All the B vitamins are key for energy and metabolism, from B1 to B12, but certain B vitamins also have other super-powers, helping us to relax, sleep better, burn calories, and to absorb other crucial B vitamins.
Overall, the B vitamins are crucial for heart function, as they supply our very mitochondria, the “engines” of our cells, with energy. They are crucial for the contraction of the heart, even.
Many people today are not getting enough B vitamins in their diet because vitamins and minerals are being sapped out of our soils at record speed. Add that with a lack of good bacteria in the gut and leaky gut issues from years of eating low quality grains (which all of us have been, especially before we knew better) and you can understand why so many of us are deficient in not only the B vitamins, but vitamins A, D, and K.
Today, let’s talk about how crucial B2, B5, and B6 are to your health and how we can make sure we are getting enough of these important nutrients for health.
B2: Extremely Important for the Liver, Skin, Hair, Nails, and to Absorb Other B Vitamins
B2 is called riboflavin. It is a crucial nutrient that many people aren’t getting enough of today, given our gluten free, Paleo, and low carbohydrate healthier eating strategies.
Other than fortified grains, B2 is primarily found in beef and eggs, so those at special risk for deficiencies are vegans.
B2 is crucial for pregnant women to get enough of in the diet. A lack of B2 can endanger the infant’s growth in the womb and cause preeclampsia as well. It’s also important to take just enough B2 as toxicity can occur in some cases and that, too, will cause liver damage. Looking to natural vitamin supplements and not synthetic vitamins can ensure that you get the proper ratio of these in the diet. B2 deficiency is very important to remedy, because it is crucial for heart and liver function.
B2 is very important for eye health, and many doctors prescribe B2 drops for patients with certain eye disorders. B2 also helps us absorb other B vitamins such as folate and B6.
Furthermore, B2 is one of the most crucial vitamins in the body for our natural antioxidant system by helping us recycle glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the body.
Getting more B2 in the diet will help protect you against free radical damage and keep your body young and less prone to deadly diseases of all kinds. Dark leafy greens are good for B2, especially beet greens and collard greens.
B5: For Anxiety and Sleeplessness, You Cannot Beat It
B5 is crucial for relaxing muscle and easing tension in the body. If you find a good natural source of B5 and take it before bed, you can literally feel this vitamin relaxing you. B5 is especially crucial for hormone regulation, adrenal function, and metabolism, so pre and postmenopausal women who strive to get more of this in the diet frequently report that they can finally lose weight again. B5 is great for stress of all kinds because it is very healing to our fight or flight glands, the adrenals.
Persons who should strive to get more B5 in the diet include alcoholics and recovering alcoholics, as alcohol literally sucks B5 right out of the body. Also, people with digestive disorders from leaky gut to IBS need more of this vitamin. Women on oral contraceptives need to take special care to get more B5 as these deplete this vitamin from the body.
B5 is hard to get in the diet, especially if you don’t eat foods such as chicken livers, yogurt, milk, salmon, sunflower seeds, avocados, or corn as these are B5-rich foods.
For this reason, many people, if they’re going to be deficient in a B vitamin, are deficient in B5. (This is also why so many people are finding it hard to sleep!)
If you notice that your wounds take a long time to heal, this is one sign of B-5 deficiency. In fact, because B-5 is so crucial for skin healing, it is also the best anti-aging vitamin there is.
B6: Crucial for Energy, Mood, and Your Brain
If you’re feeling depressed and low on energy, you might need to get more B6 in your diet. B6 is crucial for energy, cardiovascular function, and brain function. We need B6 to manufacture both serotonin and norepinephrine, which are our “feel good” neurotransmitters. B6 is also used to make melatonin—crucial for sleep and for regulating your circadian rhythms. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, a natural B5 and B6 supplement is definitely the way to go. Today, good natural supplement companies make high quality superfood powders that contain just enough of the B vitamins to supplement the modern diet without any risk of toxicity. And they come from plants—not synthetic stones.
B6 deficiency can be cause by refined carb consumption, as refined white flour leaches B6 out of the system. Vegetarians who look chiefly to grains for energy and protein, then, are at a special risk for B6 deficiency, as well as all the B vitamins.
Foods highest in B6 include grass fed beef and poultry, especially turkey, seeds such as sunflower and sesame, pistachios, pinto beans, and avocados.
Why Natural Vitamins –Not Synthetics—Are the Way to Go
Have you ever picked up a vitamin supplement at the store and wondered why it contained about 10,000 times the RDA for that nutrient?
That’s because they are synthetic vitamins. These are made from rocks and typically are not well absorbed by the body. Over the counter calcium supplements, for example, like calcium carbonate, are made of cheap gravel (carbonate is stone, you know) that clogs the arteries and can cause heart disease as well.
Natural vitamins come from ancient sea beds where vitamins and minerals are still plentiful. These are completely absorbed by the body and lack the other synthetic fillers that can pierce the gut and prevent you from absorbingall vitamins and minerals.
Good organic superfood powders are really food. Not rocks. They are blends of green foods and vegetable compounds rich in vitamins and minerals that fortify the body with energy, speed the metabolism, and prevent eye, heart, kidney, liver, decline
Always look to natural, organic supplements and don’t pollute your system with gravel.
Images provided by Gerry Morton.
Gerry Morton holds an MS in Nutrition and is an experienced athlete who has competed in numerous marathons and Ironman triathlons. He is lead educator for Greens Plus, an industry leader in superfood products since 1989. Read the Greens Plus blog at blog.greensplus.com. Gerry is an expert on the subjects of nutrition, peak performance, motivation, entrepreneurship, and empowerment. Stay connected via Twitter@greensplus and Facebook.