From A to zinc, there are a full range of vitamins and minerals that support your immune system. But when it comes to vitamin B, there are actually eight different important B vitamins that you need. Today, let’s break down each one, why they’re important for your health, and how to get more in your diet so you’re living your healthiest, strongest self.
The 8 Types of B Vitamins You Need to Know
When it comes to many nutrients, your body is able to store up a surplus and draw from that surplus whenever it needs. Not so with B1 (thiamin). Your body can only store very small, minuscule amounts of B1 in your liver, so getting enough thiamin every day is important for your health.
Every single cell in your body needs thiamin for basic functioning, including creating the energy that each cell needs to do their jobs.
B1 has been linked with improved cognitive function, reduced risk of Alzherimer’s disease and dementia, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced cancer risks.
When it comes to dosage, adult men need a minimum of 1.2mg of B1 a day. Adult women need at least 1.1 mg daily (this jumps to 1.4 mg if you’re a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding).
Top sources for vitamin B1 include whole grains, beans, beef, eggs, kale and cauliflower.
This is one of the few B vitamins that you can make on your own: Researchers have found that the beneficial bacteria in your gut generate small amounts of vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Unfortunately, you need more than that amount for optimal health.
Vitamin B2 plays an essential role in the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that may:
- Reduce overall oxidative stress in your body (thus reducing the risks of oxidative stress-related diseases like arthritis and diabetes)
- Improve liver health
- Fight autoimmune disease
- Reduce the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory diseases
More directly, riboflavin has been studied as a treatment for migraines, hypertension, vision problems and more!
Adult women need a minimum of 1.1 mg daily, while men need at least 1.3 mg a day. When it comes to these B vitamins, the best dietary sources include:
Vitamin B3 (niacin) is a powerhouse, used by 400 different enzyme processes to do everything from repair and heal damaged DNA to turning the food you eat into usable energy.
Maintaining proper levels of these B vitamins has been linked to cancer prevention, diabetes prevention and improved skin health.
It may also be useful in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Men need at least 16 mg a day. Women need a minimum of 14 mg daily, but this number rises if you’re pregnant (18 mg a day) or breastfeeding (17 mg a day).
Foods that are naturally rich in vitamin B3 include red meat, poultry, fish, grain and cereal products (e.g. bread, brown rice, etc.), and bananas.
B5 (pantothenic acid)
Pantothenic acid is quite the mouthful, but it plays a big role in your body’s ability to break down fat and cholesterol.
Researchers have also found that it speeds up your body’s natural healing processes, with studies finding that supplementation of these B vitamins speeds up recovery from skin wounds.
It may even help to reduce the appearance of scar tissue.
Adults need a minimum of 5 mg of vitamin B5 every day.
Some of the best foods to add to your diet if you want more pantothenic acid include:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Seeds and nuts (especially sunflower seeds and peanuts)
- Leafy vegetables like cabbage and broccoli
A deficiency in vitamin B6 is associated with increased inflammation in the immune system. Thus, of all the B vitamins, this is one of the most important specifically when it comes to strengthening your immunity.
Pyridoxine may also support cognitive health and guard against brain health decline as we age.
Adult men and women need at least 1.3 mg a day.
However, the amount of vitamin B6 needed may jump exponentially when used therapeutically. For example, when used to help treat vision loss in senior citizens, doctors may suggest a dose as high as 50 mg a day. (Always consult your health professional when using vitamins above the recommended dose).
Foods high in vitamin B6 include bananas, spinach, avocado, potatoes and hazelnuts.
Biotin is widely popular for its benefits to your skin and hair health and appearance. But its benefits go far deeper than your superficial beauty.
Biotin deficiencies have been linked with everything from seizures to depression, and it’s often used to prevent cognitive problems.
Both men and women need a minimum of 30 mcg of biotin daily.
If you prefer to get your vitamin B7 through food instead of supplements, enjoy raspberries, eggs, foods made with yeast (e.g. baked goods), and cauliflower.
B9 (folate [folic acid])
While you can find folate naturally in foods, such as whole grains and dark, leafy greens, it’s one of the few B vitamins where it’s absolutely better to use a supplement in addition.
That’s because B9 supplements, specifically in the form of folic acid, are easier to absorb than the folate found in whole foods.
One of the most important things that folate does is that it helps to make DNA and repair DNA.
Thus, researchers hypothesize that it’s critical for a healthy immune response and disease prevention.
Adults need at least 400 mcg a day.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should talk to their doctor because folate levels are very important for healthy child development.
Your body needs vitamin B12 for the creation of red blood cells. This makes cobalamin foundational not just for your immunity, but as the very building blocks upon which the rest of your body’s health rests!
Proper B12 levels have been linked to the prevention of a wide array of chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, dementia, and depression.
For optimal health and immunity, aim for at least 2.4 mcg of B12 a day. Of all the B vitamins discussed in today’s guide, B12 is the most difficult to get if you follow a plant-based diet. That’s because B12 is predominantly found in animal products like meat and poultry. Thankfully, your body can readily absorb the forms of B12 commonly used in supplements.
More Ways to Support Your Health
Your diet is just one piece in your immune system’s wellness puzzle. Thymic proteins are another piece. It is the job of these thymic proteins to train the body’s immune system to effectively seek and identify diseased cells. Unfortunately, your levels of thymic proteins fall as you get older. BioPro-Plus 500 offers a full dose of thymic proteins to help restore your body’s natural levels. Maximize your health by combining B vitamins with BioPro-Plus 500.
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