Dr. Sam: The surprising immune benefits of vitamin B

A bottle of Nutrilite Dual Action Vitamin B in the foreground as a person stretches on a yoga mat in the background.

BY DR. SAM REHNBORG, GUEST CONTRIBUTOR


With all the headline news about immune function, the B vitamins have been on my mind. I know that might sound strange. After all, if I were to ask you to name a few vitamins that are critical for immune health, you might say vitamins A, C or D.

If you’re like many people, the B vitamins may be far from your mind. It’s understandable. Despite being well known to nutrition experts, the immune benefits of vitamin B seem almost invisible to everyone else.

A flashback to my early product development days

You may be surprised to learn that the B vitamins and I have a long history dating back to my first job with the company (then known as Nutrilite Products Inc.). I joined the company in 1964 as the assistant to then president Dr. Stefan Tenkoff.

It was a year of rebuilding and teamwork was needed more than ever. Our strategy was simple: Dr. T (as he was known inside the company) focused on day-to-day operations and manufacturing, while I focused on developing new Nutrilite™ products and bringing them to market. One such product was a B complex supplement.

Dr. Stefan Tenkoff inspects a Nutrilite product coming off a packaging line as Dr. Sam looks on in this black and white photo from the mid 1960s.

Stefan Tenkoff, Ph.D. inspects a product coming off a packaging line as I look on. Buena Park, Calif. Circa 1965.

Vitamin B benefits are on my mind, again

B vitamins are again on my mind mostly because they are overlooked in today’s stories about immune health. Yes, it’s important to learn about immune-supporting nutrients like vitamins A, C, D and E, and the mineral zinc, but it’s just as important to include the B vitamins in the conversation.

A few basics may be all you need to appreciate the role of the B vitamins. More importantly, it may be the inspiration you need to take action to fuel your body (and encourage others do the same).

A bottle of Nutrilite Dual Action Vitamin B peeks out of a zippered case next to some sunglasses. A few tablets are spilled on the orange surface.

What does vitamin B do?

Think of the family of B vitamins as the ultimate team players. Working together, they are used in hundreds of biochemical pathways and produce a wide range of bioactive compounds that help all the cells in your body function.

In short, when you consume an optimal amount of B vitamins every day, you help your body to maintain a healthy immune system. If you need more inspiration to ensure an adequate intake, consider these impressive actions:

  • Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps recharge glutathione (one of the body’s most important antioxidants), so it plays a role in neutralizing free radicals that can harm cells.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with other B vitamins. It’s really a team player!
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) helps maintain healthy DNA—the genetic blueprint found in all cells—needed for healthy cell division.
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is needed for the body to produce a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including the immune-supporting vitamins A and D.
  • Vitamin B6 helps the body produce enzymes involved in the immune system.
  • Biotin plays a central role in energy metabolism.
  • Folic acid helps maintain a healthy production of red blood cells, critical for carrying oxygen-rich blood to tissues.
  • Vitamin B12, like folic acid, helps maintain a healthy production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

A container of Nutrilite Double X lies next to a plate of bread and fresh fruit.

The bottom line

If you’re ready to increase your intake of B vitamins, you don’t have to overthink it. To me, it’s a simple two-step process.

First, include a variety of wholesome foods in your diet, like lean meats, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Next, include Nutrilite Double X Multivitamin, Nutrilite™ Vitamin B Dual–Action or another high-quality supplement that provides an optimal amount of all eight B vitamins to fill any potential nutrient gaps.

I can’t think of a better time to start than now.

To read Dr. Sam’s full blog on B vitamins and your immune system, visit drsamsblog.com. And to learn more about the Nutrilite products mentioned here, visit the links below.



Dr. Sam Rehnborg stands in a field at Nutrilite Trout Lake Farm in the U.S. state of Washington.Dr. Sam Rehnborg is the son of Carl Rehnborg, who founded the Nutrilite™ brand in 1934. Dr. Sam held many roles with the company over the years and now is president of the Nutrilite Health Institute. His passion is helping people achieve their potential through healthy living. You can learn more about him and read all his blogs at drsamsblog.com. Or, have them delivered to your inbox by subscribing to the RSS feed.

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