The human body contains a wide variety of different chemicals and compounds that help it to perform its daily functions. From blood to cells to nutrition and vitamins, the human body cannot survive for long without any of them in a healthy amount.
Importance of B Vitamins:
A vitamin is a group of organic compounds in the human body that are essential for normal growth and nutrition. One’s body cannot produce vitamins on its own. 13 essential vitamins must be provided to the body to maintain its bodily functions. One of these essential vitamins is vitamin B.
Unlike popular misconception, vitamin B does not provide the body with energy but is used to help process and utilize energy-yielding sources like carbohydrates and protein. Vitamin B is water-soluble but can lose its effect once mixed with water or cooked.
Even though vitamin Bs are extremely important, overdosing can lead to several conditions like excessive thirst, skin conditions, diarrhea, increased urination etc.
Here are some of the important functions that are performed or supported directly through vitamin B:
- Maintenance of cell health
- Prevention of infections
- Improve and maintain eyesight
- Help with digestion
- Optimize nerve function
- Help produce hormones and cholesterol
- Properly maintain muscle tone
- Check for red blood cells and their growth
- Maintain normal brain functions
Types of Vitamin B:
There are 8 types of Vitamin Bs. These types are sub-divided on the base of their functionality. These types are:
Vitamin B-1 (thiamin)
It is recommended to intake about 1.1 mg of thiamin for females and around 1.2 mg for males. According to the FDA, however, the daily recommended amount for adults and children is 1.2 mg and 1.4 mg for pregnant ladies.
Vitamin B-1 helps convert glucose into energy. Vitamin B1 helps prevent many types of issues in the nervous system and many other body parts. It can help with inflammation of nerves outside the brain, persistent diarrhea, and poor appetite. People who suffer from diabetic pain, cervical cancer, motion sickness, weakened immune system, and so on are given thiamine supplements as well.
Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
FDA says to at least intake 1.3 mg of Vitamin B-2 daily for anyone above the age of 4. For pregnant females, the amount is about 1.6 mg.
Riboflavin is used in producing energy, helping break down fat and other hormones, converting Vitamin B-6 into coenzymes, and tryptophan into Vitamin B-3. It is also used to help deal with skin disorders, sores in the mouth, swelling, and hair loss. Vitamin B-2 comes mainly from meat and is not recommended to take as supplements.
Vitamin B-3 (niacin)
Niacin is a type of vitamin B that is present in meat, fish, milk, and wheat flour. It is recommended to absorb about 16.5 mg of niacin for males, while an amount of 13.2 mg is recommended for females.
Vitamin B-3 is used to convert and release energy from the food that we eat. It also helps flush and keep the nervous system healthy. Vitamin B-3 is not lost when the source is being cooked.
Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B-5 or Pantothenic acid is a vitamin that is recommended in amounts of about 5 mg for both males and females, while around 7 mg for pregnant ladies.
It is a type of vitamin that is used to help metabolize and absorb carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the body. Pantothenic acid is also needed to produce red blood cells and steroid hormones. Vitamin B5 can also help produce stress-related and sex hormones as well as maintain a healthy digestive tract. Studies also found out that Pantothenic acid plays a vital role in helping fight against diabetes.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine or vitamin B-6 can be fully provided through one’s normal diet. The average human body needs about 1.3 to 1.7 mg of pyridoxine in their daily diet to get through the day.
Vitamin B-6 or pyridoxine helps convert food into energy and helps maintain a healthy body and a healthy brain. It also helps maintain one’s mood, helps keep the brain safe from Alzheimer’s, treats anemia, and can help with clogged arteries. Doctors may recommend doses of about 30 to 250 mg of pyridoxine for people who are suffering from morning sickness or heart disease.
Vitamin B-7 (biotin)
It is recommended to eat about 30 micrograms of vitamin B-7 for adults over the age of 19, while around 25 micrograms for children. Nonetheless, there is no official indicator of how much biotin is required by the body.
Vitamin B-7 plays a vital role in creating important enzymes and is shown to help strengthen hair and nails. Because of this very reason, biotin is also known as Vitamin H – where H stands for hair. Studies have shown that biotin helps prevent thinning of hair and can strengthen one’s scalp to prevent balding.
Vitamin B-9 (folate)
Folic acid is an important vitamin that is needed in small doses of no more than 200 to 400 micrograms on an average human.
Folic acid or folate plays a very vital role in producing red blood cells and can help protect against anemia. Folic acid also helps reduce the risk of spina bifida, a risk of central neural tube defects. Folic acid is especially useful for pregnant women as it can help protect the baby against issues of the spine or neural tube defects during the first 12 weeks of child labor. Doctors may even recommend doses of up to 5 mg for women who are prone to this risk.
Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin)
Cobalamin is recommended in doses of about 2 to 2.4 mcg for healthy adults and children above the age of 4, and about 2.8 micrograms for women who are pregnant.
Cobalamin is an important vitamin as it is involved with making red blood cells, keeping the nervous system healthy and clean, releasing energy from food, and utilizing folate.
Foods rich in B Vitamins:
Here is a small list of some of the best sources of food for Vitamin B. Because doctors recommend completing your vitamin diet through foods only, we will try to include food that everyone can have in their diet:
Milk is one of the most commonly found food in the world. A survey from 2017 shows that over 58% of Americans use milk as a high-quality protein source. Milk is not only a good source of protein but is abundant in vitamin Bs. A rough breakdown shows that 250 milliliters of milk contain about 1 microgram of Vitamin B12 – which is almost half the daily recommended value. Studies show that among all food sources of cobalamin, Vitamin B12 helps lower the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in children.
Another dairy product that is high in vitamin B is cheese. Like milk, cheese is also rich in Vitamin B-12 and provides about 3 micrograms of B12 per 250 grams of cheese. A single serving of about 180 to 200 grams can provide enough B-12 in a day to complete the dietary requirement.
Claims are small shellfish that are packed with nutrients. Studies show that boiled clams are very high in Vitamin B12 and 6 clams can provide 40 times the daily amount of vitamin B12. Clams also contain iron which is important for bone and muscle growth.
Sardines are a dietary requirement for the Japanese people. Sardine is nutritious because it contains most of the nutrition that is required for the body to work properly.
Beans such as kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas are high in protein and are a good source of plant-based protein too. For both vegans and vegetarians alike, beans have always been a staple. Legume, a type of bean, contains multiple vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine. Dry beans are a good source of riboflavin and pyridoxine. Kidney Beans also contains almost all vitamin Bs that are required by the body.
Almonds and other dried fruits that are classified as nuts are a great source of protein on the go. Because dried fruits don’t go bad easily, they have always been enjoyed as a snack. A single serving of almond contains all vitamins required by the body except B12. Almonds also have a high level of Biotin.
7. Citrus fruits and banana
Both citrus and banana are tropical fruits that are enjoyed throughout the world. Citrus is a great source of Vitamin B6 and B9 while bananas also contain a healthy level of vitamin B6. Bananas contain all vitamin Bs except for Vitamin B12.
Yogurt is directly obtained from milk, but still offers a healthy level of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Many people in the world enjoy yogurt as a snack, while some prefer to eat it as breakfast – especially in the Middle East.
Another fish that makes this list is trout. Trout is a freshwater fish that might as well be called the first cousin of salmon. It contains a healthy amount of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12.
10. Green and leafy vegetables
Dietary experts have always claimed that green vegetables are a very nutritious source of energy. Green and leafy vegetables are also high in vitamin Bs. Broccoli contains healthy amounts of Folate, but while also containing a healthy amount of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12.
One must focus on having a diet that has complete Vitamin Bs. Vitamin B cannot be produced or stored by the human body and is soluble with water, so it is recommended to have vitamin Bs daily. Some of the foods we mentioned are readily available and should be made a part of your diet.