10 Vitamin B Benefits for Hair and More

Everyone knows that vitamin B is great for your hair, but did you realize how important it is to your entire body? B vitamins are part of everything from your brain to your liver, and letting your intake fall short is only selling yourself short.

Let’s take a look at all the ways vitamin B helps you thrive.

Hair Growth

The entire spectrum of B vitamins is critical to healthy, consistent hair growth. In general, the B vitamins help the body metabolize nutrients and convert them into new cells.

This is as true for hair follicles as for every part of the body. Without vitamin B, our bodies don’t receive the energy and nutrients they need to create new hair.

That’s why one of the first signs of vitamin B deficiency is hair loss. The follicles, unable to keep producing hair, shut down and die off. The damage can be permanent.

Metabolizes Sugar

Our bodies run on sugar, with most of our raw energy coming from glucose derived from carbohydrate sources. Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, is one of the most important compounds that let us perform this crucial function.

Without vitamin B1, we would soon literally starve to death, even if we were eating plenty of food. Our bodies would be unable to extract energy from what we eat, rendering it useless.

Helps Your Vision and Skin

Vitamin B is important to every part of the body, even our eyes. Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, helps keep our vision sharp. A riboflavin deficiency will quickly lead to itchy, watery, red eyes. In more severe cases, riboflavin-starved eyes can become overly sensitive to light, easily fatigued, or even go blind.

B2 is also used to produce new collagen, an important ingredient in skin and hair. Without enough collagen, a person’s skin begins to sag, wrinkle, and age. Vitamin B keeps us looking young!

Metabolizes Carbs, Fat, and Alcohol

Vitamin B1 metabolizes glucose into energy, but it’s niacin (vitamin B3) that helps us convert fats and even alcohol into energy. The full spectrum of B vitamins is required to fully metabolize our food; that’s why it’s so important to either use supplements, or eat a varied diet that includes all the major vitamins and minerals.

Produces Red Blood Cells

Several varieties of vitamin B have the important health function of producing red blood cells. Technically known as erythrocytes, red blood cells are responsible for carrying nutrients around the body.

Without red blood cells, our organs would simply shut down, starved of the nutrients they need to survive. And without enough B vitamins, we would not have red blood cells.

Keeps Testosterone High

Estrogen, too! Vitamin B, particularly pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6), are used in regulating the body’s sex hormones.

Testosterone and estrogen are of particular interest to people looking to maintain or restore healthy hair growth. The relationship between the sex hormones and hair is a tricky thing, with too much or too little of that applies to both men and women, making the whole thing very complicated. One thing experts agree on, though, is that getting plenty of vitamin B can only help.

Maintains Digestive Health

As you’ve seen, many of the B vitamins are important in the metabolism of food and nutrients. Most of that metabolism occurs in the stomach and digestive tract.

There are multiple vitamin B health benefits for the digestive system. Niacin is particularly helpful, as it not only breaks down carbohydrates, it also regulates the appetite and protects us from indigestion and nausea.

In addition, several other B vitamins are used by the body to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (collectively known as the three macronutrients) into nutrients and energy.

Keeps the Brain Running

Many people experience feelings of alertness and “pep” when they start taking vitamin B supplements. That’s partially because vitamin B helps turn food into energy. Healthy vitamin B levels allow the body to get the most out of food, supplying you with more energy than before.

The other reason is that vitamin B, especially vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), is an important compound in the brain. By making sure you have enough B12, you’re actually helping your brain to work better.

The reverse is also true. People suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency are often tired and depressed. In severe cases, they suffer from memory loss and even hallucinations.

Crucial to Fetal Growth

Pregnant women should be careful to take in enough vitamin B, along with everything else. Folic acid, also called folate or vitamin B9, helps a developing fetus form a healthy nervous system. It’s also important to their general growth, as B9 is used in cell division and DNA synthesis.

Although folate is plentiful in green leafy vegetables, like most B vitamins, it’s recommended that pregnant women supplement as well. It’s absolutely vital that a growing baby have access to enough vitamin B, or birth defects may occur.

Key Component of the Nervous System

In the human nervous system, nerves are surrounded by tissue called myelin. It’s a fatty tissue that serves as a layer of electrical insulation, keeping the nerves from interfering or being interfered with by the rest of the body.

Without the myelin sheath, our nerves would misfire constantly. Instructions sent from our brains would be lost in transit, leaving our bodies limp and unable to move.

Naturally, it’s a B vitamin that allows our bodies to form this all-important barrier. Specifically, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), which is found in most animal-based foods.

Helps You Stay Young

Finally, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants bond with free radicals in our systems, protecting us from their aging effects.

In effect, vitamin B6 keeps us young. Although it’s not a miracle drug and won’t let us live forever, if you see someone who looks far younger than their age, it’s likely due to plenty of antioxidants.

The Cornerstone of Health

As you can see, the entire spectrum of B vitamins is crucial to the proper functioning of the human body. They keep us supplied with energy. They keep our skin, hair, teeth, and nails healthy. They keep us mentally capable and our vision sharp, and all sorts of other things that allow us to survive and thrive.

They do all this from before we’re born, and throughout our lives. So, give thought to how you’re getting your B vitamins. If you’re not getting enough, do yourself a favor and take supplements.

You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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