Trying to navigate daily stressors including work-life balance, maintaining healthy social relationships, eating properly, getting an adequate amount of sleep and keeping up with physical health can be overwhelming. During these times of stress our body is impacted on several levels. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to inflammation in the body, reduced immune function and depletion of key nutrients. We quickly use up our stores of vitamins and minerals when under a constant amount of stress. Most of us know that magnesium is depleted but did you know key B vitamins can be too?
B’s don’t usually get as much attention as A, C and D, but they are key! Some B vitamins can be synthesized in the gut, but since they are water soluble and not retained in large quantities in the body, deficiency in one or many is common. This is especially true in times of stress, malnutrition, nutrient depletion, or antibiotic use. Since the B’s work across thousands of biochemical processes, deficiency symptoms can be wide ranging. The most common signs that one or more B vitamins are lacking include, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, irritability, depression and nervousness, all of which can be present during times of stress!
Let’s break down each of the B’s to show how important each of them are:
Vitamin B1 Thiamin
Converts carbohydrates into energy and supportive to the heart and nervous system (that stress response again!)
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Supports healthy vision, energy and red blood cell production
Vitamin B3 Niacinamide
Helps support nerve function and skin health
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid
The stress-reducing B vitamin, helps support the production of cortisol and other stress hormones
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine
Helps to break down hormones in the liver and maintain healthy skin which may help reduce acne, sugar cravings and mood swings.
Vitamin B7 Biotin
Associated with healthy hair, skin and nails.
Vitamin B9 Folate
Important for DNA and red blood cell production
Essential for maintaining energy and contributing to good concentration.
Choline and Inositol
Are not B vitamins, but they do behave like them! Choline, helps convert homocysteine to methionine. An abundance of homocysteine may have a negative impact on the heart. It is also critical for making up acetylcholine a key neurotransmitter in the brain. Inositol, sometimes known as B8 works with choline to maintain healthy cell membranes. Additionally, it helps to promote healthy blood sugar and mood balance.
When choosing a B complex, there are a of options! Below is a summary of options available from Health First.
Two capsules provide adults with their daily recommended intake of each of the B’s. It contains all the body ready (active forms) of each of the key B vitamins plus choline. Additional inositol makes it perfect for those who want a highly bioavailable B complex that best supports you in times of stress.
An introductory B complex containing 100 mg of most of the core B vitamins, plus 1,000 mcg of folate, 100 mcg of methyl B12 and 400 mcg of. The addition of maca helps to further support stress and energy.
The most famous of the B’s found primarily in animal sources. For vegans and vegetarians additional B12 may need to be recommended alongside a B complex. The lozenge format of these tablets helps to ensure adequate absorption.
Unfortunately, B vitamins are depleted more quickly during times of stress and today our teens are experiencing more than their fair share. A B complex is a great option for teens to support their growth, energy and stress response. One capsule provides teens with their daily recommended dose of each of the key B vitamins, plus inositol and choline in their body ready form.