Vitamin B complex is a group made up of eight different B-vitamins that are water soluble. These eight vitamins work together to boost energy through the conversion of food into energy.

They are all essential for proper development and growth and have many other uses for the hormones, blood cells, and the nervous system. It is important to understand each member of the vitamin B complex, including their uses and their sources, so as to avoid deficiency.

What Makes Up Vitamin B Complex and Their Sources

B1

Also known as thiamine, this is the vitamin that helps:

  • Prevent stress
  • Protect the immune system
  • Forms new cells in our bodies

Vitamin B1 deficiency is quite rare, but it can cause a neurological disorder known as encephalopathy. Best sources are: peanuts, beans, kale, and spinach.

B2

Riboflavin is an antioxidant that can:

  • Fight the free radicals
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Limits effects of premature aging
  • Help in red blood cell production

Vitamin B2 deficiency can lead to hair loss, anemia, skin problems, and liver disorders. Get this vitamin from yogurt, eggs, spinach, almonds, and soybeans.

B3

B3 or niacin is used by the body to:

  • Improve blood circulation
  • Increase good cholesterol levels
  • Produce different hormones

If you’re deficient in this vitamin, it can cause insomnia, diarrhea, weakness, and pellagra. Eat foods like green veggies, eggs, milk, and beans.

B5

Known as pantothenic acid, B5 can:

  • Generate energy
  • Break down carbs and fats
  • Produce testosterone and other hormones

Deficiency in this vitamin is also rare, but it can cause severe acne. Avoid this by eating avocados, legumes, meat, and eggs.

B6

Also called pyridoxine, B6 can do the following:

  • Regulate homocysteine levels
  • Produce some hormones
  • Promote better mood

Deficiency can cause chronic inflammation and neurological problems. Eat more chicken, salmon, lentils, brown rice, carrots, and sunflower seeds to prevent the health conditions.

B7

Biotin is known as a beauty vitamin that has many uses for nails, hair, and skin. Aside from that, it can:

  • Control blood sugar levels
  • Help in normal fetal development

Deficiency is bad for infants and can cause impaired growth. Eat more barley, fish, potatoes, and nuts to avoid deficiency.

B9

Folate or folic acid is popularly known for its use in fetal development as it prevents neurological defects. But it’s also useful for brain development and good memory, while keeping depression at bay. Folate deficiency may cause anemia, so eat dark leafy greens, salmon, and milk to avoid the problem.

B12

Cobalamin works hand-in-hand with B9 for red blood cell production. If deficient, it can cause macrocytic anemia, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy. This can be prevented by eating fish, shellfish, beef, and dairy products regularly.

While you can take supplements, eating the foods rich in B complex can provide you with healthy nutrients that support your body’s needs.

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