Vitamin B Food Sources and Health Benefits
Of all of the vitamins we consume on a daily basis, Vitamin B is one of the most commonly discussed. With a wide variety of healthy benefits as well as scientific support, this is a vitamin that should not only be in everyone's medicine cabinet, but it should also be made a part of a healthy diet.
Thankfully, Vitamin B is easy to add to a healthy routine, though it will become more challenging to those who do not eat meat on a regular basis. This vitamin is one that can truly help to protect your health as well as the health of others – read on to find out more.
What Is Vitamin B and How Much Do You Need?
There are several different kinds of Vitamin B which will need to be a part of your healthy routine:
The B Vitamins
- Vitamin B1 Thiamine
- Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 Niacin
- Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid
- Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine
- Vitamin B7 Biotin
- Vitamin B9 Folic Acid
- Vitamin B12 Cyanobalamin
Each of these vitamins provides your body with benefits that reach far beyond the vagueness of 'good health.' These vitamins are all water-soluble in the body, which means it can be very difficult to overdose on them. The body will just excrete whatever excess Vitamin B you might take in. These vitamins need to be taken in through the diet or through supplementation as the body does not synthesize them on its own.
Most of the time, Vitamin B is found in supplement form as a B complex pill. This provides a balanced amount of many of the B vitamins, while also reducing the number of pills you need to take each day. The RDAs for each of these vitamins vary, with B6 being 1.3mcg per day as an example. To ensure you are meeting the RDAs, it is best to choose a complex supplement and then introduce numerous B filled foods into your diet as well.
Vitamin B Deficiency
If you have a deficiency in any of these B vitamins, you can encounter a number of problems. A B1 deficiency, for example, can cause beriberi, which is a disease of the nervous system. A B3 deficiency can cause pellagra, which is a condition where you have weakness, dementia, and even death in rare cases. Those with a B6 deficiency can have troubles with anemia and depression.
It is also recommended that pregnant women and those who are trying to become pregnant take the RDA of folic acid (B9) every day as not doing so can lead to birth defects in babies.
The Health Benefits of Vitamin B
The health benefits of Vitamin B are numerous. This is a vitamin that is involved with the nervous system and its functions. When you have the recommended Vitamin B in your diet, you will be able to have less stressful reactions and clearer mental function. You will also notice your concentration is better and your memory is sharper.
The B vitamins also work with the metabolism processes in the body, helping you burn calories and turn food into energy. By helping to break down foods, other vitamins can also be released. In addition, the immune system is supported by the B vitamins, helping you to fend off disease and to fight illnesses you may already have.
B vitamins are involved in cell division, which is an important part of your body's repair and growth systems. If normal cell division can not occur, it can lead to long term health problems like anemia and troubles with healing. Cellular division is also necessary when a woman is carrying a child or is trying to become pregnant. Folic acid is crucial at these times.
There is also some research which is backing up the use of Vitamin B as a way to prevent pancreatic cancer, but this is only possible (according to the studies) if the Vitamin B is ingested through the diet and not from supplements.
Foods Sources of Vitamin B
The good news is the B vitamins can be found in a variety of sources. The most common sources of Vitamin B are in meats as well as in beans.
- Brewer's yeast
- Chili peppers
But when it comes to B12, there is no vegetarian option for getting this vitamin, so a supplement will be necessary. You might also want to look for fortified foods that add Vitamin B during the manufacturing process.