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Know Your A, B, Cs: Vitamin B (How Many Are There?)

There are eight B Vitamins to be exact, and they help maintain healthy skin and muscle tone, enhance your immune and nervous system functions, and promote cell growth and division.

They are water-soluble vitamins which means that your body can't store them. They need to be replenished daily because whatever the body doesn't use, gets flushed out in your urine.

The eight B vitamins are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12 - and they all have other names that you're probably more familiar with.

Most people get these vitamins in the food they eat. If you have food restrictions, whether you don't eat meat, dairy products, eggs, or whole grains for whatever reason, you may need to take supplements. When a supplement has all 8 of these B vitamins, it's referred to as vitamin B complex. If you buy separate B vitamins, then they are referred to by their specific name (B1, B12, etc.)

Allow me to explain each one...

Vitamin Benefits Food Sources RDA for women 19+
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Helps the body convert carbohydrates and fat into energy; essential for normal growth and development; helps to maintain proper functioning of the heart and the nervous and digestive systems Green peas, spinach, liver, beef, pork, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, nuts, bananas, whole grain and enriched cereals, and breads 1.4 mg/day
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Required by the body for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; helps with cellular processes Asparagus, okra, chard, almonds, leafy greens, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, and fish 1.2 mg/day
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Necessary for energy metabolism in cells; DNA repair; produces several sex and stress-related hormones that are produced by the adrenal gland; helps remove toxins and chemicals from the body Chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, milk, eggs, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, dates, sweet potatoes, asparagus, avocados, nuts, whole grains, beans, mushrooms, nutritional yeast 14 mg/day
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) Required to sustain life; is critical in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins Whole grain cereals, beans, eggs, meat, some energy drinks 5 mg/day
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine and Pyridoxamine) Help enzymes do their job in the body; helps the nervous and immune systems function properly; necessary for overall good health Nuts, liver, chicken, fish, green beans, salad greens, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, sea vegetables, and bananas 1.3 mg/day
Vitamin B7 (Biotin or Vitamin H) Used in cell growth; the production of fatty acid; metabolism of fat; plays a role in the Krebs Cycle in which energy is released from food; helps with the transfer of carbon dioxide; helps maintain a steady blood sugar level; found in many cosmetic products to help with your skin and hair Beans, nutritional yeast, cauliflower, chocolate, egg yolks, fish, liver, meat, molasses, dairy products, nuts, oatmeal, oysters, peanut butter, bananas, soy products, mushrooms, wheat germ, and whole grains 30 mcg/day
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) Helps the body make healthy new cells; taken before and during pregnancy can help prevent major birth defects of the baby's brain and spine Leafy greens such as spinach, dried beans and peas, sunflower seeds, oranges, asparagus, broccoli, liver, enriched cereal 400 mcg/day
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Necessary for the synthesis of red blood cells, the maintenance of the nervous system, and the growth and development of children Animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy products, nutritional yeast, and fortified cereals 6 mcg/day
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JKe895 JKe895 9 years
This is great information to get out there. Most people don't realize that even if you eat everything that you're supposed to that it's ok to take supplements as well as long as you don't over compensate. Too much of a good thing can actually be bad in some cases.
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I just bought B complex vitamins yesterday! I heard they're supposed to help w/energy. I just took the first one this morning, I hope it helps with my mid-afternoon slump!
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