The Importance of a B-Complex Supplement
According to the CDC, heart disease is responsible for 610,000 deaths in the United States every year – that is 1 in every 4 deaths, - and heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women . Yet, if you go to your doctor and discuss the role of vitamin B in preventing diseases, they are rarely trained in the subject.
For example, vitamin B2, or riboflavin, has been shown to lower homocysteine levels . Homocysteine is an amino acid linked with heart disease, so if you can lower it, you could, in turn, reduce the risk of heart disease . Additionally, the rest of the B vitamin spectrum offers a broad spectrum of benefits ranging from anxiety and mood to reducing the chance of Alzheimer’s disease and protecting vision.
However, many people in the United States are deficient in B vitamins, particularly B12, especially within people who are in their older years . This article will examine what a “B-complex” is, who is at risk of B vitamin deficiencies, and the benefits of B-complex supplements.
What is a B-Complex Supplement?
A B-complex supplement typically includes the following B vitamins:
- B1 (thiamine): Thiamine plays a vital role in metabolism by helping convert nutrients into energy and metabolizing carbohydrates .
- B2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin helps convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant .
- B3 (niacin): Niacin plays a role in cellular signaling, metabolism, and DNA production and repair .
- B5 (pantothenic acid): Pantothenic acid helps your body acquire energy from food and is also involved in cholesterol and hormone production .
- B6 (pyridoxine): Pyridoxine is involved in amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production, and the creation of neurotransmitters .
- B7 (biotin): Biotin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism and regulates gene expression .
- B9 (folate): Folate is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells, and proper cell division .
- B12 (cobalamin): Cobalamin is vital for neurological function, DNA production, and red blood cell development .
Though some of these B vitamins may have similar functions, they are each unique in their own way and require different amounts. Also, is it convenient that a B-complex supplement contains all these B vitamins.
Who is at Risk of B Vitamin Deficiencies?
Because B vitamins are water-soluble, they are not stored in the body, so you either have to eat a combination of perfectly balanced meals each day, or you must take a B-complex supplement to ensure you are receiving adequate amounts of these vitamins.
However, there are certain groups of people who need more B vitamin supplementation, and this section will review those groups.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women
During pregnancy, the demand for vitamins B12 and B9 increases dramatically to support healthy fetal development . Therefore, when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding, supplementing with at least B-complex vitamin is crucial. It has been shown that a B12 or B9 deficiency can cause severe neurological damage and congenital disabilities in the infant or fetus .
Healthmasters’ Ultimate Prenatal Vitamin is an excellent supplement for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, it is good to take additional B9, and Healthmasters’ Folate Max is a great B9 supplement. Pregnant women can take both products simultaneously.
As you age, both your body’s ability to absorb B12 and your body’s appetite decreases, which can make it exceptionally difficult for older individuals to get enough B12 through only their diet. This is because the body’s stomach acid plays a vital role in B12 absorption.
One study found that 10-30% of people over 50-years-old do not produce enough stomach acid to absorb B12 effectively . Also, a deficiency in B12 has been related to increased rates of depression and mood disturbances in seniors  , and deficiencies of vitamin B6 and B9 are also common in the elderly population  .
Individuals with Certain Medical Conditions
Numerous studies have shown those with the following symptoms have more susceptible to developing nutrient deficiencies: cancer, anorexia, Crohn’s disease, alcoholism, hypothyroidism, celiac disease, and specific genetic mutations      .
The MTHFR genetic mutation in specific individuals can determine how efficiently they can metabolize folate, and people with the mutation can have B9 deficiencies . There are medical tests available to determine how to tell whether you have this mutation.
Vegetarians and Vegans
Since B12 is naturally abundant in animal products, e.g., meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood, vegans and vegetarians are at risk of developing a B12 deficiency if they do not supplement .
People Taking Certain Drugs
Proton pump inhibitors are medications which lower stomach acid, and since stomach acid has a direct role with vitamin B12 absorption, people on such medication can develop a B12 deficiency . Also, metformin, a common drug for diabetes, has been shown to decrease levels of B12 and B9 . Finally, birth control medications have been shown to deplete the body of B12, B9, B6, and B2 .
In summary, it is crucial for people with certain medical conditions, diets, and medications take a B-complex supplement to prevent deficiencies of B vitamins.
Health Benefits of B-Complex Supplements
Even though, as described above, it is essential for certain factions of people to take a B-complex supplement, it is also helpful in general to take a B-complex vitamin. This section will explain several benefits of taking a B-complex.
Some studies have linked B-complex supplements to an increase in mood as well as a positive mental outlook. A 2010 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found men who took a high-dose B-complex and a mineral supplement experienced improved general mental health, improved stress ratings, and enhanced performance on cognitive tests . Another study found when adults took a multivitamin with high levels of B-complex vitamins they had reduced stress and mental fatigue .
During a 2013 study, researchers found that adults who took a B-complex supplement for 60-days had significant improvements in mental health regarding depression and anxiety symptoms .
Additionally, I found two studies which claim deficiencies in B12, B6, and B9 may contribute to an increased risk of depression  .
To summarize this section, it seems B-complex supplements play an imperative role in contributing to a positive mental outlook, even if the individual is not deficient in a B vitamin.
By now, I hope you have a well-rooted understanding of why it is essential and beneficial to be taking a B-complex supplement. Healthmasters’ B Complex is a great B-complex supplement which features the best forms of B vitamins back by research. Some forms of B vitamins are not easily absorbable, but when Healthmasters was researching and developing their B-complex, they chose to create the formula using the highest quality and most absorbable ingredients possible.
If you have any questions about Healthmasters’ B Complex, please feel free to call us at 800.726.1834