B Vitamin’s – Part Two
This week we will take a look at the remaining B Vitamins: B6, B7, B9, and B12. Be sure to follow the blog next week to learn more about Vitamin C!
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in many bodily functions, including protein metabolism, red blood cell production, and nervous system function. Vitamin B6 also is responsible for the breakdown of glycogen into glucose. Meats, whole grains, vegetables, and nuts contain high amounts of vitamin B6. Deficiency leads to decreased neurologic and dermatologic function and a weak immune system. Excessive B6 intake can lead to sensory neuropathy and skin lesions. Men and women are recommended to consume 1.3 mg per day of Vitamin B6.
Biotin plays and important role in the metabolic functions of pantothenic acid, folic acid, and vitamin B12. It also helps support carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Biotin is commonly found in foods such as cereal, grain products, yeast, legumes, liver, strawberries, cheese, and soybeans. Biotin deficiencies and toxicity is uncommon and studies show that biotin may support healthy hair, skin, and nails. Both men and women are recommended to consume 30 micrograms of biotin per day.
B9: Folic Acid
Folic acid is most commonly known for its importance in fetal health and development. It plays a critical role in the development of the baby’s nervous system which occurs during the initial weeks of pregnancy. Folate deficiency in early pregnancy can be devastating for a developing fetus and can cause spina bifida, a neural tube defect. However, folic acid is not just important for pregnant women. It is also needed for red and white blood cell production, formation of neurotransmitters, and amino acid metabolism. Green leafy vegetables, organ meats, dried peas, beans, lentils, breads, and cereals are good dietary sources of folic acid. Over consumption of folate can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency and harm zinc absorption. Both men and women are recommended to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for normal nervous system function, DNA synthesis, and the metabolism of protein and fat. It is also important for the normal functions of the digestive tract, bone marrow, and nervous tissue. The best sources of Vitamin B12 are meats, dairy products, and seafood. Long time vegans are at risk for deficiency as well as the elderly due to their decreased ability to absorb the nutrient. Deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia and neurologic dysfunction which can cause numbness, tingling, and burning of the feet as well as weakness of the legs. There are very low reports of Vitamin B12 causing toxicity, even when large amounts are consumed. The daily recommended intake for men and women is 2.4 micrograms.