What are Vitamin B Foods and Benefits?

Vitamin B Complex can help build a better you. There are eight different B-vitamins, which play a role in cell metabolism. They can also help skin, hair, eye, nerve, adrenal, and cardiovascular health. Additionally, B-vitamins play a significant role in the metabolic reactions that take place in our bodies, specifically energy production. B-vitamins are essential for our blood cells, hormones, and nervous system.

What is Vitamin B Complex?

B complex is a compound made up of several different vitamins. You are probably familiar with B12, the vitamin known for red blood cell production. Vitamin B complex supplements should be stored in a cool, dry location that is out of direct sunlight. Though B vitamins aren’t chemically related, they often work hand-in-hand and are generally found together in the same foods.

Vitamin B in Food

B-vitamins are water soluble, so our body is unable to store them in large amounts. This means we need to regularly replenish our internal supply.

Luckily, they are found in a wide variety of foods, both naturally and through fortification. These include:

  1. Whole grains, peanuts, beans, spinach, kale, blackstrap molasses and wheat germ (B1 – Thiamine)
  2. Eggs, kidneys, liver, lean meats, low-fat milk, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach (B2 – Riboflavin)
  3. Yeast, red meat, milk, eggs, beans and green vegetables (B3 – Niacin)
  4. Avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat and legumes (B5 – Pantothenic Acid)
  5. Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, cheese, brown rice and carrots (B6 – Pyridoxine)
  6. Barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks and nuts (B7 – Biotin)
  7. Dark leafy greens, asparagus, beets, salmon, root vegetables, milk, bulgur wheat and beans (B9 – Folate)
  8. Fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef and pork (B12 – Cobalamin)
  9. Each B-vitamin has its own specialty, which is why it is important to get enough of each through a nutritious diet and/or supplementation.

What Vitamin B Complex Does for the Body

Each B-vitamin plays a particular role in the body’s function, and deficiency in any of them can negatively affect your health.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Thiamin helps the nervous system function properly. It is essential to healthy cell production in the body because it has the ability to protect the immune system. It also plays a key role in producing energy from the food we eat. Deficiency in Vitamin B1 is rare, but can cause Wernicke’s encephalopathy, a neurological disorder that is characterized by mental confusion, abnormal eye movements, and an unsteady gait.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin works as an antioxidant and is involved with cell growth, development, and function. It helps fight free radicals and may prevent early aging, as well as the development of heart disease. Vitamin B2 plays a role in converting the food that we eat into energy. It is also essential to red blood cell production. Some research suggests that Vitamin B2 can help alleviate migraines, although further study may be required.

The majority of people are able to obtain an adequate amount of riboflavin from their diets. Some people may require further supplementation. Athletes who follow a vegetarian diet, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, vegans, those with a dairy-free diet, and those with genetic disorders causing riboflavin deficiency are more likely to be deficient in this vitamin. Having an inadequate amount of riboflavin can result in skin disorders, hair loss, liver issues, and reproductive and nervous system issues. Additionally, riboflavin deficiency can result in anemia, which leads to weakness and fatigue.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin helps the body make various hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body. It also helps improve circulation, boost HDL cholesterol (known as the good cholesterol), and suppress inflammation.

Deficiency results when the body doesn’t have enough niacin or tryptophan (the liver can convert tryptophan into niacin), and a several deficiency can cause pellagra, which is characterized by aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion, and diarrhea.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic Acid is found in small amounts in just about every food group. This vitamin breaks down fats and carbohydrates for energy. It’s also responsible for the production of certain hormones, including testosterone. Research indicates that vitamin B5 promotes healthy skin and can reduce signs of aging, such as redness and skin spots. Although Vitamin B5 deficiency is uncommon, it can result in acne.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine helps regulate levels of the amino acidhomocysteine, which is associated with heart disease. This vitamin helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine, which all play a role in mood and sleep patterns. Research suggests that Vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Deficiency can cause seborrhoeic dermatitis-like eruptions, pink eye, and neurological symptoms, such as epilepsy.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Biotin is well known for its association as the healthy hair, skin, and nails supplement. But, what you may not know is that it may also help control high blood glucose levels, which is especially helpful for people with diabetes. It’s also vital for normal fetal development, making it especially important during pregnancy. Vitamin B7 deficiency in adults doesn’t typically cause symptoms, but, in infants, may lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders.

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folate also comes in a synthetic form called folic acid, which is used in supplements and fortified foods like cereal and bread. Folate is crucial for healthy brain development, and research suggests that it may help prevent memory loss and alleviate depression. This vitamin is also especially important for pregnant women, as it supports fetal development and prevents neurological defects. Vitamin B9  deficiency can result in macrocytic anemia and elevated levels of homocysteine. In pregnant women, deficiency in Vitamin B9 can lead to birth defects.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Cobalamin works with Vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help iron create hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein. It also helps maintain healthy nerve function and create our body’s genetic material, DNA and RNA. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, which is why studies show higher rates of deficiency among non-meat eaters.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in macrocytic anemia, elevated homocysteine, peripheral neuropathy, memory loss, and other cognitive impairments. Deficiency can also cause symptoms of mania and psychosis. Since absorption through the gut declines with age, Vitamin B12 deficiency is most likely to occur among elderly people.

Supplements like Vitamin B complex can help assure that you get enough of the vital substances the body needs to function.

Interested in learning whether vitamin B is right for you? Take the Vitality DNA test to learn exactly which supplements your body needs.


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