So, hopefully, you have just read about the benefits of vitamin B complex, located here. However, there is something not right! The vitamin Bs listed were 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 12. Together, they comprise a powerful trio of nutrients covering a wide range of health benefits, ranging from addressing digestive issues to boosting energy and bolstering brain function. What happened to the other vitamin Bs: vitamin B4 (also known as adenine), vitamin B8 (inositol), vitamin B10 (para amino benzoic acid – PABA), and vitamin B11 (salicylic acid)?
Short answer: These are no longer considered or labeled vitamins because they no longer fit the official definition of a vitamin (Being essential and required for normal human growth and are required to be obtained by diet because they can’t be manufactured by the human body). However, many are still in use and recommended for a variety of health needs as other nutritional supplements.
Let’s look at each of these four supplemental B vitamins, focusing on how each one of them is responsible for helping us to continue operating at peak (hopefully) efficiency:
1.) Vitamin B4 (Adenine or Carnitine or Choline)
Vitamin B4 is a distant member of the B-complex family and is known as one of the “lipotropic” factors. Lipotropic means that choline possesses properties that prevent the excessive accumulation of fat in the liver. Adenine is most known for its role in speeding up the process by which energy is manufactured in our body. Being a purine derivative, it plays a crucial role in protein synthesis and accompanying chemical processes. Furthermore, it is an important component of both DNA and RNA, which are nucleic acids that provide our genetic information.
Without vitamin B4, cell formation and the healthy development of our body tissues would likely be impaired; along with that, our immune system could possibly be compromised, hindering the ability of our body to fight off viruses and infections. It can also play an important role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, stopping the degeneration and mutation of cells, and ward off the activities of free radicals, thus possibly slowing down our aging process through means such as helping us maintain energy levels.
What are the other benefits of vitamin B4? It is a crucial component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is necessary for muscle movement and brain function. Vitamin B4 is also a major component of phosphatidylcholine which is necessary for cell membrane integrity. It is a critical component of sphingomyelin, which is found in myelin sheaths (a type of insulating material) that protects and is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It also regulates liver function and minimizes excessive fat deposits and is necessary for normal fat metabolism.
Food sources: Whole grains such as cereals and breads, propolis, bee pollen, raw unprocessed honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, cloves, thyme, sage, ginger, spearmint, jojoba, hawthorne, and blessed thistle.
2.) Vitamin B8 (Inositol)
Vitamin B8 is water soluble, part of the “B” family of vitamins and a necessary component of cell membranes. As a necessary component of cell membranes, they are vital for the electrical current and nutrient transport across and inside of cells. Inositol exists in several forms and plays a supporting role in the healthy functioning of cells, and it has shown potential for treating serious diseases as well as some psychological disorders and polycystic ovarian syndrome (a hormonal imbalance for females in which male hormonal production is increased, possibly resulting in weight gain, inconsistent menstrual cycles, infertility, and ovarian cysts).
Not only does inositol, as a form of glucose, enhance the performance of cells as part of the membrane that surrounds all cells, it also helps in the processing of fat in our liver and heart while keeping our muscles and nerves working properly. Inositol also promotes healthy hair growth and aids in the metabolism of nutrients into energy.
What makes vitamin B8 effective in treating psychological conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and panic disorder, is its ability to influence how much serotonin is available to be supplied to nerves in the brain.
Inositol and choline, though quite different chemically, appear to work synergistically in that they are both essential components of phospholipids, the most important lipids (fats) in plants and animals. Together, inositol and choline make what’s known as lecithin. Lecithin assists in the absorption of Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and Vitamin A, indirectly making inositol and choline crucial vitamins. It has also been observed that inositol increases the effectiveness of Vitamin E, an important anti-oxidant.
Food sources: Liver, legumes, soy, swiss chard, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, carrots, almonds, eggs, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, cauliflower, goat milk, cow milk, raspberries, strawberries, halibut, oatmeal, and nuts.
3.) Vitamin B10 (Para Amino Benzoic Acid – PABA)
Formerly known as vitamin R, vitamin B10 is best known for helping in the growth of microorganisms in the body. It also guards our skin from free radicals contained in the harmful chemicals found in air pollution and the sun’s ultraviolet rays that can potentially render our skin vulnerable to infections. This explains why PABA can be found as an ingredient in some sunscreen lotions.
Vitamin B10’s role in the growth of microorganisms explain why, as a supplement, it can help heal irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastrointestinal distress, as well as a variety of inflammatory reactions. As a coenzyme, B10 also assists our cells in their optimal utilization of protein as well as protein metabolism and red blood cell formation. Other reported health benefits of B10 include acting as an anti-allergen for the skin, alleviating rheumatic fever, and as an anti-aging agent working to eliminate lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
PABA is a component of Vitamin B9 (folic acid) and is required for the body to absorb Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
Food sources: liver, brewer’s yeast, cereals, rice, bran, wheat germ, molasses, potatoes, dairy products, fish and nuts.
4.) Vitamin B11 (Salicylic Acid)
Vitamin B11 (Pteryl-hepta-glutamic acid) is a form of Vitamin B9 (Folic acid), one of five folates necessary for humans, and now known as ‘chick growth factor’. Vitamin B11 often works in tandem with B12 to contribute to the formation of DNA and RNA. It also is essential to the formation and growth of body tissues as well as the fetus’s brains and spinal cord during embryogenesis. Its other functions include being an element with red blood bodies and blood plasma, being used as an ingredient in some anti-acne creams, and benefiting in the treatment of foot related issues like psoriasis, corns, calluses, and numerous other skin afflictions.
Food sources: Egg yolk, cheese, liver, fish, meat and poultry, organs, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach.