I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of the song that goes “don’t worry, be happy.” What better way to B-happy than to B-healthy with Vitamin B? There are 8 B vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 (more commonly known as vitamin B complex). These vitamins are abundant in green vegetables, whole or fortified grains, dairy and meats—allowing us to incorporate them into our diets very easily. Here are 5 reasons to convince you to get your Vitamin B:
1. Stay mentally sharp.
We lose about two percent of our brain volume every decade as we grow older. Although this is a normal part of aging, accelerated atrophy (the wasting of our cells/organ) is linked with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 reduce levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid that is associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t want to forget the memories or people that make you happy? Get enough Vitamin B.
2. Prevent heart disease.
If you think bagoong, patis, roast pork, and chicken adobo were the only risk factors for heart disease, think again. An elevated level of homocysteine (a non-protein a-amino acid that is not obtained from diet) is also a risk factor for heart disease. According to Harvard researchers, a high blood level of homocysteine triples the risk of heart attack and increases the chance of having a stroke. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, taking B vitamins can help reduce levels of homocysteine. And if homocysteine levels are reduced, so are the chances of you having a heart attack or stroke.
3. Preserve your vision.
It’s a little hard to B-happy if you can’t see anything, right? Thankfully, another Harvard study has revealed that B vitamins can also protect the eyes. In one of their studies, women who took daily folic acid, B6, and B12 supplements had a reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (an eye disease that causes vision loss; associated with aging). In addition, several studies have also found that long-term use of B vitamins, along with vitamins A, C, and E, can reduce the risk of cataracts.
4. Boost your energy.
Vitamin B12 is a great energy booster. This nutrient is vital to burning fats and carbohydrates for energy, the formation of healthy red blood cells, and the maintenance of the myelin sheaths that protect our nerves. Since Vitamin B12 has so many different functions, a deficiency can cause symptoms ranging from mild fatigue to severe exhaustion. So when you find yourself feeling a bit tired from doing chores around the house, it might be a good idea to take some extra vitamin B.
5. Lift your mood.
Don’t worry, B-happy. Folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 have been shown to improve mood (aka help make us happy). These nutrients play an indirect but important role in the formation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that help control mood and contribute to well-being and happiness.