Your Ultimate Guide To The Vitamin B’s

Vitamins are important, especially if you’re attempting to stay healthy and keep diseases and illnesses at bay. That being said, one crucially important component of the vitamin world is vitamin B.

While commonly referred to singularly, vitamin B encompasses more than one vitamin. There are eight different B vitamins – often referred to as the B complex – and they all work together to ensure the healthy functioning of a number of bodily processes.

While these vitamins can be found in supplements, it is recommended that one should get their B vitamins through foods. Read on to discover the eight different B vitamins, their functions as well as their food sources.

1. Thiamin (vitamin B1)

Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, helps the body maintain a healthy nervous system. It’s also used in the production of energy (by breaking down carbohydrates) as well as playing a role in the growth and maintenance of cells.

The daily recommended intake of thiamin is 1 mg. However, symptoms associated with a  deficiency in thiamin include fatigue, weight loss and irritability.

Luckily, you can find this vitamin in foods such as whole grains, peas, beans, mussels, legumes, nuts, seeds, asparagus beef and liver.

2. Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Like the vitamin before it, riboflavin also helps to convert food into energy. Moreover, it’s also needed for the growth and production of red blood cells and it ensures the health of  your eyes, skin, hair and nervous system.

Ponytail Headache

As it is central to keeping your skin, hair and eyes healthy – a deficiency in riboflavin can lead to skin disorders, hair loss, swollen, cracked lips and sensitivity to light. The daily recommended intake for vitamin B2 is 1.3 mg.

You can find riboflavin in foods such as almonds, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, beef liver, clams and whole grains.

3. Niacin (vitamin B3)

Once again, this B vitamin helps to convert food into energy. It’s also involved in the important production of hormones and it ensures the healthy functioning of both the digestive and nervous systems. It also keeps your skin healthy and it works in the creation and repair of DNA.

Symptoms that could allude to a vitamin B3 deficiency include digestive issues, inflamed skin, depression and fatigue. The recommended daily intake for niacin is 16.5 mg and can be found in foods such as red meat, whole grains, mushrooms, fish and peanuts.

4. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

Aside from helping to convert fats and carbohydrates into energy for the body to use, pantothenic acid is used to create sex and stress hormones, red blood cells and cholesterol. It also keeps the digestive system healthy as well as helping the body use other B vitamins such as riboflavin.

The recommended daily intake is 17 mg per day and while you can find this vitamin in a number of foods such as strawberries, sweet potatoes, avocados and yogurt. If not, a deficiency can result in insomnia, depression, fatigue and vomiting.

5. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)

Pyridoxine is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in the body. This includes the creation of hemoglobin, the healthy functioning of the immune and nervous system and normal brain development. It’s also part of the creation of the mood hormone serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin.

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A deficiency in vitamin B6 can lead to depression, irritability and difficulty concentrating. The recommended daily intake is 1.4 mg  and can be found in chickpeas, tuna, spinach, ricotta, bananas and potatoes.

6. Biotin (vitamin B7)

Biotin helps break down fats and carbohydrates so that the body can use it for energy. However, it’s also involved in the production of fatty acids (which helps to maintain healthy cells) and it encourages the growth and maintenance of your hair and bones. In fact, it’s often added to hair products.

That being said, the inability to meet the recommended daily intake of biotin (1 mg) may result in brittle nails, hair loss, skin rash and dry eyes.To avoid this, be sure to enjoy foods such as eggs, almonds, sunflower seeds,  mushrooms and spinach.

7. Folic Acid (vitamin B9)

Commonly seen as a must-have in every pregnancy diet, folic acid is needed to reduce the risk of birth defects in the brain. However, it’s also used to produce red blood cells and DNA.

A deficiency in folic acid can result in irritability, poor growth, poor memory and loss of appetite. Luckily, this can be avoided by you getting the daily recommended intake of 200mcg through dark leafy greens, peanuts, beef liver and salmon.

8. Cobalamin (vitamin B12)

Cobalamin is needed for the production of red blood cells and DNA as well as maintaining the health of the nervous system. Be sure to avoid deficiency symptoms such as weight loss, anemia, nerve damage and fatigue by reaching the recommended intake of 1.5 mcg. This can be done by including foods such as eggs, beef liver, chicken and other dairy products in your diet. Click here to find out why it is so important to get this vitamin.

Bottom Line

While there are a variety of foods for which one can get their vitamin B complex, those at risk of a deficiency include those over the age of 50, vegetarians, vegans, poor diet or if you have celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. In that case, you are welcome to consume supplements. Just be sure to to take too much as overdosing on B complex supplements. Accidentally doing so may lead to vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. To ensure that doesn’t happen, consult your doctor for the appropriate prescription.

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