Vitamins are needed for proper functioning of human body. Though they are required in very small quantities, the lack of Vitamins reflects greatly on our health! Our body is not capable of producing vitamins on its own, we therefore need to depend on external sources to ensure that the need is fulfilled.
Vitamin B was earlier thought to be just a single vitamin. But it was later found that these are chemically distinct vitamins that co-exist in the same food sources together. The different vitamins co-existing are:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine and pyridoxamine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Vitamin B is needed for proper functioning of almost every process that occurs in our body. It is of critical importance for metabolism, the nervous system, vital organs, eyes, muscles, skin and hair. Our body uses different energy yielding food sources like carbohydrates, fats and proteins for fuel. Vitamin B helps the body utilize that fuel. They play a major role in the activities of enzymes and proteins that regulate chemical reactions in the body, which are important for turning food into energy. Our body, however, has a limited capacity of storing Vitamin B, so high amount of Vitamin B consumption is necessary for the proper functioning of the body processes. Vitamin B deficiency can often lead to several health problems as a chain reaction.
Sources of Vitamin B:
Vitamin B is mainly water soluble and delicate and can get easily destroyed particularly by alcohol and cooking. Food processing also reduces the Vitamin B content in foods as we see in processed breads when compared to whole grain counterparts.
- Fish: The highest content of Vitamin B is found in fish. Salmon, trout, tuna and cod are few varieties that contain a high amount of Vitamin B.
- Lamb, beef, poultry, eggs and dairy food also contain a high amount of Vitamin B.
- Vegetables: Certain fruits, vegetables and legumes are good sources of Vitamin B. Avocado, pomegranate, dates, watermelons, and some berries are high in B complex vitamins. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, potatoes, and squashes also contain significant amounts. Legumes like soy beans, kidney beans and lentils also contain Vitamin B in significant amounts.
[ Read: Amazing Benefits of Vitamin B12 ]
a. Thiamine helps to convert glucose into energy and has a major role in nerve functions. Whole grain cereals sesame seeds, legumes, wheat germ, nut, yeast and pork contain high amounts of thiamine.
b. Riboflavin is involved in the energy production and helps to improve vision. It also improves skin health. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole grain bread, cereals, egg, green leafy vegetables, meat, liver and kidney contain highest amount of riboflavin.
c. Niacin helps to covert carbohydrates, fats and alcohol into energy. It helps in maintaining skin and aids in the functions of the digestive and nervous system. Good sources of Niacin are meat, fish, poultry, nuts, mushrooms and all protein containing food items.
d. Pantothenic acid is needed to mobilize carbohydrate, protein, fats and alcohol and helps to produce red blood cells and steroidal hormones. Pantothenic acid is found in a variety of food items like liver, milk, kidney, eggs. meat, yeast, legumes and peanuts.
e. Biotin is also needed for energy metabolism along with amino acid, fat and glycogen synthesis. Cauliflower, egg yolks. peanuts, liver, chickens and yeast contain pantothenic acid in high amounts.
f. Pyridoxine is needed for protein and carbohydrate metabolism along with the formation of red blood cells and certain brain chemicals. Hence, it aids in the development of brain and maintains steroidal hormone activity. Cereals, grains, legumes, fish, Meat, shell fish, nuts, liver and fruits have a high level of Pyridoxine.
g. Folate is also needed to form red blood cells which carry oxygen around to the different organs in the body. It is also needed in the development of fetal nervous system. Pregnant women need high amount of Folate in their diet. Folic acid is used extensively in the form of supplements and food fortification. Good sources of Folate are green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, liver, cereals and citrus foods. In fact flour used in making bread is also fortified with folic acid.
The usual dose of for adults is about 100mg for major Vitamin B and 100mcg for minor B vitamins. Children should take about 2/3 of the above mentioned dosage and children under 5 years should take 1/3 of the above mentioned dosage.
Symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency:
Symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency include fatigue, cracked corners of mouth, migraine, headache, anaemia, depression, constipation, and burning feet. Deficiency of Vitamin B can also cause loss of appetite, abdominal pain, numbness and tingling in arms. Vitamin B deficiency can also lead to respiratory problems, hair loss, eczema, and poor growth in children and birth defects in pregnant women.
[ Read: Vitamin D Deficiency Causes ]
A. Health Benefits of Vitamin B:
1. Proper bodily functioning:
Vitamin B helps to convert food into glucose which provides energy to the body. Vitamin B also helps to metabolize fats and proteins which aids in nervous system functioning. Thiamine helps to boost the nervous system and strengthens the body under stressful condition. Pyridoxine, a part of Vitamin B complex helps to make certain hormones in the brain which are known as the neurotransmitters. It also boosts the immune system.
2. Cholesterol problems:
Niacin helps lower bad cholesterol and boosts the good cholesterol levels. It also helps to prevent hardening of arteries. Niacin, if taken in huge amounts however, can cause liver problems as a side effect.
3. Promote healthy growth:
Folate, one of B complex vitamins helps to promote healthy fetal development and makes new cell in the body. Folate is necessary to make RNA and DNA which helps in forming new cells. The vitamin also aids in promoting red blood cells and prevents against anemia Folate is very important during pregnancy and protects damaging of the neutral tube. All women of child bearing age are advised to increase their intake of vitamin B to prevent certain birth effects during pregnancy and delivery of the fetus.
4. Flush out the toxins:
Niacin is very useful to remove toxins from the body and flushes out the unwanted chemicals from the body. It is also required to produce several sex related hormones by adrenal gland and repairs any signs of DNA damage.
5. Cell growth:
Biotin and folic acid help make new cells and aids development of cell growth. It also helps in the production of fatty acid and maintains a steady blood sugar level. Some B vitamins also help cells to burn fat and provide glucose for energy.
6. Eases mind:
Vitamin B is a critical nutrient for all mind related troubles like stress, migraine, mood and memory. Vitamin B also helps to quell anxiety, lift depression and boost energy. It also improves symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
It reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer, if Vitamin B is consumed in the form of food and not medicines.
8. Aids in digestion:
It is important to make sure that the food you eat is digested properly. Vitamin B produces Hydrochloric acid to breakdown protein, fats and carbs. If these nutrients build up in your body, they can lead to kidney and liver failure. Increase your intake of Vitamin B to avoid such health issues.
9. Improves energy:
Vitamin B plays an essential role in converting all those carbs that we eat into glucose. Glucose then is converted into energy with the help of Vitamin B. it is very important to make sure that our body is properly fuel to perform daily activities and our energy don’t fall.
B. Vitamin B For Skin Care:
Getting sufficient vitamins and minerals in our diet will not only benefit our body but will also take care of our skin. Vitamin B speeds up cell metabolism and promotes healthy skin. Research has revealed that Vitamin B can benefit our skin, both when ingested and when applied topically. For a healthy skin make sure that you are getting Vitamin B through diet and your skin care regime. Vitamin holds a very important place in the enhancement of healthier and glowing skin. It not only keeps the skin tone healthy but also protects against eczema.
10. Vitamin B 1 is an antioxidant that helps to increase blood circulation. It also protects us from the effects of ageing, smoking and alcohol consumption.
11. Vitamin B2 helps to keep skin healthy and prevents acne breakout.
12. Vitamin B 5 has shown the capability to reduce oil formation and thus, reduces acne formation. It has also become very popular in skin care industry because of its ability to assist in retaining moisture. It helps hydrate and hydrated skin appears plumper, healthier and shows signs of ageing much slower. Vitamin B5 is also needed for healthy growth and production to fight eczema.
13. Biotin is required to make skin, hair and nails healthy. It also helps to treat specific skin diseases like seborrhoea dermatitis, acne and eczema.
14. Vitamin B and its multiple derivatives are used as a key product in anti-ageing products. Niacin has shown to improve the epidermis, the upper most layer of the skin to retain moisture while nicotinamide, when applied topically reveals softer, smoother skin with less dryness and flakiness and reduction of fine lines.
15. It also protects against harmful UV rays of sun that cause skin cancer.
16. Vitamin B also serves as an effective skin lightening agent. With regular usage you can see your hyperpigmentation decreasing. It also makes a potential treatment for acne, rosacea and any blister causing diseases.
17. Vitamin B helps to reduce redness, scaliness, and other skin irritations.
18. Vitamin B also protects skin from getting puffy and it enhances the life span of cells.
19. Vitamin B enhances the permeation of blood and fluids into different areas of the skin, so that the outer layers of the skin on our body can receive oxygen that is carried by the blood.
20. Vitamin B obtained from dairy products protects the skin from crackling and drying out.
[ Read: Best Vitamins for Skin ]
C. Vitamin B For Hair Care:
Vitamin B has several benefits for the hair too. Vitamin prevents hair fall and promotes new hair growth. By including Vitamin B in your diet on a daily basis one can significantly improve your hair and achieve lustre and shine.
21. If you are suffering from hair loss, include Vitamin B foods in your diet. For thick, strong and shiny hair, you have to include ample amounts of vitamins and minerals in your diet. When a person lacks essential nutrients because of poor dietary habits, the hair is bound to become brittle, thin with no shine or lustre. In severe conditions, it can even lead to baldness.
22. Thiamine helps to improve the blood circulation of the scalp. This hastens hair growth process and provides oxygen to hair follicles.
23. Vitamin B 12 is part of the structure of the hair, so maintaining proper level of B12 will help to increase the overall health of the hair.
24. Vitamin B 6 has shown to reduce the formation of Dihydotestosterone which is a hormone that causes baldness in men and women. By inhibiting Dihydotestosteone Vitamin B6, thwarts hair loss and promotes healthy hair.
25. The antioxidant in vitamin B helps in the secretion of sebum in the scalp. It regulates the flow of sebum in the hair follicles, keeping the scalp moisturized and preventing dandruff.
26. Vitamin B is also important or the production of melanin. This helps maintain the natural colour of hair and improves the health of hair. Biotin in Vitamin B prevents hair from greying and falling.
27. Biotin, present in Vitamin B plays an essential role in the production of fatty acids which is needed for fast cell growth. It drastically improves hair growth rates and makes hair thicker and stronger.
28. Vitamin B also improves the health of the scalp. When scalp becomes healthier, it becomes slightly thicker and is less likely to be damaged. It also helps to increase the average size of the hair follicles.
[ Read: Best Vitamins for Hair Growth ]
D. Vitamin B For Nails:
Nail requires a well-balanced, nutrient rich diet in order to grow and be healthy. Nail disorders like brittle nails, splitting of nails, nails discolouration, pale and chipped nails are often caused due to Vitamin B deficiency. Number of Vitamin B derivatives is required for healthy nails.
29. Vitamin B 12 helps the body to absorb essential mineral iron which is necessary for healthy and strong nails. Mineral iron deficiency can lead to white and brittle nails that grow unevenly. Vitamin B 12 also plays a very important role in the formation of red blood cell, a deficiency of which can lead to pale and unsightly nails.
30. Folate is also important for the health and growth of nails as this helps in the development of new cells.
Thus Vitamin B is extremely important in our overall well-being. It improves our immunity system keeping us healthy along with awarding us with lovely skin and hair! Make sure you incorporate Vitamin B in your diet to reap all these benefits.