If you’re a nutrition enthusiast, you’ve probably heard the word “cofactor” thrown around in articles or mentioned on supplement bottles. But what does that word mean, and how do cofactors benefit your health? To bring some clarity to the cofactor conundrum, we’ll highlight three well-known cofactors that are related to the B vitamins.
B Vitamin Cofactors
The B vitamins are a family of eight nutrients that are essential for hundreds of cellular processes in your body such as energy production, red blood cell formation, and keeping a healthy brain and mood (to learn more check out B Vitamins — The Benefits of the “B Team”).
Three important cofactors to the B vitamins are para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), inositol, and choline. You could say that if the B vitamins are siblings in a nutrient family, these cofactors would be their cousins. They perform similar functions as the B vitamins and work together to synergize their activities in your body.
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), also known as vitamin B10, is considered part of the vitamin B complex, but is not considered a true vitamin. It’s particularly close buddies with folate, or vitamin B9. That’s because PABA assists in the production of folate in the body, although the amount produced is not enough to meet our daily nutrient requirements and we still need to obtain folate from our diet or from supplements. Some food sources of PABA include mushrooms, organ meat, whole grains, and spinach.
Best known for fostering healthy skin and hair, PABA supports healthy collagen function and flexibility as well as healthy cell membrane fluidity (which keeps our cells “young”). It also has overall antioxidant action for the whole body and promotes good gut health.
Inositol, sometimes called vitamin B8, is a vitamin-like substance that has a chemical structure similar to glucose, the main sugar found in our blood. Some foods containing inositol are cantaloupe, citrus fruit, and numerous fiber-rich foods like nuts, beans, brown rice, sesame seeds, and wheat bran.
You'll find inositol grouped with the B vitamin family for its role in brain health and mood regulation. Like several of the B vitamins, it affects the processes that make neurotransmitters, the molecules that relay information in our brain and nervous system. Serotonin, one important neurotransmitter affected by inositol, is key for stabilizing our mood, feelings of wellbeing, and happiness. Inositol also influences the insulin response, which is important for controlling blood sugar levels in the body.
Choline is the newest required dietary nutrient established by the FDA. It’s an essential nutrient that is closely related to the B vitamin family, and although the body can produce small amounts of it in the liver, we need to include choline in our diet or through supplementation to meet our body’s needs.
Animal products, like meat and eggs, are rich in the nutrient, but cabbage family vegetables, like collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, are also good sources, as are legumes and nuts.
Choline is converted into a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which helps muscles to contract and plays a role in healthy brain and cognitive function. Choline is metabolized in the liver where it is converted into phosphatidylcholine, which assists in building fat-carrying proteins and breaking down cholesterol. It’s also a prebiotic, or “food” for beneficial gut bacteria.
Synergy of the Whole
When you put the entire B complex of vitamins and cofactors together, in a balanced diet with a rainbow of foods or in a high-quality B complex supplement, you get more than the sum of their parts.
The B vitamin family is like the Avengers, powerful on their own, but enhanced when banded together. They interact and help each other get synthesized, absorbed, or processed. This results in a wellness boost on many levels, especially for increased vitality and energy levels, a healthy mood, brain, and cognitive function, strong immune function, healthy skin, hair and nails, and so much more.
It may be difficult, in our fast-paced lives with processed foods and grab-and-go eating habits, to get all of the B vitamins from diet alone. That’s where a supplement like Super B-Complex comes in to fill the gaps.
A food-form source of all eight B vitamins plus their vital cofactors of PABA, inositol, and choline, Super B-Complex is pure, potent, and bioavailable. All of the B vitamins and cofactors are made with organic fruits and vegetables which are activated with enzymes and fermented with probiotics. This makes them easy to absorb and gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach. Just one tablet a day provides optimal levels of each nutrient, in proportions that work best together. Plus, they are made with no chemical solvents or fillers. Why not experience the synergy of the B vitamins and their important cofactors for yourself, and see what a B boost can do for you?