B7 is Heaven, and B9 is Fine
Posted by Kate W on Friday, May 25th, 2012
We have finally reached the conclusion of our week devoted the wonderful world of B vitamins. Today we’ll be discussing vitamins B7 and B9. Were you looking forward to learning all about B12? Don’t worry; we already covered it last week as a little sneak preview of things to come.
Vitamin B7 is also known as biotin and, strangely enough vitamin H; it is still firmly in the B family though. Like other B vitamins it is water soluble which has its advantages and disadvantages. It flushes out of the system as a matter of course, so you do need to ingest it constantly in order to avoid deficiency. However, because of the lack of buildup in your system, it won’t cause toxicity if you ingest more than the recommended amount.
Also like other B vitamins, biotin helps with the body’s metabolic processes, though it performs the added function of helping the body transfer carbon dioxide. And again, as in the case of other B vitamins, it is found in a vast array of foods, though it is located in slightly higher quantities in some. These are: avocado, cauliflower, cheddar cheese, liver, peanuts, pork, salmon, yeast, whole-wheat bread, raspberries and egg yolks. Interestingly, egg whites actually reduce the effectiveness of biotin in the body, so people who only eat egg yolks for many years and forego yolks may be at risk for deficiency.
You may also see labels touting the presence of vitamin B7 or biotin in other areas of your drugstore; specifically, on bottles for skincare and haircare products. While it’s true that B7 does contribute to healthy hair, skin, and fingernails, it cannot be absorbed through the hair or skin. Thus, the benefits of these products are superficial at best.
Vitamin B9 (also known as folic acid) is a supplement I am very familiar with. I took them all through my pregnancy, along with calcium supplements, prenatal vitamins, and a healthy dose of prescription anti-nausea medication to keep them all down. Pregnant women need folic acid to prevent major birth defects of the fetus’ brain or spine, including spina bifida and anencephaly. It’s great for mom, too; folic acid can increase brain function, which is key, as pregnancy hormones can rob you of your memory and attention span. Additionally, it helps synthesize and repair DNA and RNA, aids in rapid cell division and growth, and assists in the production of healthy red blood cells. Folic acid can be found in a plethora of foods, but it is especially prevalent in leafy green vegetables. Just be sure not to overcook them, as that can strip the food of its folic acid content. If you’re not a big fan of the texture of leafy green things the way I am, you can always try a parsley, spinach and kale smoothie.
I hope you have enjoyed B-vitamin week! As you can see, this family of vitamins is integral to the functioning of the human body as a whole. Each individual function comes together to help fuel our bodies and make us stronger. If you eat a varied and balanced diet, you shouldn’t have any worries about deficiency, but individual supplements taken together or a complex B-vitamin can make a major difference in your mood and energy level.
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