Vitamin B

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Vitamin B

In the beginning, 12 B vitamins made up the B-complex group. This number changed after scientists realized that not all substances in the group were vitamins. Today, the B-complex group is made up of 8 vitamins in total. They are listed below along with how they help us

Vitamin B

In the beginning, 12 B vitamins made up the B-complex group. This number changed after scientists realized that not all substances in the group were vitamins. Today, the B-complex group is made up of 8 vitamins in total. They are listed below along with how they help us

Vitamin B

In the beginning, 12 B vitamins made up the B-complex group. This number changed after scientists realized that not all substances in the group were vitamins. Today, the B-complex group is made up of 8 vitamins in total. They are listed below along with how they help us.

What symptoms may arise if one is B deficient:

  • Vitamin B1 – Thiamine. It is used in the generation of energy from carbohydrates. A deficiency in it can cause a disease of the nervous system known as Beriberi. Symptoms include: weight loss, weakness and pain the limbs, some heart issues and chronic deficiency can cause dementia.
  • Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin. It is used for breaking down fatty acids and energy production. A deficiency in it can cause dry, cracked lips (cheilosis), inflammation of the tongue (glossitis), sore throat (pharyngitis) and a heightened sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Vitamin B3 – Niacin. It is used in the metabolism of glucose, fats and alcohol. A deficiency in it can have symptoms such as aggression, insomnia, mental confusion, weakness, dermatitis and diarrhea.
  • Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid. It is used in the oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates, as well as being the main component of co-enzyme A and synthesizing amino acids, fatty acids, ketones, cholesterol, hormones and others. A deficiency in it can result in acne and has been linked to paresthesia (a tingling or numbness sensation of the skin).
  • Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine (Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal). It is used for metabolizing amino acids and biosynthesis of neurotransmitters. A deficiency in it is uncommon and therefore the symptoms are more pronounced but rare – typically an ulceration of the skin.
  • Vitamin B7 – Biotin. It is used for the metabolism of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. A deficiency does not typically cause symptoms in adults. Although if an infant is deficient, it can lead to neurological and growth disorders.
  • Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid. It is used for the metabolism of nucleic acid and amino acid, along with nucleotide synthesis (a role of cell division). A deficiency in it can lead to problems with red blood cell division. Also, if deficient in women who are pregnant, it can lead to birth defects.
  • Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin. It is used for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. It is essential in the production of blood cells in bone marrow and nerve sheaths. Due to its roles, a deficiency in it can cause issues with blood cells and cognitive issues such as memory loss or dementia (nerve sheaths).

A deficiency in any of the B vitamins is not very common as we get most of them from our diet. The most common that we need to supplement is vitamin B9 (folic acid) for those who are either pregnant or planning to be pregnant. The other one is vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which is commonly seen in long time users of the birth control pill, the elderly (due to reduced absorption through the gut and typically a poorer diet) and vegans (due to the fact that it is only found in meat and animal products, not in plant foods).

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Each of the B vitamins can be found in the following food sources:

B1 – Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and pork.

B2 – Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, chard), whole grains, milk and milk products.

B3 – Beef, poultry, fish, whole grains, mushrooms, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, peanuts.

B5 – Found in most whole foods.

B6 – Beef, fish, poultry, vegetables and fruit.

B7 – Found in most whole foods, also produced by good bacteria in the intestinal tract.

B9 – Leafy green vegetables, legumes, seeds, oranges and liver. Also being added to most refined grains.

B12 – Beef, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and milk products. Not found in plant foods.

A vitamin B complex can also be added into they daily routine if you think you are not getting enough from your diet. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can easily be tested with your regular blood tests.