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Did you know that a vitamin B deficiency often goes undetected? 

The main reason for this is that the symptoms are often mistaken for normal health problems and many people are not even aware of the factors that can lead to an increased need. In addition, it can even take ten years or more before the first symptoms appear. For example, a supposedly healthy plant-based diet can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency if critical nutrients are missing. 

In this blog post we will show you why the group of B vitamins is so important for our health and when it can be useful to take vitamin B supplements in addition to a balanced diet.

Importance of the B vitamins for the body

The term "B vitamins" refers to a complex of several closely related water-soluble vitamins that are responsible for numerous vital metabolic functions. Among other things, they are essential for energy production, normal functioning of the nervous system, and muscle and skin regeneration.

Here are just a few examples of the complex action in the body:

- Thiamine (vitamin B1) contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system.

- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) contributes to normal mental performance. 

- Vitamin B6 contributes to normal immune system function.

- Vitamin B12 has a function in cell division.

Although all B vitamins are unique, their effects overlap and complement each other in many ways. This also explains the saying: B vitamins rarely come alone.

How can you recognize a vitamin B deficiency?

In healthy people, vitamin B deficiency is relatively rare, as the requirement can be met without any problems with a balanced diet that also includes animal products. However, there are some at-risk groups who may become deficient due to a prolonged period of undersupply (often many years or decades).

Possible signs of vitamin deficiency are:

- loss of overall vitality

- pale skin

- reduced physical performance

- fatigue, exhaustion  

- a weakened nervous system

- loss of appetite and weight loss

- anemia

- increased susceptibility to infections 

If symptoms appear suddenly and repeatedly, it is essential to find out the cause and take adequate steps to fix the problem. 

Above all, a vitamin B12 deficiency shouldn't be taken lightly as it can have serious long-term health consequences, including severe neurological disorders.  

Who should take B vitamins?

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the need for B vitamins is increased, especially folic acid and vitamin B12.

Folic acid is important for the normal development of the child, which is why a deficiency can have serious consequences. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the normal functioning of the nervous and immune systems, as well as the formation of red blood cells. For mothers who eat a vegan diet, there is a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, which in turn can have a negative impact on the child's development.

The German Society for Nutrition states on its website: "For pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, children and adolescents, a vegan diet is not recommended by the DGE. Those who nevertheless wish to follow a vegan diet should take a vitamin B12 supplement on a permanent basis, ensure an adequate intake of especially the critical nutrients, and use fortified foods and nutrient supplements if necessary." 

The elderly are also among a particularly vulnerable risk group. It is estimated that about a quarter of those over 65 years of age do not have adequate vitamin B intake. Common causes include diseases (e.g., autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders) and specific medications that can interfere with the absorption of B vitamins.

Another group that often has an increased vitamin requirement is athletes. Since they have a higher energy metabolism, even a slight undersupply can negatively impact their performance and regeneration capacity. Athletes should therefore also keep an eye on their adequate supply of B vitamins (as well as other nutrients).

Vitamin B12 - What vegetarians and vegans should look out for

There are many reasons to eat less meat. Various long-term studies show that high meat consumption is unhealthy in the long run. Another problem is meat production. It places a heavy burden on the environment and contributes to climate change. More and more people around the world are therefore consciously opting for a plant-based diet.     

However, there is a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vegans, who do not eat any animal products at all, are particularly at risk.

Legumes, animal products and cereals, as well as certain vegetables and avocado, are good suppliers of various B vitamins. Things get a little more difficult with vitamin B12: the body cannot produce it itself and it is found almost exclusively in animal foods. In small quantities, fermented foods such as sauerkraut or even algae and shiitake mushrooms contain vitamin B12. However, the bioavailability of these foods has not yet been sufficiently clarified, or the amounts are simply too low to ensure an adequate vitamin B12 supply.

As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, you can usually meet your needs adequately by eating eggs and dairy products regularly.

However, if your diet is mainly or even 100% vegan, it is important that you take appropriate vitamin supplements to be on the safe side. This is recommended by the German Nutrition Society, VEBU and the Vegan Society, among others. In addition, you should regularly check the vitamin B12 concentration in your blood.

Fun Facts - Surprising facts about B vitamins 

Here are some interesting (and surprising) facts about vitamin B at a glance: 

  1. Thiamine, vitamin B1 or aneurine was the first B vitamin discovered about 100 years ago.
  1. Each B vitamin performs a unique and separate function in the body. 
  1. Each B vitamin contributes in its own way to healthy brain function and influences mental "sharpness" in addition to development.
  1. B vitamins are necessary for the formation of serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine, which are 3 critical chemicals of the brain.
  1. Cells in the human body cannot use oxygen to store energy if they do not have vitamin B1.

What are the benefits of the new vitamin B complex?

A vitamin B complex contains all eight essential B vitamins, including vitamin B12. It is an ideal supplement for people who eat a primarily vegetarian or vegan diet and for anyone who wants to optimize their performance.

The Vitamin B Complex by Aava Labs was developed using special technology so that there is a sustained, consistent release. With just one capsule, you will be supplied with energy throughout the day and will always be optimally prepared for performance. 

B vitamins, for example, contribute to normal red blood cell production (which can increase oxygen transport and overall endurance). Thus, the product is ideal for fitness enthusiasts and athletes. 

Another distinctive feature of AAVA products is their purity. The vitamin B complex is GMO free, gluten free & 100% vegan. In addition, all products are free of fillers or artificial additives. 

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