What Are Neurotropic B Vitamins?

6 minutes read

The B vitamins are a group of eight nutrients, each with unique roles in keeping your body healthy. Each B vitamin is vital for maintaining the health of the cells in your body and keeping you energised. As a result, each member of this B-complex has a unique structure and performs unique functions in your body. However, three of these B vitamins are particularly important. They are known as “neurotropic B vitamins” and are essential for the proper functioning of your nervous system.1-3

In this article:
What Are Neurotropic B Vitamins?

Neurotropic B Vitamins: B1, B6 & B12 3 4

Vitamin B deficiency is a frequent cause of neurological impairment and disability worldwide, which is why its essential to maintain the optimal level of Vitamin B in your body. In particular, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin) are essential for maintaining the health and normal functioning of your nervous system, which includes both your central nervous system and your peripheral nervous system. If you are deficient in any of these three B vitamins, then you will likely experience some neurological symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency.

Vitamin B1: The Nerve Energiser 13-5

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is known as “The Nerve Energiser” because it converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is the preferred energy source that your body uses to run your metabolism smoothly. It also helps break down proteins and fats, support brain function, boost your immune system, protect your heart, and help with digestion. An essential function of thiamine is to aid the growth of the myelin sheath, which is a protective coat that wraps around your nerves and helps your neurotransmitters work.  

Based on its function, some of the signs and symptoms that Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause include:  

  • Swelling 

  • Tingling or burning in your feet and hands  

  • Fatigue 

  • Muscle weakness 

  • Nerve damage 

  • Cognitive complications 

  • Cardiovascular complications.  

Some Sources of Vitamin B1 14

Natural sources of Vitamin B1 include: 

  • Whole-grain products 

  • Brown rice 

  • Meat products (especially pork liver) 

  • Vegetables (like spinach) 

  • Fruits (like oranges and cantaloupe) 

  • Legumes (like green peas, beans, lentils, and nuts) 

  • Seafood 

  • Eggs 

  • Milk 

Vitamin B6: The Nerve Signal Transmitter 13-5

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is known as “The Nerve Signal Transmitter” because it is instrumental in ensuring that your nerve fibres can transmit signals effectively. It also helps your body turn food into energy and fight infections by supporting your immune system. 

Based on its function, some of the signs and symptoms that Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause include:  

  • Anaemia 

  • Dermatitis or itchy cracks/rash around your mouth 

  • Swollen and sensitive tongue 

  • Confusion and irritability 

  • Depression and anxiety 

  • Nausea 

  • Increased susceptibility to infections 

  • Tingling or burning in your feet and hands  

  • Fatigue 

Some Sources of Vitamin B6 14

Natural sources of Vitamin B6 include: 

  • Meat (especially organ meats) 

  • Fish 

  • Poultry 

  • Eggs 

  • Soybeans 

  • Chickpeas 

  • Nuts 

  • Dairy products 

  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes 

  • Noncitric fruits like bananas 

  • Whole-grain cereal products 

Vitamin B12: The Nerve Regenerator 13-5

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) is known as “The Nerve Regenerator” because it is crucial in regenerating nerve fibres and repairing nerve damage. It also helps your body grow and form red blood cells.  

Based on its function, some of the signs and symptoms that Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause include: 

  • Anaemia and pale skin 

  • Behavioural and mood changes 

  • Cognitive changes (like confusion and poor memory) 

  • Numbness or tingling in your hands, legs, and feet 

  • Dizziness and blurry vision 

  • Swollen tongue and soreness of your mouth or tongue 

  • Jaundice 

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss 

  • Fatigue 

  • Weakness 

Some Sources of Vitamin B12 14

Natural sources of Vitamin B12 include: 

  • Meat (like beef liver) 

  • Fish 

  • Poultry 

  • Eggs 

  • Milk 

  • Cheese 

  • Clams 

  • Fortified cereals 

  • Fortified foods (including plants, milk, and flour) 

  • Nutritional yeast 

Why Are Three B Vitamins Better Than One? 6

While each of the three neurotropic B vitamins has its own role in maintaining your health, they are also known to work together, particularly to repair damaged nerves and to keep your nervous system healthy and functioning. As a result, research suggests that taking a complex of B vitamins can be more beneficial to your health than taking an individual supplement, especially if you have poor nerve health. 

Who Can Benefit From Taking a B1, B6 and B12 Complex?

Vitamin B deficiency has several causes, and it’s not always easy to pinpoint what the exact cause can be. However, certain people are at a greater risk of Vitamin B deficiency than others. As such, these at-risk groups of people would likely benefit the most from taking a Vitamin B1, B6, and B12 complex: 

  • People taking medications or having medical treatments: Certain medications or medical treatments, such as metformin for the treatment of diabetes, can interrupt or prevent the absorption and transport of Vitamin B in the body. 

  • People on a special diet: Diets that are insufficient and/or lacking essential B vitamins and other nutrients can cause Vitamin B deficiency by not providing the body with the amount of Vitamin B needed to function optimally. 

  • People who have autoimmune diseases: Some autoimmune diseases like pernicious anaemia and Sjogren’s syndrome can interrupt and destroy essential cells that help transport and release Vitamin B to the parts of the body where it’s needed. 

  • People who have a low Vitamin B intake: The elderly, people who use alcohol excessively, and vegetarians are particularly at risk for Vitamin B deficiency, as they tend to be malnourished due to their age, lifestyle, and poor dietary intake. 

  • People who can’t absorb enough Vitamin B: People suffering from an infection, have had surgery, or have chronic medical conditions are at risk of Vitamin B deficiency due to these conditions preventing the correct absorption of Vitamin B. 

In Short

The neurotropic B vitamins – Vitamin B1, B6, and B12 – are critical contributors to your nerve health. They work together to supply you with the energy you need to stay healthy. Since Vitamin B deficiency can cause poor nerve health, people who are at a higher risk of vitamin B deficiency or poor nerve health should consult with their doctors, as they may need to receive a Vitamin B supplement like Neurobion®* to ensure that they receive the necessary levels of Vitamin B they need to stay healthy.  

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor

Talk to your doctor about the Vitamins B1+B6+B12 (NEUROBION®) formulation, dose and duration of treatment that is appropriate for you.

Article Sources

¹ Sarwar, M.F., Sarwar, M.H., & Sarwar, M. (2021). Deficiency of Vitamin B-Complex and Its Relation with Body Disorders. In B-Complex Vitamins-Sources, Intakes and Novel Applications. IntechOpen.

² Calderon-Ospina, C.A., Nava-Mesa, M.O., & Paez-Hurtado, A.M. (2020). Update on safety profiles of vitamins B1, B6, and B12: a narrative review. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 16, 1275.

³ Calderón‐Ospina, C.A., & Nava‐Mesa, M.O. (2020). B Vitamins in the nervous system: Current knowledge of the biochemical modes of action and synergies of thiamine, pyridoxine, and cobalamin. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 26(1), 5-13.

⁴ Sechi, G., Sechi, E., Fois, C., & Kumar, N. (2016). Advances in clinical determinants and neurological manifestations of B vitamin deficiency in adults. Nutrition Reviews, 74(5), 281-300.

⁵ Kennedy, D.O. (2016). B vitamins and the brain: mechanisms, dose and efficacy—a review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68.

⁶ Baltrusch, S. (2021). The Role of neurotropic B vitamins in nerve regeneration. BioMed Research International.

⁷ Shipton, M.J., & Thachil, J. (2015). Vitamin B12 deficiency–A 21st century perspective. Clinical Medicine, 15(2), 145.

⁸ Langan, R.C., & Goodbred, A.J. (2017). Vitamin B12 deficiency: recognition and management. American family physician, 96(6), 384-389.

*Indication – Neurobion® is indicated for Vitamin B deficiency

Applicant: P&G South African Trading (Pty) Ltd. Reg. No.: 1989/004241/07. |S1| Neurobion® Tablets. Each tablet contains Vitamin B1 100 mg, Vitamin B6 200 mg and Vitamin B12 200 μg. Reg. No.: H2487 (Act 101/1965).
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