We need B vitamins for proper digestion. There are 8 B vitamins. They are all essential for digestive health. Since they are water soluble vitamins, our bodies can't store them in fat cells or tissues, so we must obtain them regularly from the food we consume. For thousands of years, people obtained their B-vitamins from bread. Most of the B-vitamins in bread are found in the wheat germ. Today, due to bleaching, heating, and over processing of wheat flour, the flour on store shelves is so deficient in vitamins that is has to be enriched with vitamins otherwise a severe health crises could develop. In fact in the 1940's the United States government mandated the enrichment of white flour with synthetic vitamins due to an epidemic of pellagra, a B-3 deficiency disease. Over 100,000 Americans died of this dreaded disease that is caused by a lack of niacin, or Vitamin B3. Most of the synthetic vitamins added back into white flour are B-vitamins. But there is no need to enrich flour. Whole Grain Wheat, spelt, kamut all contain plenty of B vitamins, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and phytosterols in the wheat germ. Stone ground bread in particular is one of the best sources of the B complex vitamins. Stone grinders grind grains at low heat which prevents destruction of key vitamins and enzymes needed for proper digestion and overall health.
How do B vitamins aid digestion? In general, they help move energy obtained from food into the tissue cells, where it is needed. In particular, vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps convert carbs in the diet into energy. This fuels your cellular metabolism and helps regulate your appetite.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps keep protect and sustain the mucosal lining of your digestive tract. It also helps to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Without vitamin B2, you may have trouble digesting food and converting the nutrients into energy. Low B2 can also cause tongue and mouth sores and swelling. This could interfere with normal eating and digestion.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) plays an important role in the breakdown of carbs, fats and alcohol. Lack of niacin causes pellagra or pellagra symptoms such as severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps the body process proteins in the diet.
Biotin helps produce healthy cholesterol. And remember, every cell in your body needs cholesterol. Biotin also processes proteins, carbs and fatty acids.
Folic acid is essential for healthy digestion. Research links higher levels of this vitamin with a lower risk of colon cancer. In addition, we know that low folic acid in women can result in birth defects. This is why many foods today, such as cereal and bread, are now fortified with folic acid.
Making organic stone ground whole grain bread a part of the daily diet can help elevate B-vitamin levels. Eggs and green leafy vegetables are also good sources.