Vitamin B: Types, Benefits, and Sources
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There are eight water-soluble vitamins in the vitamin B complex, and each of them plays a vital part in various biochemical processes inside your body. Maintaining normal levels of these elements is sure to strengthen your health as a whole.
A Guide to Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin).
This element helps convert glucose into energy. It also affects the general wellbeing of the nervous system. Vitamin B1 deficiencies are more common in the Asian countries where the dietary staple is white rice. In the Western countries the main reasons for this condition are an exceedingly poor diet and alcoholism. Common symptoms include irritability, confusion, poor coordination, fatigue, muscle weakness. In extreme cases, the patient may develop ‘wet’ and/or ‘dry’ beriberi (severe problems with the nervous and cardiovascular systems).
Sources: nuts, wheatgerm, grains, legumes, and seeds.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).
This part of the vitamin B complex also helps with energy generation as well as assists with maintaining eye and skin health. Its deficiency is extremely rare and usually affects people suffering from alcoholism. It appears in the form of anxiety, inflamed tongue, redness and cracks in the corners of the mouth, light sensitivity.
Sources: milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, organ meat, egg whites, leafy greens.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin).
This vitamin is essential for converting carbohydrates. It maintains the health of your skin, digestive, and nervous systems. Niacin deficiency may occur in alcoholics and people with digestive problems. The symptoms are dermatitis, diarrhea, mental confusion, loss of appetite, dizziness. Excessive doses of B3 have a drug-like effect on the nervous system and blood fats.
Sources: meat, poultry, fish, nuts, mushrooms, eggs, wholegrain cereals.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).
Another vital element for metabolism, vitamin B5 also plays a part in the production of steroid hormones and red blood cells. Luckily, its deficiency is exceedingly rare. If it occurs, its symptoms are insomnia, vomiting, intestinal distress, and appetite loss.
Sources: liver, meat, yeast, eggs, milk, legumes, and peanuts.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine).
Aside from its part in the protein and carbohydrate metabolism, this representative of the vitamin B complex affects the synthesis of specific brain chemicals. They influence hormone activity levels, general brain development, and various brain processes. Note that overindulging in B6 supplements can cause nerve damage. People at risk of pyridoxine deficiency are alcoholics, women (especially those taking contraceptive pills), people suffering from thyroid disease, and the elderly. Symptoms to look out for are cracked corners of the mouth, confusion, dermatitis, convulsions, depression, and anemia.
Sources: grains, legumes, fish, leafy greens, nuts, and meats.
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin).
Biotin is an essential beauty vitamin as it affects the condition of your skin, hair, and nails. Its deficiency is might develop in bodybuilders who overindulge in egg whites as they reduce biotin absorption. This condition may cause hair loss, nausea, dermatitis, and muscle pains.
Sources: egg yolks, cauliflower, poultry, yeast, mushrooms.
- Vitamin B9 (Folate).
Folate’s most important function is DNA synthesis. It’s essential for pregnant women as it reduces the risk of birth defects. B9 deficiency symptoms are weakness, fatigue, anemia.
Sources: leafy greens, seeds, legumes, eggs, and poultry.
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin).
This element is vitally important as it helps maintain the myelin (cover of nervous cells) and the nervous system health as a whole. Its deficiency is common in vegans and the elderly. This condition’s symptoms are vision loss, shortness of breath, mental problems, depression, and memory loss.
Sources: milk, liver, meats, eggs, and cheese.