Vitamins Explained: B Vitamins
Our Vitamin series continues with the next group in line, B Vitamins. This family is made up of 8 different vitamins all serving a different function but ultimately working together to produce energy from the food we eat and aid in forming red blood cells. The 8 vitamins that make up this group are referred to as the B-Complex and it is made up of the following:
- vitamin B1 (thiamin): helps convert nutrients into energy.
- vitamin B2 (riboflavin): is an antioxidant and also helps convert food into energy.
- vitamin B3 (niacin): help support cellular energy production, metabolism, and DNA functions.
- vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): this is another vitamin which helps convert food into energy and also helps with the production of hormones and cholesterol.
- vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): aids in metabolizing amino acids and glycogen, creates neurotransmitters, and formation of red blood cells.
- vitamin B7 (biotin): essential for the support of fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism and may also help support healthy skin, hair, and nails.
- vitamin B9 (folic acid): is needed for proper cell growth and division as well as amino acid metabolism, this vitamin is particularly important for women during childbearing years as it plays a major role in developing a baby’s nervous system.
- vitamin B12 (cobalamin): is responsible for neurological function as well as red blood cell and DNA production, this vitamin is found in animal sources and people who follow a vegan diet must take a supplement in order to receive adequate intake.
A Vitamin B deficiency is a common scenario worldwide, even in developed countries. Following specific diets can cause a lack of vitamin B intake and therefore cause side effects. For example, a lack of vitamin B12, common among vegans, can cause anemia, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss, dry skin, and even brittle nails.
In order to avoid a Vitamin B deficiency, eating proper foods will provide the adequate amount. B vitamins can be found in the following foods:
- Whole grains
Remember, our bodies need vitamins and nutrients to thrive and feel healthy. By eating a balanced diet full or fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein, you should be getting the right amount of vitamins your body needs without needing to resort to vitamin tablets or supplements!