B Vitamins are a Big deal!

B Vitamins: What They Are and Why You Need Them.

The B-complex vitamins all play an important role in energy production and aid enzymatic reactions necessary for the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Without B vitamins, many of our bodily processes would shut down and we wouldn’t be able to function properly.

In total, there are 8 B-Vitamins. Here are the roles of each, and why they are so important:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Food Sources: sunflower seeds, navy beans, black beans, barley, dried peas, green peas, lentils, pinto beans, lima beans, oats

Vitamin B1 aids regulation of our appetite and boosts energy. It also plays a key role in maintaining the structure and integrity of nerve cells in the brain.00:1401:04

Deficiency symptoms: dementia, disease of nervous system

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Food Sources: tempeh, spinach, beet greens, cremini mushrooms, asparagus, almonds

Promotes healthy vision and skin, and aids in the production of red blood cells to help prevent anemia. Riboflavin also plays a major role in energy production, and assists other B-Vitamins like folate and vitamin B6 in this energy process as well. This B vitamin is also required to recycle the master antioxidant, glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the human body.

Deficiency symptoms: infections of the throat and mouth, sensitivity to light and irritable eyes

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Food Sources: chia seeds, brown rice, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms (particularly portabella)

Found in every cell of the human body, niacin is necessary for healthy skin and muscle tissue. It promotes mental acuteness and assists in digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Niacin is also used to synthesize starch to be stored in muscles and liver for later use as an energy source.

Deficiency symptoms: lesions of the skin or mouth, difficulty sleeping or sleep disorders

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Food Sources: shittake mushrooms, white mushrooms, avocado, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, broccoli, lentils

Helps aid in food metabolism, regulates the nervous system and promotes healthy skin. Pantothenic acid gets incorporated into Coenzyme A (CoA), one of the most important chemicals needed to sustain life.

Deficiency symptoms: skin issues like acne

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Food Sources: sweet potato, potatoes, sunflower seeds, bananas, spinach, walnuts, pistachios, prunes

Helps assist in the creation of serotonin, GABA and dopamine. Vitamin B6 is also involved in several of the steps involved in carbohydrate metabolism, and is required by heme (a key section of hemoglobin) for its production. Interestingly, lack of this vitamin is associated with chronic inflammation.

Deficiency symptoms: depression, skin issues (dermatitis), high blood pressure, anemia

Vitamin B7 (biotin)

Food Sources: chard, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, carrots, almonds, cauliflower, strawberries, raspberries, onions, cabbage, cucumber, walnuts, oats

Aids in blood sugar balance and skin health. It plays an important role in fat and sugar metabolism, and is necessary to build healthy fats in the skin (one reason why lack of biotin can cause the skin to be flaky and irritated).

Deficiency symptoms: rashes, fine and brittle hair, total hair loss, anemia

Vitamin B9 (folate)

Food Sources: spinach, leafy greens (cos or romaine lettuce), asparagus, lentils, avocado, broccoli, mango, oranges

Normalizes gestation during pregnancy and activates the sexual response. You will often hear that pregnant women should eat foods high in folate, or take a folic acid supplement to help prevent miscarriage and neural tube defects such as spin bifida. Folate also promotes heart health, and is important for preventing anemia and allowing the bowel to properly absorb nutrients.

Deficiency symptoms: birth defects, anemia

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Food Sources: mushrooms, spirulina (controversy over whether B12 in these plant forms actually absorbs), nutritional yeast, supplementation (methylcobalamin form)

Helps us become emotionally stable and promotes weight loss. B12 is also required for manufacturing of red blood cells, normal functioning of nerve cells (and the manufacturing of myelin, an insulating material that covers some of our nerve cells), and replication of DNA.

Over 40% of the population is deficient in this vitamin, so it is important you get yourself checked. Not just vegans are deficient in B12 (if that was the case, then 40% of the population would be vegan, which is sadly, not the case). The intrinsic binding factor for B12 is often destroyed if we have a past of heavy alcohol use, antibiotic use, have undergone major surgeries, or consume(d) street drugs. I recommend taking a spray B12 (methylcobalamin – NOT cyanocobalamin which is poorly absorbed) that can rest sublingually under the tongue for 30-60 seconds.

Deficiency symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, dementia, dizziness, fainting, trouble balancing, coldness or numbness in hands/feet, slow reflexes, sore mouth/tongue, yellowing of skin (jaundice)



This Article was written by Carly Fraser founder of LiveLoveFruit originally published here
Find more from Carly here: Twitter: @livelovefruit  Pinterest: @livelovefruit  Instagram: @livelovefruit


Want to read some other articles about health and nutrition? Try the ones below! 
Hold the Salt!
Boost Your Energy Naturally