A B complex vitamin comprises of the following B vitamins – thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, Biotin, folic acid and Cobalamin.
B complex vitamins are generally found in food items like meat, dairy, beans, eggs and fortified grains.
Their role in the body is wide-ranging – from helping convert food to energy to forming new red blood cells.
B1 or thiamine helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. This vitamin is also essential for the growth and function of cells in the body – this makes them critical for the health of organs like the brain, and the nervous system.
They are available in food items like wheat germ, tuna, whole grains, and black beans.
B2 or riboflavin also helps in the conversion of food into energy. This vitamin is needed by the body in the production of red blood cells. It keeps the skin, nervous system and the eyes healthy.
Good sources of B2 are dairy products, fortified cereals, clams, chicken, and almonds.
B3 or niacin is involved in the energy production process of the body. It also helps various enzymes in the body perform their functions well like repairing DNA. This vitamin also is a part of the production of sex and stress hormones. Vitamin B3 helps in the working of the nervous and the digestive system.
You can consume rice, cereals, dairy, peanuts, eggs, and fish to get your quota of vitamin B3.
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid is required by the body to produce blood cells and cholesterol. It helps the adrenal glands and neurotransmitters to produce sex and stress hormones. It is involved in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates into energy. The body needs it to use other vitamins like riboflavin.
Sources rich in this vitamin are dairy products, meat, fortified cereals, potatoes, legumes, and vegetables like kale and broccoli.
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine helps the body store protein and carbohydrates as glycogen. It helps to produce haemoglobin in the body and hormones that regulates the circadian rhythm. It is also involved in the functioning of the brain and the immune system.
You get B6 through food items like chickpeas, chicken, fortified cereals, fruits, and salmon.
Biotin or B7 encourages good hair growth and bone growth. It helps in the conversion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy. Fatty acids to are produced by the body with the help of this vitamin.
Good sources of Vitamin B7 are spinach, meat, egg yolk, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds and sweet potato.
Folic acid or B9 is essential for the body is making red blood cells. Vitamin B9 also helps in the production and the maintenance of DNA. Would-be mothers are recommended to take folic acid supplements to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Food items high in Vitamin B9 are dark leafy greens, peanuts, legumes, spinach, salmon, avocado and broccoli.
Cobalamin or B12 is important for the metabolism of protein in the body. It helps in the upkeep of the nervous system and red blood cells.
Food items rich in Vitamin B12 are primarily animal products like eggs, milk, dairy products, chicken and clams. Some fortified cereals contain vitamin B12.
It can be concluded that vitamin B complex is a very essential nutrient that the body requires. So if you are not getting the required amount through food, consult a doctor and find out if supplements would help.