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This page contains general information about 'The B Vitamins'

B Vitamins - There are eight universally recognised B vitamins although some lists have as many as twenty two! They are sometimes also referred to as the vitamin B complex.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is necessary for the body to properly metabolize and process carbohydrates, fat, and protein, and is critical for the healthy metabolic function of mitochondrial ATP syntheses, the most basic unit of energy that fuels every cell in the human body. Without enough vitamin B1, the body can not transform this sugar into usable energy. Vitamin B1 is necessary for proper blood formation, the production of hydrochloric acid, and proper digestive function. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) supplementation can also benefit energy, growth, normalized appetite, learning, cognitive function, smooth and skeletal muscle tone of and including the intestines, stomach and heart. Vitamin B1 can also act as an antioxidant thereby giving protective benefit, maintaining and promoting health and countering the damaging effects of aging, alcohol consumption, smoking and pollution, and may also improve glucose tolerance and inhibit arterial blockages especially for diabetics.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflaven)Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, regulates red blood cell growth and helps maintain a strong immune system by protecting the body from free-radical damage. Riboflavin also promotes healthy hair, skin, nails, and vision. You also need riboflavin to produce flavin mononucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide, two enzymes that help the body convert fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy. Without enough riboflavin, these two enzymes are unable to work together to ensure your cells can both reproduce correctly and supply the body with the fuel it needs stay alive.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)Niacin, or vitamin B3, works with other B vitamins to produce energy in the cells, and to control circulation, hormones, glucose, and hydrochloric acid in the body. Niacin also works intimately with riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) to maintain healthy skin, and ensure the smooth operation of the nervous and digestive systems. Niacin is also useful in treating dizziness and ringing in the ears, Raynauds syndrome, PMS, headaches, cramps, and circulation problems. Niacin is a vasodilator meaning it makes your blood vessels widen, which in turn leads to improved circulation.Vitamin B4 (Adenine)Adenine combines with the sugar ribose to form adenosine, which in turn can be bonded with from one to three phosphoric acid units, yielding the three nucleotides adenosine monophosphate , adenosine diphosphate, and adenosine triphosphate . These adenine derivatives perform important functions in cellular metabolism. Adenine is one of four nitrogenous bases utilized in the synthesis of nucleic acids . A modified form of adenosine monophosphate is thought to be a secondary messenger in the propagation of many hormonal stimuli. Adenine is an integral part of the structure of many coenzymes.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)Vitamin B5 is of paramount importance for human growth, reproduction and many normal bodily functions. Vitamin B5 helps breakdown nutrients, synthesize antibodies, and manufacture vitamin D. It also enhances the healing of wounds by significantly lessening the time required for the entire healing process. Pantothenic acid plays an important role in numerous biological reactions, including the production of energy, the catabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, the synthesis of fatty acids, lipids, cholesterol and steroid hormones, and the production of both coenzyme A, and the cellular antioxidant glutathione. It is the most important constituent of coenzyme A, which helps in many metabolic pathways and is required for the transport of fats to and from cells. Without it, fats could not be metabolized or broken down to energy. In line with this, carbohydrates and proteins are converted to energy, glucose is manufactured in the body, fats are broken down, and cholesterol as well as certain necessary hormones are synthesized. Vitamin B5 is crucial as well to the production of red blood cells as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands, those small glands that rest above the kidneys. Aside from all those already mentioned, Vitamin B5 supplements are sometimes used to help treat symptoms of allergy and a wide range of skin conditions.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)Vitamin B6 is used for people with stress conditions, fatigue, headaches, nervous disorders, anemia, and low blood sugar or diabetes, and in men for prostatitis, low sex drive, or hair loss. With its many functions, there is also a wide range of clinical uses of vitamin B6, being most beneficial when symptoms and diseases are related to a pyridoxine/pyridoxal-5-phosphate depletion or deficiency.

Recently there has been widespread use of higher doses of B6, usually from 50-200 mg. per day (though some studies use 500 mg. per day of pyridoxine in time-release form) for premenstrual symptoms, especially water retention, which can lead to breast soreness and emotional tension. Pyridoxine has been very helpful in this role, probably because of its diuretic effect through its influence on sodium-potassium balance and its mysterious influence on the hormonal system. Vitamin B6 also helps with the acne that often develops premenstrually, as well as with dysmenorrheal, or menstrual pain; magnesium is usually used as well in all of these menstrual-related problems. In pregnancy, B6 has been helpful in many women for controlling the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, which some authorities feel is highly related to vitamin B6 deficiency.

It seems that whenever there are increased levels of oestrogen in the body, more B6 is required. This occurs not only in pregnancy but also for women who take birth control pills and those postmenopausal women on oestrogen treatment as well. It is likely that some of the emotional symptoms experienced by many women on the pill, such as fatigue, mood swings, depression, and loss of sex drive, may be related to a deficiency of B6 and thereby helped by supplementation.

Vitamin B7, also Vitamin H (Biotin)The primary role of biotin lies in its ability to metabolize fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Biotin works as a vital part of several enzymes (where it functions as a coenzyme) involved in energy metabolism. Aside from helping in synthesis processes, biotin also helps the body utilize blood sugar (glucose) for its energy needs. As a dietary supplement, the major benefit of biotin is improving and strengthening hair and nails. Biotin supplements can improve and restore thin, splitting, or brittle fingernails and healthy hair. Biotin has also been used to fight alopecia in children and adults, a condition characterised by partial or complete loss of hair.

Vitamin B8 (Inositol)Inositol has been used as a nutritional supplement in the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PMS and fibroid tumors. It has also been shown to promote restful sleep if taken immediately before bed. Inositol may also promote liver health and help to prevent hardening of the arteries. Among other things, it has been demonstrated as well to promote healthy skin and hair, and helps to lower cholesterol levels, promotes healthy female hormones and aid in the prevention of eczema. Inositol can improve heart health by increasing fat and cholesterol metabolism, and strengthen a healthy liver by removing fat from hepatic tissues.

Vitamin B9, also Vitamin M and Vitamin B-c (Folic acid)Folic acid is an essential vitamin that is needed by our body for cell growth and division, DNA replication and protein synthesis in all cells. Folic acid deficiency can lead to many different diseases and disorders which include heart attacks, colon cancer, depression, dementia, hearing loss, as well as cleft lip and palate and neural tube defects in babies. The principal clinical uses of folic acid supplementation are in the prevention and treatment of neural tube defects, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, cervical dysplasia, and depression. Folic acid is used to prevent certain types of anemia caused by poor diet, pregnancy, alcoholism, liver disease, certain stomach and intestinal problems, kidney dialysis and other conditions.

Semi-Vitamin B10 (Para-AminoBenzoic Acid PABA)The PABA vitamin provides many health benefits that can be hardly found in other nutrients. First and foremost, it is considered an antioxidant so that it can eliminate and neutralize free radicals that can potentially cause cumulative cell damage and hasten ageing. It has also been found to play a crucial part in limiting depression (which can result from PABA deficiency), reducing fatigue, and reducing inflammatory effects that are related to osteoarthritis. The effects of PABA as a nutrient and antioxidant involve positive and notable effects on external appearance. PABA has been clinically proven effective in reducing the onset of wrinkles, keeping skin smooth and healthy, and even restoring gray hair to what it once was.

Semi-Vitamin B11Vitamin B11: pteryl-hepta-glutamic acid - chick growth factor, which is a form of folic acid. Later found to be one of five folates! (Inserted for numerical continuity!!)

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper production of blood platelets and red and white blood cells, the manufacture of vital substances needed for cell function, and the metabolism of nutrients necessary for cell growth. It participates in a variety of cellular reactions to release energy from carbohydrates, fats and protein. Vitamin B12 helps maintain the myelin sheath that insulates nerve fibers from each other. People with vitamin B12 deficiency show irregular destruction of the myelin sheaths, which eventually causes paralysis and death. Vitamin B12 levels decrease with age and various measures of cognitive impairment are associated with reduced B12 status. The most important use of vitamin B12 is to treat the symptoms of pernicious anemia. Vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B12 are critical to the health of the nervous system and to a process that clears homocysteine from the blood. Vitamins B12, B6, and B9 (folate) work closely together to control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations are considered to be a risk factor for vascular disease and birth defects such as neural tube defects.

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