This month we are going to explore the benefits of B Vitamins. B vitamins are a group of eight essential nutrients that play roles in many organs and bodily systems. Although they can work together in the body, they also carry out their own unique functions.
What are B Vitamins?
There are eight types of B vitamin, each with their own function:
Together, they are called the vitamin B complex.
B vitamins often occur together in the same foods. Many people can get enough B vitamins by eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
However, those who struggle to meet their daily needs can use supplements.
- thiamin (vitamin B-1)
- riboflavin (vitamin B-2)
- niacin (vitamin B-3)
- pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5)
- vitamin B-6
- biotin (vitamin B-7)
- folat B-12
People may develop B vitamin deficiencies if they do not get enough of the vitamins from their diet or supplements. They may also have a deficiency if their body cannot absorb nutrients properly, or if their body eliminates too much of them due to certain health conditions or medications.
The heart, liver, kidney, and brain all contain high amounts of thiamin. The body needs thiamin for:
Foods with thiamin
- breaking down sugar (carbohydrate) molecules from food
- creating certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
- producing fatty acids
- synthesizing certain hormones
Thiamin is present in:
- whole grains and fortified bread, cereal, pasta, and rice
- acorn squash
- legumes, such as black beans and soybeans
Thiamin deficiency is not common in the United States. However, certain groups of people may not get enough thiamin.