The Importance of B Vitamins

Part of staying healthy is ensuring proper nutrition. This is true at all ages, but is particularly important for older people, who may have decreased appetite or an inability to chew or swallow easily.

Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, a government-approved PACE program, helps frail seniors get the best possible nutrition. We not only have nutritionists on staff, but we offer our participants between two and three meals every day, and even deliver meals to their homes if they need it.

One aspect of nutrition we emphasize is getting enough vitamins to stay healthy. B vitamins are particularly important, especially if the senior has stopped eating much meat.

There are eight types of B vitamin, each performing a fundamental bodily function. Generally speaking, the B vitamin complex is needed to ensure that the body’s cells are functioning properly. In particular, they aid the body in creating new blood cells, maintaining healthy brain cells, healthy skin cells, and helping the body transfer food into energy.

The eight types of B vitamin are:

Vitamin B1 – thiamine

Vitamin B1 is required for creating specific brain neurotransmitters, producing fatty acids, synthesizing specific hormones, and breaking down carbohydrates.

Vitamin B2 – riboflavin

Vitamin B2 is required for energy production, converting tryptophan into niacin, converting vitamin B6 into a coenzyme required by the body, and for the production of energy.

Vitamin B3 – niacin

Vitamin B3 is converted by the body into the coenzyme NAD, which is required for more than 400 essential enzyme reactions. These different enzyme reactions help with the metabolic process and with communication between cells. They also aid the expression of DNA within cells, and with the transformation of the energy contained in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into a form that can be used by the body.

Vitamin B5 – pantothenic acid

Vitamin B5 is required by the body to create a variety of coenzymes, proteins and fats. It is also carried via red blood cells throughout the body in order to provide energy.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is required by the body for more than 100 essential enzyme reactions. These enzyme reactions are required for healthy brain development, breaking down carbohydrates and fats, and supporting the immune system.

Vitamin B7 – biotin

Vitamin B7 is used by the body to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It also used to aid in the formation of DNA, and to help the body’s cells communicate.

Vitamin B9 – folate

Vitamin B9 is especially well-known for its ability to lower the risk of birth defects affecting the brain or spinal cord during pregnancy. In addition, it is fundamental for DNA replication, proper cell division, and for the metabolism of both vitamins and amino acids.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is required for creating new red blood cells, maintaining proper brain and neurological function, and for DNA synthesis. It is also needed for proper fat and protein metabolism.

The eight B vitamin forms mentioned above, taken together, are known as the B vitamin complex. The importance of the B vitamin complex for maintaining proper health is difficult to overstate. A deficiency in any one of the B vitamins could lead to severe health problems, both psychological and physical. Fortunately, B vitamin supplements are easy to obtain in any pharmacy. According to current sturesearchdies, the average adult in the US is deficient in at least one B vitamin. Nevertheless, studies have shown that most people achieve a greater benefit by taking a B vitamin complex supplement than by taking a supplement consisting of the single B vitamin form in which they are deficient. The full complex appears to work together in a synergistic way, allowing the body to absorb the specific B vitamin forms it requires, in ratios which are appropriate for maintaining optimal health.

Beacon of LIFE was created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.

Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.

We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.

Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.

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