There are total 8 different types Vitamin B.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):- It enables the body to use carbohydrates as energy. It’s essential for glucose metabolism and it plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function. Its deficiency causes beri-beri; an illness characterized by numbness of limbs, confusion and short-term memory loss may occur. Muscle weakness may occur and heart can become enlarged.
Other condition in which vitamin B1 helps includes:
- Eye cataracts
- Diabetic Pain
- Heart Disease
- Cervical Cancer
- Whole Grain
- Some Fruits and Veggies: Cauliflower, oranges, potatoes, kale and many more.
- Breakfast cereals and products made with white flour and white rice maybe enriched with vitamin B.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): It is required for the proper development of may things in body like skin, lining of digestive tract, blood cells and brain function.
- Basically, it is taken when there’s a deficiency of this vitamin in the body. People take it by mouth for various types of cancer and migraine headaches (which is one of the common reasons).
- It can also be taken for acne, muscle cramps, burning feet syndrome, carpel tunnel syndrome and for many blood disorders as well.
- Some people use it for eye conditions like cataract, glaucoma.
- It can also be used for maintaining healthy hair, nails, skin, or canker sores multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease (memory loss), high blood pressure, liver disease, sickle cell anaemia.
Sources: Spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, Broccoli, mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts, almonds, milk, cheese.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Works with other vitamin B to release energy from carbohydrates.
Some important points one should know:
- Helps in making the nerves, skin and digestive tract healthy.
- Not enough niacin in the diet can cause nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches and tiredness.
- Chronic niacin, i.e., inability to absorb niacin or the amino acid tryptophan can cause a disease called pellagra, characterized by scaly sores, mucosal changes, and mental symptoms.
- Niacin has been used over 50 years and is found to decrease the risk of cardiovascular (conditions related to heart and its associated nerves) events modestly in a number of controlled human trials.
Sources rich in vitamin B3 (niacin) are dairy, nuts.
Note: You will notice that I have note included any meat or even products related to eggs. I am a vegetarian and I don’t support the consumption of meat/egg products. One can get the same nutritional values form vegetarian and plant sources as well.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): It provides a multitude of benefits to the human body. It is found in living cells as a coenzyme (CoA – is a substrate helps in enhancing the activity of enzyme), which is vital to numerous chemical reactions.
- Creating RBCs
- Create stress-related ad sex hormones.
- Maintain a healthy digestive system
- Processing other vitamins, particularly B2 (Riboflavin)
- Synthesize cholesterol
Its deficiency is rare but when it occurs, it causes insomnia, fatigue, depression, stomach upset, burning sensation and upper respiratory tract infections.
B5 is found in many food resources. ‘PANTOTHENIC’ actually means ‘from everywhere’ as it is available in so many resources like-
- Legumes and lentils
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole grain cereals and many more.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): It is one the main vitamins that’s important for maintaining healthy brain function and is required for many more activities as well.
- Formation of RBCs
- Essential enzyme for protein and niacin(b3) synthesis
- Synthesis of antibodies in support of the immune system
- Stomach acid and brain hormone production
- Proper absorption of vitamin B12
- Its increased amounts are needed during pregnancy, breast feeding, heart failure, aging, and with oral contraceptive usage.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: scaly oily skin about face scalp
- Glossitis and stomatitis: painful inflamed tongue and mouth ulcers
- Peripheral neuropathy: Loss of position sense in hands and feet
- Nervousness and depression
- Anemia in adults
- Seizures in infants
Routine B6 shots are not recommended and not a treatment for isolated depression.
- Cereal Grains (Wheat and corn)
Vitamin B7 (Biotin): It’s also known as Vitamin H. It helps the body metabolize proteins and process glucose. Human body cannot synthesize biotin. Only yeast, bacteria, molds, algae and certain plants can make it, so the diet needs to supply it.
- Metabolism of nutrients
- Energy producing metabolism
- Maintenance of hair, skin and mucous membranes (it features in many cosmetic and health products or the skin and hair)
- Nervous system and psychological function
- Hair Loss
- Scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth and genitals.
- Sore tongue that maybe magenta in color.
- Dry eyes
- Cracks in corner of the mouth
- Hallucination, insomnia
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Loss of appetite
- Impaired immune fucntion
Pregnant women appear to breakdown biotin more quickly and it may lead to a marginal deficiency.
- Whole-wheat bread
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid or Folate): It’s essential for numerous bodily functions. It is not synthesized in body and therefore has to be supplied through diet to meet daily requirements.
- Aids in production of RBCs
- Synthesis of DNA
- Works with B12 and vitamin C to help the body digest and utilize proteins.
Deficiency: A lack of dietary folate can lead to folate deficiency. A complete lack of dietary folate takes months before deficiency develops as normal individuals have about 500-20,000ug of folate in body stores. This deficiency can result in many health problems like:
- Neutral tube defects in developing embryos,
- Macrocytic anemia with weakness or shortness of breath
- Nerve damage with weakness and limb numbness (peripheral neuropathy)
- Pregnancy complications
- Meatal confusion, forgetfulness or other cognitive declines, mental depression
- Sore or swollen tongue, peptic or mouth ulcers, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, and behavioral disorders.
- DNA synthesis and repair are impaired and this could lead to cancer development.
- Beans and legumes
- Citrus food and juices
- Whole Grains
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin or Cyanocobalamin): Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism, formation of RBCs, and the maintenance of the central nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. This vitamin is not synthesized in body and needs to be taken from diet.
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency includes:
- Hematological signs: anemia
- Neurological signs: reduced ankle jerks, reduced vibratory and position sense, symmetrical limb weakness and other pyramidal deficits.
- Mental signs: mood changes, depression, mania, confusion, slow mentation, fatigue, disorientation, dementia, delusions, and agitation.