With all the headline news about immune function, the B vitamins have been on my mind. I know that might sound strange. After all, if I were to ask you to name a few vitamins that are critical for immune health, you might say vitamins A, C or D. If you’re like many people, the B vitamins may be far from your mind. It’s understandable. Despite being well known to nutrition experts, the immune benefits of B vitamins seem almost invisible to everyone else.
A flashback to my early product development days
You may be surprised to learn that the B vitamins and I have a long history dating back to my first job with the company (then Nutrilite Products, Inc.). I joined the company in 1964 as the assistant to then president, Dr. Stefan Tenkoff. It was a year of rebuilding, and teamwork was needed more than ever. Our strategy was simple. Dr. T (as he was known inside the company) focused on day-to-day operations and manufacturing, while I focused on developing new Nutrilite™ products and bringing them to market. One such product was a B Complex supplement.
B vitamins are on my mind, again
B vitamins are again on my mind mostly because they are overlooked in today’s stories about immune health. Yes, it’s important to learn about immune-supporting nutrients like vitamins A, C, D and E, and the mineral zinc, but it’s just as important to include the B vitamins in the conversation. A few basics may be all you need to appreciate the role of the B vitamins. More importantly, it may be the inspiration you need to take action to fuel your body (and encourage others do the same).
Think of the family of B vitamins as the ultimate team players. Working together, they are used in hundreds of biochemical pathways, and produce a wide range of bioactive compounds that help all the cells in your body function.
In short, when you consume an optimal amount of B vitamins every day, you help your body to maintain a healthy immune system. If you need more inspiration to ensure an adequate intake, consider these impressive actions:
- Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps recharge glutathione (one of the body’s most important antioxidants), so it plays a role in neutralizing free radicals that can harm cells.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with other B vitamins. It’s really a team player!
- Niacin (vitamin B3) helps maintain healthy DNA—the genetic blueprint found in all cells—needed for healthy cell division.
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is needed for the body to produce a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including the immune-supporting vitamins A and D.
- Vitamin B6 helps the body produce enzymes involved in the immune system.
- Biotin plays a central role in energy metabolism.
- Folic acid helps maintain a healthy production of red blood cells, critical for carrying oxygen-rich blood to tissues.
- Vitamin B12, like folic acid, helps maintain a healthy production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
The bottom line
If you’re ready to increase your intake of B vitamins, you don’t have to overthink it. To me, it’s a simple two-step process. First, include a variety of wholesome foods in your diet, foods like lean meats, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Next, include Nutrilite™ Double X supplement or another high-quality supplement that provides an optimal amount of all eight B vitamins to fill any potential nutrient gaps.
I can’t think of a better time to start than now.