B Vitamins are water soluble and essential for many functions within the body; it is vital that we have a
sufficient quantity of each of them.
These vitamins are essential for many internal body functions including the nervous system, immune system, healthy blood cells, and cell division.
Furthermore, B vitamins help to steadily release energy from the food we eat so we do not have to rely on sugary and unhealthy snacks between meals.
B Vitamins can be easily destroyed through alcohol,
cooking and certain food processing techniques;
it is for this reason that white flour products are less nutritious than wholegrain products.
The Different Types Of B Vitamins
It is a fact that B vitamins are a group that consists of eight different types of vitamins; the most commonly known varieties include folic acid, B12 and thiamine. While they all have slightly different functions, there are physical illnesses that are linked to a deficiency of such vitamins.
Some of the key vitamins are discussed below.
Folic acid is supplement that turns into folate once in the body. Folates are essential for DNA repair, and cell growth; this is particularly important at life stages such as infancy and pregnancy. It is important for women of childbearing age to ensure they take sufficient folic acid supplements; benefits for the unborn child and women are abundant.
It is important for pregnant women to not only consume foods high in folic acid, but to take folic acid supplements. While the body has some in reserve, if there is a lack of supplements for a reasonable amount of time, a deficiency will occur. A deficiency can lead to depression, confusion, anemia, and ultimately, during pregnancy, fetal defects. Folic acid also appears to have benefits in reducing the likelihood and seriousness of other health conditions, including strokes and fertility.
Food sources include: As the name implies, foliage foods are high in folate, including, green leafy vegetables, such as turnip greens, and spinach, along with various fresh fruits.
Vitamin B12 is important for essential brain and nervous system functioning. Vitamin B12 can be obtained through animal-based products such as eggs, milk, and shellfish. Vitamin B12 is also available as a supplement at many health food stores.
A lack of B12 in the body can have serious consequences on both the brain and nervous system;
at even minor levels of deficiency, symptoms such as memory loss, fatigue,
and depression can occur.
Food sources include: Animal foods, like beef are the only natural source of vitamin B12,
along with shellfish, clams, crab, and mussels.
Niacin is also known as B3 and is important for many reactions within the body, including cell synthesis. Niacin has been shown to be beneficial in the cardiovascular system and
associated health conditions.
Food sources include: It is present in foods such as peanuts, lentils, fish, and meat.
Riboflavin, also known as B2, is essential to create and maintain the body’s basic building blocks.
A deficiency leads to symptoms including sore throat, birth defects if a woman is
deficient during pregnancy, anemia, and oily skin.
Food sources include: Riboflavin is found in many food sources including milk, cheese, yeast, mushrooms, and almonds.
More commonly known as B5, pantothenic acid is vital for metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins,
fats and alcohol. Additionally, it produces red blood cells and hormones such as steroids. B5 is widely available in many different forms, but are most often found in milk, eggs, and peanuts..
Food sources include: cheese, yogurt, asparagus, spinach, fish, eggs, and chicken.
The body uses thiamin to regulate appetite and supports metabolism,
and is also required for the synthesis of DNA and RNA
Food sources include: dark green leafy vegetables, pork, wheat germ, green peas, lentils, almonds.
Also known as B7, supports hair, skin and nails. Biotin is also needed for formation of fatty acids
and glucose which helps your bodies energy levels.
Food sources include: brewer’s yeast, strawberries, organ meat, cheese, chocolate,
legumes, and soybeans.