The state of our skin, as the largest organ of the body, is telling of the overall state of our health. Skin health clues us in on whether we’re getting enough of the three main ingredients of good health—quality sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced diet—as well as what we lack. Skin can often take the brunt of the burden if we don’t take care of ourselves from the inside out, but it can also be especially prone to the negative effects of environmental stressors.
You can maintain best practices to promote skin health and make sure skin stays at its best all year round. This can be achieved by consuming sufficient nutrients for skin through a well-rounded diet. Vitamins and supplementation can be taken alongside a healthy diet to support skin health too. One such supplement you can consider taking is vitamin B complex to maintain and support skin health.
In Australia, many of us forget to factor in changing weather conditions when tackling skin health. We may be healthy overall, but fail to consider the extra measures that need to be put in place to safeguard skin health during the hottest and coldest months of the year.
Think back to the many times when prolonged sun exposure made your skin look and feel stressed during the summer, or when winter’s lack of humidity made skin excessively taut and unhealthily dry (12). It’s good to note that even though you might be well-rested, eating healthily, and physically active, external conditions such as the weather may still wreak havoc on your skin, requiring you to do more to maintain your skin health.
A vitamin B complex supplement is generally composed of the eight B vitamins that fulfil unique functions in our overall health. Though B vitamins can be taken separately, taking them together can enhance some of these vitamins’ potencies, making a B complex supplement a more efficient choice.
B vitamins play a myriad of roles in keeping our organs and bodily processes in shape. These roles range from aiding in carbohydrate metabolism and promoting effective energy use, maintaining brain function and immunity, and of course, maintaining and supporting skin health. Here are the benefits of each B vitamin and how they work in our bodies:
Vitamin B1 helps change carbohydrates into energy by maintaining a healthy metabolism4, that is, our body can break down the food that we eat, gather the nutrients it needs in the process, turn what it absorbs into usable energy, then flush out waste in an efficient manner.
More so, vitamin B1 plays a role in healthy nerve function and the mechanisms of the nervous system, both of which ensure that we’re able to move, coordinate movements, and feel sensations properly (3). Without enough Thiamin in our system, our skin may not be able to properly connect with the rest of our body, compromising our ability to appropriately react to sensations (like pain, for instance) and environmental stimuli.
Vitamin B complex for skin also includes riboflavin, a vitamin that supports the body with its involvement in the breaking down of fats and medication, as well as in the growth of new cells. When it comes to skin health, this means that this B vitamin holds one very important role in helping skin regenerate when injured, damaged, or stressed (5).
Niacin is a coenzyme to more than 400 other enzymes in the body. Being a coenzyme means that other enzymes need to be paired with it in order to carry out their functions. This vitamin has been found to be associated with energy production, the support of skin health by protecting skin from toxins, and is similarly involved in maintaining the health of the nervous and digestive systems (3).
Pantothenic acid is a component of coenzyme A which is essential to all life forms as it is necessary for chemical reactions such as the synthesis of fatty acids, amino acids, and other materials (6). It supports the skin mainly through wound healing, ensuring that injured skin is protected from infection and that a wound heals quickly, leaving behind as little visible proof of damage as possible (7). Pantothenic acid, though an unknown vitamin to most, is a crucial component of vitamin B complex for skin.
Most commonly, vitamin B6 has been linked to protein and carbohydrate metabolism and the maintenance of amino acids in the blood as well as hemoglobin and lymphocyte formation (8). More evidence has shown that it also plays a part in skin maintenance by making the skin less likely to suffer from rashes and cracking, especially in the areas surrounding the mouth. A deficiency in this vitamin may cause the skin to become prone to these ailments and adjunct infections. Taking a vitamin B complex is a proactive way of protecting yourself from these skin health risks.
Biotin is likely the most well-known component of vitamin B complex for skin. It has gained buzz in medical research and the beauty industry alike for its ability to maintain and support skin health. Biotin has other essential roles in health which include supporting nail and hair strength and thickness, maintaining healthy immune system function, and preventing dietary deficiency of vitamins (9).
Folate is most often discussed in the context of pregnancy as it aids in the nervous system development of the fetus (3) and is needed for red blood cell production which carries oxygen in the bodies of both mother and child (3). However, folate is also valued in the arena of skin health as it has been found to play a role in improving visible signs of skin ageing. Vitamin B complex for skin that includes folate is sought after by many as it aids the body to continue to develop healthy skin cells, a process that can slow down with ageing.
Vitamin B12 supports the nervous system's health and function by producing myelin around the nerve cell (10). It’s also a key component of red blood cell production in the body (10), but its value in skin health lies in its ability to support nutrient levels in the body and prevent dietary vitamin deficiency.
It’s clear that each B vitamin in a vitamin B complex supplement makes its own contribution to skin health. This is excellent information to keep in mind when devising ways to care for skin as the season's change, considering that each season, especially the extremes of summer and winter, bring specific challenges to maintaining skin health.
It is during these two seasons when weather conditions are at their most extreme that vitamin B complex for skin can be considered as an accompaniment to a healthy diet.
The three most potent components of a vitamin B complex supplement are Niacin, Pantothenic acid, and Riboflavin.
Niacin has been seen to improve pigmentation due to prolonged sun exposure and it also helps minimise the appearance of skin ageing (13). It has anti-inflammatory effects and has a photoprotection against ultraviolet (UV) rays which defends the body from certain illnesses (14, 15).
For Pantothenic acid, a study shows that there’s a significant improvement in skin injury caused by illnesses and inflammatory blemishes in subjects given vitamin B5 supplements (16). It also enhances wound healing as it accelerates skin closure through cell migration and division (17, 18).
Finally, what Riboflavin does to support skin health is to prevent nutrient deficiencies that make skin less resilient to environmental stressors. One of the symptoms of lacking riboflavin is skin inflammation and cracks around the lips (19).
Here are some options that you can consider for vitamin B complex:
Most of the food that we eat contains traces of B vitamins. Though B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they are not stored by the body and are instantaneously absorbed and used in several body functions (11), they can easily be replenished through food.
To give you a better idea of which foods are the best sources of B vitamins, know that meats such as pork, beef, and chicken and organ meats like kidney and liver contain all the B vitamins except for Thiamin. Seafood like salmon and tuna, as well as poultry and eggs, are excellent sources of B vitamins as well, but they can also be sourced from non-animal-based foods like nuts, beans, and legumes. The same can be said about green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals and select whole grains (11).
Dietary restrictions, lifestyle choices, food allergies or plant-based diets can prevent some individuals from being able to consume some of these foods. In these cases, you may want to consider vitamin B complex supplementation to ensure you receive the nutrient adequately.
Keeping your skin healthy can be achieved by eating healthily and with proper supplementation. At Vitable Australia, we give you the luxury of choosing from a selection of supplements that not only address skin health but also other areas of concern in your body. You get to create your very own custom vitamin packs specially designed for your needs. Vitable offers a hassle-free vitamins subscription as well as a convenient vitamin delivery service to take off the worry of ordering and tracking your purchases anywhere in Australia.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.