Vitamin B: 8 essential nutrients

B vitamins are a group of eight basic nutrients that play a role in many organs and body systems. While they can work together in the body, they also perform their own specific functions.

In this article, we explore the function of B vitamins in the body and some key dietary sources of each.

We ‘re also looking at the signs of increasing B vitamin deficiency.

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play an important role in cell metabolism. While these vitamins have similar names, they are chemically distinct compounds that sometimes coexist in the same food. By general, dietary supplements containing all eight are referred to as vitamin B complexes.

There are eight B vitamins — collectively called B complex vitamins. They are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12).

vitamin deficiency

What are the benefits?

B vitamins have a crucial role to play in preserving good health and well-being. As building blocks for a healthy body, B vitamins have a significant effect on your energy levels, brain activity, and cell metabolism.

Vitamin B complex helps prevent infections and helps support or promote:

  • Cell health
  • Growth of red blood cells
  • Energy levels
  • Good eyesight
  • Healthy brain function
  • Good digestion
  • Healthy appetite
  • Proper nerve function
  • Hormones and cholesterol production
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Muscle tone

In women

B vitamins are particularly essential for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. Such vitamins aid in the growth of the fetal brain and raising the risk of birth defects.

And for expectant mothers, B vitamins can raise energy levels, relieve nausea, and reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia.

In men

B vitamins are thought to increase the level of testosterone in men, which normally decreases with age. They can also help men build muscles and increase strength. However, there is a lack of human studies confirming these claims.

How much vitamin B complex do you need?

The recommended daily amount of each B vitamin varies.

For women, the recommended daily intake is:

  • B-1: 1.1 milligrams (mg)
  • B-2: 1.1 mg
  • B-3: 14 mg
  • B-5: 5 mg (RDA not established)
  • B-6: 1.3 mg
  • Biotin: 30 micrograms (mcg) (RDA not established)
  • Folic acid: 400 mcg
  • B-12: 2.4 mcg

For men, the recommended daily intake is:

  • B-1: 1.2 mg
  • B-2: 1.3 mg
  • B-3: 16 mg
  • B-5: 5 mg (RDA not established)
  • B-6: 1.3 mg
  • Biotin: 30 mcg (RDA not established)
  • Folic acid: 400 mcg
  • B-12: 2.4 mcg

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