The vitamin B complex is a generic term assigned to a large group of chemically nonrelated compounds. The known B vitamins are B-l (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-12 (cyanocobalamin), B-l3 (orotic acid), B-l5 (pangamic acid), B-17 (laetrile), biotin (vitamin H), cholin, folic acid, inositol (hexahyuroxycyclohexane) and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)
These vitamins are referred to as the B complex because they share certain characteristics in common. All are water-soluble. All are concerned with the biochemical processes of the body's metabolism. They constitute part of the enzyme system used for release of energy from foods. Their biochemical actions help in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. And an inadequate amount of one B vitamin in needed relationship to others in the complex constitutes an imperfect biochemical reaction in the metabolism or complete failure, depending on how severe the deficiency has become.
The richest source of a natural B complex is brewer's or Torula yeast (which, however, does not contain pangamic acid or laetrile). Some other natural sources of the complex are all legumes, unrefined grains, nuts and seeds. Synthetic sources of the complex are often difficult to assimilate because of poor digestion. And if unassimilated, synthetic sources will wash out of the body within six hours, turning urine a bright yellow. The vitamin B complex is assimilated more easily if it is taken with vitamins C and E, calcium and phosphorus.
Among the worst enemies of the complex are coffee, alcohol and sugar. Since alcoholics tend to consume large amounts of carbohydrates, they have an especially great need for the complex. Birth con trol pills (estrogen), insecticides, sleeping pills and sulfatype drugs will also destroy the B complex in the digestive tract. And because of their water solubility the vitamins must be replaced daily through proper diet.
The vitamin B complex is very important to the health of the nervous system. It also affects muscle tone as well as the digestive process. The vitamin B complex has been used successfully in treating hyperactive children plus people with addictions to drugs or alcohol.
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