There are actually only 8 B vitamins even though they are numbered up to 12. B vitamins help maintain health of skin, hair, mouth, eyes, nerves, liver, healthy brain function and muscle tone in the GI tract. They may alleviate depression and anxiety and elevate mood.
These important vitamins act as co-enzymes which are involved in energy production. B vitamins work together so a deficiency in one type can mean a deficiency in another. They are especially important as we age since they are not as well absorbed. They are also important in those with malabsorption and MTHFR. These individuals will need to take the methylated version B's since their bodies will not absorb B vitamins well.
B1 Thiamine- Important for a healthy metabolism and energy level, needed to turn nutrients into ATP which is what cells use for energy, assists in making new cells, promotes immune function, promotes healthy heart function, supports body's resilience to stress.
Antibiotics, Dilantin, Sulfa, oral birth control and heavy caffeine or alcohol use can decrease B1 levels.
Deficiency symptoms include:
* fatigue * depression * irritability * headache * nausea * abdominal discomfort *
* difficulty digesting carbohydrates
Food Sources- brown rice, egg yolks, liver, legumes, fish, peanuts, peas, pork, poultry, ice bran, wheat germ, whole grains, brewers yeast, broccoli, most nuts, plums, oatmeal, dried prunes, raisins, spirulina and watercress
B2 Riboflavin- Antioxidant critical to making ATP and used to process fats and amino acids, necessary for healthy nervous system, skin, liver, eyes and hair, assists in the growth of RBC's, helps the body transport and use oxygen. Supplementation may- reduce migraine frequency and length of episodes and may help with prevention of cataracts.
Oral birth control, antibiotics, consumption of alcohol and strenuous exercise increase the need for B2.
Deficiency may lead to :
* redness and swelling of the lining of the mouth and throat * sore throat *
* cracks or sores in the corners of the mouth and lips * inflamed tongue *
* skin disorders
Food Sources- cheese, egg yolks, legumes, fish, meat, milk, yogurt, poultry, spinach, avocados, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, currants, whole grains, leafy green veggies, mushrooms, nuts, watercress.
B3 Niacin- Suppresses inflammation, assist with making of various sex hormones, helps improve circulation, helps metabolize fat and protein, and helps convert fats into energy. B3 lowers cholesterol and improve circulation. Supplementation can help improve- cholesterol profile, improve blood glucose control in diabetes, and may ease symptoms of osteoporosis.
Niacin may cause flushing and a red rash when taken, Niacimide does not. However, Niacimide isn't effective in lowering cholesterol. Niacin in higher doses can raise blood sugar levels.
Deficiency may cause:
* fatigue * poor circulation * depression * indigestion * vomiting* canker sores
Food Sources- Beef liver, brewers yeast, cheese carrots, broccoli, dandelion greens,eggs, dates, milk, nuts, fish, peanuts, pork, rabbit, potatoes, tomatoes, wheat germ and whole wheat products.
B5 Pantothenic Acid- known as the anti-stress vitamin, B5 is essential in energy production and manufacturing red blood cells, promotes health skin, reduces signs of aging, helps generation of hormones, promotes metabolic processes such as breaking down fats and carbs for energy and synthesizing cholesterol. B5 helps produce adrenal hormones related to sex and stress, promotes cell regeneration, can help with reduction of inflammation and scarring from acne, helps formation of antibodies and is used in the manufacturing of acetylcholine.
Deficiency symptoms include:
* insomnia * fatigue * depression * vomiting * irritability * burning feet *
* stomach pains * upper respiratory infections
Food Sources- avocados, beef, brewers yeast, eggs, kidney, legumes, liver, lobster, mushrooms, nuts, pork, saltwater fish, whole wheat, royal jelly, torula yeast.
B6 Pyridoxine- Promotes health mentally and physically. Promotes and maintains nerve, liver, eye and skin health. Necessary for brain function, help manufacture mood improving hormones norepinephrine and serotonin, helps boost energy, promotes a healthy nervous system, assists in transport of oxygen throughout the body, can help balance blood glucose levels, helps with conversion of food to energy, helps make neurotransmitters, hormones and proteins. It is needed for B12 absorption.
Antidepressants, oral birth control, estrogen therapy, decrease B6, and diuretics and cortisone drugs may block absorption of this vitamin.
Severe deficiency can lead to:
* nervousness * muscle weakness * depression * irritability * short-term memory loss
* difficulty concentrating
Food Sources- Carrots, brewers yeast, chicken, eggs, fish, meat, peas, spinach, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ.
B7 Biotin- Fortifies keratin infrastructure, promotes healthy hair, skin and nails. Assists with growth and production of fatty acids by converting the fatty acids and glucose into fuel which your body uses for energy. Prevents hair loss and helps improve acne and eczema.
Antibiotics, sulfa, saccharine, consuming raw egg whites, and eating foods fried in oil all decrease availability of B7 in the body.
Deficiency can lead to:
* fine scaly rash- may be on face * brittle hair * hair loss * conjunctivitis *
* poor coordination * lethargy * nausea or loss of appetite * mild depression *insomnia
Food Sources- brewers yeast, cooked egg yolks, meat, milk, saltwater fish, soybeans and whole grains.
B9 Folic Acid- Is considered brain food and is needed for production of energy and mental and emotional health.. Assists (co-enzyme) in DNA and RNA production, and is very important in pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence. Helps convert carbohydrates to glucose for energy and works with B12, and B6 to control homocysteine levels.
Oral birth control and alcohol consumption decrease folate absorption. If you have MTHFR it is better to take a methylated version of folic acid.
Deficiency can lead to:
* inflammation of the tongue * gingivitis * poor growth * digestive disturbances
* forgetfulness * mental sluggishness * diarrhea * shortness of breath * irritability * birth defects
Food Sources- beef, bran, brewers yeast, leafy green veggies, cheese, chicken, dates, lamb, legumes, liver, oranges, split peas, milk, pork, root veggies, salmon, tuna, wheat germ, and whole grains.
B12 Methylcobalamin- Naturally occurring B12 which is similar to hemoglobin but instead of iron they contain cobalt. Promotes healthy brain function, and helps improve concentration. It maintains fertility, helps in production of red blood cells, increases the absorption of iron, promotes adrenal function, assists in production of coating surrounding nerves (myelination), and promotes health of RNA and DNA. B12 and B9 together help with manufacturing of red blood cells and with production of S-adenoslymethoinine (SAMe) which is associated with mood and immune function. .B6, B9 and B12 together work to reduce homocysteine levels (which can damage blood vessels and lead to blood clots)
Antigout meds, anticoagulants and potassium supplements may block absorption.
Deficiency may lead to:
* tingling sensation in fingers and toes * fatigue * nervousness * shortness of breath
* diarrhea *bone loss * dizziness *drowsiness * moodiness * drowsiness * headaches/migraines
High Risk for low B12 include people with -
* poor nutrition * infections * vegetarians * cancer * diabetics * eating disorders * HIV *
* elderly * GI problems * absorption issues (bariatric clients, crohns, pancreatic diseases)
Food sources- meats, clams, eggs, herring, kidney, liver, mackerel, milk and brewers yeast.
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