What Are the Health Benefits of B Complex Vitamins?
Vitamins and nutrients from a balanced diet are essential to your overall health and wellbeing. B complex vitamins are comprised of 8 B vitamins that help your body to make energy from the food you eat and form red blood cells. B complex vitamins consist of B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). All of these B vitamins play an essential role in your body's performance and can be found in many fruits, nuts, vegetables, and meats.
Here's a brief overview of the role each B vitamin plays and what foods you can find them in.
B1 - makes new cells
Food sources: peanuts, beans, spinach, kale
B2 - works as an antioxidant
Food sources: almonds, wild rice, milk, yogurt, eggs, Brussels sprouts, and spinach
B3 - boosts the good cholesterol
Food sources: yeast, red meat, milk, eggs, beans and green vegetables
B5 - breaks down fats and carbs
Food sources: avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat, and legumes
B6 - helps regulate levels of the amino acid associated with heart disease
Food sources: chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and carrots
B7 - known as the "beauty vitamin" for helping promote healthy skin, hair, and nails and can also help regulate blood glucose levels for diabetics
Food sources: barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks and nuts
B9 - can help with depression and memory loss as well as support the growth of a baby for pregnant women
Food sources: dark leafy greens, asparagus, beets, salmon, root vegetables, and beans
B12 - helps to produce red blood cells and helps iron create hemoglobin
Food sources: fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef, and pork
Since all of these vitamins are found in foods we eat every day, most people do not have a strong need to supplement B complex vitamins. However, if you are experiencing a deficiency of any of these vitamins, here are some common symptoms:
- Unexpected weight loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Skin disorders
- Swelling of the mouth and throat, cracked or swollen lips
- Digestive problems
- Muscle weakness
- Hair thinning or loss
- Loss of appetite
- Numbness and tingling in fingers and toes
As mentioned above, a balanced diet should help ensure you are getting enough B complex vitamins but some people may be more prone to deficiency. If you are over 50, suffer from celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or other digestive disorders, you may have a deficiency in B complex vitamins. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider if you think you may be suffering from a deficiency that’s affecting your overall health.