Everything you need to know about Vitamin B

Vitamin B plays an important part in the normal functioning of our bodies, however, compared to more talked-about vitamins such as C and D, many of us lack knowledge on its benefits.

Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, each contribute to the conversion of our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day.

If you are deficient in vitamin B, or just want to include more of it in your diet, you may be interested in the exact function of each of the 8 types, as well as which foods each vitamin is most prevalent in.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

This vitamin is important for converting carbohydrates into energy, providing us with steady energy throughout the day. Thiamine also helps with nerve and muscle function by regulating the flow of electrolytes in and out of the muscles.

Nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts contain the B1 vitamin, as well as soybeans, marmite and trout.

The average male adult requires 1mg of thiamine each day, while females need 0.8mg.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin helps the body to break down essential nutrients from protein, carbohydrates and fat, which helps the body maintain an energy supply to muscles. It is also important for red blood cell production. We are unable to store it in the body, so B2 must be consumed every day to ensure an adequate intake.

This vitamin is easy to get into our diets, due to it being in a lot of foods. Those we consume most often may include marmite, liver, almonds, eggs and salmon, as well as synthetic B2 found in sugary sweets.

Adult men need approximately 1.3 mg per day, and adult women require about 1.1 mg per day.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

This vitamin has several important functions, including helping the body to metabolise fat, glucose and alcohol, as well as maintaining good levels and reducing bad levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Foods that niacin is most commonly found in are tuna, peanuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and green peas.

For adult men, the requirement is approximately 17mg per day, for 13mg for adult women.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 helps to release energy from the food that we eat, oxidising fatty acids and carbohydrates, as well as helping in the formation of red blood cells. It is thought that correct levels of vitamin B5 reduce stress, by ensuring the correct functioning of the adrenal glands.

Like B2, Vitamin B5 cannot be stored in the body, so it must be included in our diet each day.

The recommended daily allowance of this vitamin for adult men is 17mg, and for women is 13mg. Pantothenic acid is found in meat, sunflower seeds, trout, eggs, mushrooms and avocado.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine’s main function is as a co-enzyme in the metabolism of amino acids, glucose, and lipids. It also helps with red blood cells production, liver detoxification and the development and proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.

It is available in many food sources so is really easy to include in our diets; the best sources of B6 include pork, beef, pistachios, bananas, and potatoes.

On average, an adult male requires 1.4 mg of the vitamin each day, and an adult female requires 1.2 mg.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Vitamin B7’s functions include the contributes to healthy hair and skin, as well as playing a role in the metabolism of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates.

Some dieticians suggest that people don’t need to make an effort to consume B6 in their diets, as it is quite prevalent in a balanced diet. However, the recommended daily allowance is 30-50 micrograms in the UK for the average adult.

Food sources of biotin include egg yolk, organ meats, grains, and some vegetables.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Folic acid helps with the formation of red blood cells and is recommended especially in pregnancy as it reduces the risk of central nervous system defects in unborn babies.

Folic acid cannot be stored in the body but is easily consumed in vegetables such as black-eyed peas, spinach, lentils, asparagus and romaine lettuce.

Adults require approximately 0.2mg of vitamin B9 each day. It is recommended to increase this dose for pregnant women, however, we’d always suggest seeking the advice of a healthcare professional.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

B12 is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, as well as the production of blood cells. It works in conjunction with vitamin B9 to help make red blood cells and aid the absorption of iron.

The amount of vitamin B12 required is less than many other B vitamins. 1.5-2.4 micrograms are the recommended dose for adults and is available naturally through meat, fish and dairy products.

What happens if we can’t get our vitamins from our diet?

Sometimes, for whatever reason, we cannot get enough of the essential vitamins in our diet. For example, vegetarians and vegans may find it difficult to consume enough vitamin B12, due to their diet restricting them from eating foods which are rich in this vitamin.

When this happens, or when somebody is deficient to a certain vitamin, it is recommended to take supplements to help get these vitamins into our body.

Nutrivitality offers a range of liposomal supplements, including our tasty Boost sachet, which contains every type of B vitamin listed above. To take a closer look at this product, follow this link.