The B-complex vitamins are a collection of eight vitamins essential, which are essential for the proper functioning of various metabolic processes. Since most of these vitamins can’t be stored in the body, adequate consumption from diet or supplementation is important for optimal health.
Although it’s a misconception that B-complex vitamins could directly fuel the body with energy, deficiencies can make people feel tired. This is because B vitamins are needed in the processes of harvesting energy-yielding nutrients, including carbohydrates, fat and protein.
In addition, some B vitamins such as vitamin B12 are required in fundamental processes that keep us alive, such as making new DNA. Similarly, vitamin B6 is a co-factor for more than 140 metabolic reactions in the cell. Without enough B6, processing amino acid from dietary protein and the breakdown of fatty acids from fat-containing foods are impaired. Moreover, synthesis of essential hormones and neurotransmitters could be affected, which lead to dire consequences ranging from reduced immunity to cognitive decline.
Apart from dietary B vitamins, vitamin D synthesized in the skin under sunlight is also crucial for metabolism. One of the well-known functions of vitamin D is to maintain calcium homeostasis and strong bones. But more than that, vitamin D deficiency is associated with diabetes and insulin resistance. Similarly, adequate calcium intake lowers the risk of diabetes in some populations, on top of reducing fractures.
Clinical evidence has suggested that people who are prediabetic could benefit from combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation, which helps regulate glucose metabolism and prevent diabetes progression.
Importantly, vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are not uncommon in healthy people, even those who live in environments with sunlight. This is because sunscreen with a SPF 8 and above could prevent UV transmission through the skin, which blocks vitamin D synthesis. As such, supplementations may be needed even in people who are not at risk of metabolic diseases.