Why Are The B Complex Vitamins?
Taken as a
whole, the B-complex vitamins help release energy
from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, promotes
healthy skin, nails, hair, and eyes. It is also
essential for the development of red blood cells as
well as the normal functioning of the nervous
system. In a nutshell, all the B vitamins are
essential to our well-being.
Because they are water-soluble, B-complex vitamins
are found in the watery portions of food, and are
taken to the water-filled areas of the body. During
both physical and mental stress, amounts of these
vitamins may be low. Water-soluble vitamins are
excreted in the urine and therefore can become
deficient. To come through periods of stress
successfully, B-vitamins help the metabolic
machinery of the body run smoothly. Alcohol,
smoking, caffeine, dieting, and the use of birth
control pills and some medications also can deplete
the body of B vitamins. This means that virtually
all of us can lose B-complex vitamins every day. It
also means that these losses should be replenished
by a diet sufficient in B vitamins.
Unfortunately, that's often not the case. In fact,
sufficient amounts of B-Complex vitamins must be
obtained from a variety of foods such as: yeast,
pork, liver, legumes, green vegetables, and dairy
products - not all of which are likely to be eaten
in a given day.
B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that any
excess intake is largely excreted in the urine.
Supplements containing B vitamins are generally
thought to be safe but still should not be taken in
very large doses. Possible side effects can vary
depending on which B vitamin is taken. Rarely, large
doses of vitamin B3 (niacin) supplements can cause
blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, high blood sugar,
serious liver problems, painful skin lesions, and
sensitivity to the sun. High doses of pyridoxine can
cause numbness and trouble walking.
Always tell your doctor and pharmacist about any
supplements and herbs you are taking.
Food Sources of B Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- found in cereals (rice, wheat, maida, rava, poha,
etc.) breads, fortified cereals and pasta, pulses or
lentils (dals such as moong dal, masoor dal, chana
dal etc), legumes (whole pulses such as whole moong,
channa, chowli, rajmah), dark green leafy vegetables
such as spinach, fenugreek, lettuce, cabbage,
asparagus etc. soy foods, whole grains like wheat
germ, fish, egg, milk, meat, pork ham etc, nuts such
as almonds and pecans.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- some of the best sources of riboflavin are
chicken, fish, eggs, legumes (like peas and
lentils), milk and milk products such as yogurt and
cheese, nuts, green leafy vegetables like spinach,
broccoli, asparagus, and fortified cereals also
supply significant amounts of riboflavin to the
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) -
it is found in chicken, salmon and in fishes like
canned tuna – they are an excellent source of
niacin. Vegetarians can get their source of niacin
from legumes, pasta and whole wheat.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- foods like potatoes, beans, red meat, poultry,
eggs and fortified cereals contain are very high in
Folate, folic acid, or folacin
- To remember which foods are high in folate,
remember that the word folate has the same root as
the word foliage. Leafy greens such as spinach,
fenugreek, turnip greens, asparagus, etc and other
fresh fruits and vegetables are all excellent
sources of folate. Liver, dried beans and other
legumes, and orange juice are good sources of this
vitamin. So are fortified bread, rice, and cereals.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)-Animal foods are the only natural source of
vitamin B12. It is found naturally in fish, red
meat, poultry, milk, milk products, cheese, and
eggs. But, many products, including soy products and
cereals, are fortified with B12 so it is widely
available in the food supply. Other good natural
sources include shellfish, such as clams, mussels
and crab, fin fish and beef.
Biotin-liver and egg
yolks are the richest dietary sources of biotin, but
fortunately this B vitamin is well distributed
throughout the food supply, so it is doubtful that
anyone eating a balanced, varied diet will
experience a deficiency. Salmon, pork and avocado
are good sources; most fruits and vegetables contain
a little biotin, as do cheeses and grain foods.
Pantothenic Acid-yogurt and avocado are both excellent sources of pantothenic acid, but it is also available in a wide
variety of foods such as legumes including lentils
and split peas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and