A Family of Vitamin B’s

By Edeline Anne Goh

You’re at the supermarket and you pick up a box of cereal from a nearby shelf. You flip the box over to read the nutritional content and you discover the number of calories related to each serving of fat and sugar.

You also find out about the vitamins you’ll get from eating the cereal. On the list, you notice vitamins B1, B2, B3, B9, B12 …the list goes on. You wonder, “how come there are so many types of vitamin B and what’s the difference from one to the next?”

Well, you’re about to find out right now.

B is for BenefitsB family

There is an array of benefits which vitamin B provides. Generally, vitamin B is essential for a person’s growth and development. Besides that, it is known to ease stress, help reduce anxiety and depression, decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases and relieve pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

Another vital role of vitamin B is to help turn the food you eat into energy and other important substances. If your body does not have enough B vitamins you might experience some of these symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Pale skin
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Difficulty walking
  • Memory loss

The good news is, different kinds of vitamin B can be easily obtained from natural food sources and if your body requires more than what you can get from your daily diet, you can choose to consume this vitamin in the form of supplements.

Get To Know the Family of Bs

So, here is what you’ll need to know about the family of B vitamins and how each type can help you  maintain good health.

B1 – Vitamin B1, which is also known as thiamine is an important vitamin, which can help with energy production, brain function as well as eye health. Vitamin B1 can be found in foods such as whole grains, potatoes, seafood and liver. This particular B plays a key role in preventing medical conditions such as beriberi and neuritis.

B2 – If you are deficient in vitamin B2, you might experience a sore throat, mouth ulcers, itchy skin as well as dry and dull hair. Also known as Riboflavin, vitamin B2 is a micronutrient that is easily absorbed by the cells of the body. Vitamin B2 deficiency can also affect the growth of a child. If you’re worried that you’re deficient in vitamin B2, be sure to incorporate dairy products, leafy vegetables, eggs and cereals in your daily diet.

B3 – This B vitamin is available in three forms, nicotinic acid and niacinamide, which can be found in both natural sources and supplements as well as inositol hexaniacinate which can only be found in the form of supplements. Generally, vitamin B3 helps to decrease levels of bad cholesterol and also has a positive effect for people who are insulin-resistant. The best sources of this vitamin are protein-rich food such as nuts, meat and eggs.

B5 – Vitamin B5 or also known as Panthothenic acid can be found in both plants and animals such as vegetables, meats, legumes and eggs. Vitamin B5 is frequently used together with other types of vitamin B to help tackle a long list of medical conditions including low blood sugar and depression. It is also prescribed orally to people with arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, in order to ease symptoms.

B6 – One of the more popular vitamins in the family of Bs, vitamin B6 is used to combat an array of medical conditions. Some of them include reducing the risk of heart attacks, carpel tunnel syndrome, depression and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). The good news is, this vitamin can be found in all natural food sources in one way or another — be it greens, poultry, nuts or grains.

B7 – More commonly known as biotin, this vitamin can be easily obtained from liver, oat bran, salmon, egg yolks, soy and milk. This vitamin helps in the growth and replication of cells and is a good choice for those suffering from hair loss. Besides that, this vitamin also helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and metabolic activity.

B9 – Folic acid (folate) or vitamin B9 is one of the most common forms of vitamin B. It is vital for everyone, especially for nursing or pregnant mothers and women who are trying to conceive. There are many ways in which humans can benefit from this vitamin and this includes preventing birth defects, producing healthy red blood cells and boosting the immune system. Folic acid can be easily obtained via supplements or if you wish to go natural, fresh foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, liver and mushrooms are great options.

B12 Your body requires this vitamin to produce blood cells and to maintain a healthy nervous system. People who consume animal products are less likely to be B12 deficient as meat is one of the main sources of this vitamin. However, if you are vegetarian, you might want to consider opting for vitamin B12 supplements to reduce your risk of aneamia. Plus, this vitamin also helps to improve your memory.

Now that you’ve gotten to know the family of Bs, be sure to remember to include them when planning your meals Pumping up on those B vitamins will certainly help ensure that you stay healthy and happy.

Tips for Consuming B’s

It is best to take B vitamins with food as some types can cause nausea if consumed on an empty stomach or first thing in the morning.

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