Why Are The B Complex Vitamins?   

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 diet.

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 vitamin B6.

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 broccoli.

Happy reading,

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