B Vitamin’s – Part One
The B vitamin family consists of eight different B vitamins. Each of the B vitamins performs individualized functions, and they often work together in the body. Below is a brief description of the B vitamin family and the important roles they play within our bodies.
Vitamin B1: Thiamin
Thiamin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body release energy from carbohydrates during metabolism and supports the nervous system. Thiamin is found in a variety of foods including lentils, whole grains, pork, red meats, nuts, sunflower seeds, peas, milk, cauliflower, legumes, and spinach. Thiamin deficiency is rare in the U.S. but signs to look for are decreased appetite, weight loss, cardiac and neurologic irregularities. There have been no reports of negative effects of too much thiamin. The recommended daily intake is 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women.
Vitamin B2: Riboflavin
Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism and supports cellular energy production. Riboflavin is found in a variety of foods such as whole grains, green leafy vegetables, organ meats, milk, eggs, salmon, beef, spinach, and broccoli. Most individuals get the proper dosage of riboflavin from their diet. However, eye problems, such as sensitivity to light, excess tearing, burning, and itching are symptoms of deficiency. There have been no adverse effects from excess riboflavin. The recommended daily intake for men is 1.3 mg and 1.1 mg for women.
Vitamin B3: Niacin
Niacin is also water-soluble and involved in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism and supports cellular energy production. Good sources of niacin include beef, poultry, fish, whole wheat bread, peanuts, and lentils. Early signs of niacin deficiency are muscular weakness, indigestion, and skin abnormalities. Recommended daily intake is 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women. If intake is greater than 35 mg per day, it can cause nausea, vomiting, and, in extremely high doses, signs of liver toxicity.
Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic acid is water-soluble and helps release energy from fats and vegetables and is found in all plant and animal tissues. Sources of this vitamin include lean meats, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, brown rice, milk, and fruits. Deficiency is rare; however, massive doses of pantothenic acid may cause mild intestinal distress and diarrhea. The recommended daily intake for both men and women is 5 mg.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week for a look into Vitamin B6, Biotin, Folic Acid, and B12.