is 1.4 mg in general terms. Among the foods that contain it in greater quantity, we have meats, whole grains, certain vegetables, bananas, and nuts.
Maintaining good levels of vitamin B6 is essential for cardiovascular health since, together with folic acid and vitamin B12, it helps lower homocysteine levels. Moreover, it contributes to normal psychological function and helps regulate hormonal activity. People with depression, stress, and sleep disturbances often take B6 supplements due to their involvement in synthesizing serotonin and melatonin. Finally, add that it is a vitamin widely consumed by athletes since it participates in energy metabolism, reduces tiredness and fatigue, and increases muscle performance. It favors the release of glycogen stored in the liver and muscles.
BIOTIN (VITAMIN B7)
Biotin, Vitamin B also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a crucial nutrient for energy metabolism, and its presence is vital for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. It participates as an enzymatic cofactor in transferring carbon dioxide from numerous essential carboxylases and decarboxylases in cell duplication processes. It also directly intervenes in the proper functioning of the nervous system and the metabolism of glucose, which makes it a fundamental substance when it comes to maintaining correct blood sugar levels.
- Biotin deficiency is not very common since it is present in many foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk. In addition, it can also synthesized by the bacteria present in the intestinal flora. However, deficiencies may appear when the body requires an extra supply, for example, during pregnancy, in people fed parenterally for an extended period, and in alcoholics or people with liver diseases. Interaction with anticonvulsant drugs can produce disorders in their metabolism and absorption.
The recommended daily amount in adults is only 50 micrograms, but supplementing with high doses of biotin (10-15 mg/day) is increasingly common due to its benefits in maintaining hair and skin under normal conditions since it favors the growth of rapidly reproducing tissues. On the other hand, some studies report that biotin supplementation can benefit from treating neuropathies, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.
FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B9)
- Vitamin B9, also identified as folic acid, is one of the essential vitamin B complex. Its active form is 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate. It performs as a receptor and donor of carbon, for example, of a methyl group (-CH3), thus synthesizing amino acids and nucleotides. It plays a vital role in the methylation of DNA, RNA, proteins, and phospholipids.
- Methylation is a process that could be very important in cancer prevention, so ensuring good methylation seems to be critical to this disease.
Folic acid participates as a coenzyme in the synthesis of methionine from homocysteine. Methionine is necessary for the addition of methyl groups that intervene in a multitude of biological reactions. A B9 deficiency correlated with insufficient methionine synthesis and homocysteine accumulation. High homocysteine levels in the blood are associated with severe cardiovascular and neurological diseases—the amount of homocysteine regulated by vitamin B9 and vitamin B6 and B12 participation.
- In addition to all these functions, folic acid contributes to the normal formation of blood cells, the normal functioning of the immune system, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, the maintenance of normal psychological functions, the process of cell division, and expected growth. Of maternal tissue during pregnancy.
It is found regularly in green leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, and some citrus fruits. It has become popular to reinforce cereals, flours, and grains with folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). The NRV for adults is 200 µg, but it recommended to increase your daily intake to 600 µg during pregnancy.
Taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of NTD.
- NTDs are severe congenital malformations of the central nervous system caused by a failed neural tube closure. It occurs early in pregnancy and is relatively common (1-8 cases per 10,000 live births). The most mutual conditions are spina bifida and anencephaly, the latter being fatal within a few days of delivery.
COBALAMIN (VITAMIN B12)
Vitamin B12, also identified as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin for the brain and nervous system (initial myelination, development, and maintenance of myelin). It contributes to energy metabolism, the normal functioning of the immune system, the synthesis of DNA, and the normal formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 supplementation became known in the 19th century as the only effective treatment for pernicious anemia and demyelinating central nervous system lesions.
- The primary food sources are meats, eggs, and dairy, and we can also find it in large quantities in liver and clams. The NRV for adults is 2.5 µg per day.
The absence of B12 in vegetables means that vegans must resort to supplementation to meet their daily needs. Similarly, the elderly may have to resort to B12 supplements because the incidence of malabsorption from gastrointestinal problems increases with age. A deficiency of B12 can cause certain disorders such as weakness, tiredness, megaloblastic anemia, hyperhomocysteinemia, severe neurological problems, dementia, depression, etc.
- Vitamin B12 is linked to the action of two essential enzymes: methylmalonyl-coenzyme A (CoA) mutase and methionine synthase, participating in the conversion of methylmalonic acid-CoA to succinyl-CoA and from homocysteine to methionine.
Once it reaches the blood, cobalamin binds to transport proteins (transcobalamins) to get to the liver. It is stored and transformed into two active forms that will distribute to the rest of the body: methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.
Many mutations can cause a B12 deficiency, even if your dietary intake is correct.
- Therefore, it is advisable to resort to those supplements that offer this vitamin in its active form.
Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, is a non-essential nutrient that comes from the metabolism of choline. Can find it naturally in plant sources such as beets, spinach, germ, cereal bran, and animal products such as shellfish. It participates in many cellular and biochemical processes as an osmoregulator, antioxidant, and lipid and protein metabolism regulator. Betaine is also a source of hydrochloric acid. In this sense, betaine supplementation offers support for digestion and ensures that our stomach maintains an acidic pH so that some vitamins, specifically B12, can be optimally absorbed.
Its most important role is exerted in the liver as a methyl group donor, converting homocysteine into methionine through a methylation reaction. Several studies have shown that high concentrations of homocysteine in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia) are related to the risk of suffering from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular accidents, Alzheimer’s, or chronic kidney disease. As we have discussed previously, a B9 or B12 deficiency can cause an increase in homocysteine levels, which can decrease by increasing betaine intake.