Print Me  

Your Complete Guide to B Vitamins

Do you know your B vitamins? You should—they’re essential to your overall health! Use this B vitamins guide to brush up your knowledge on some of the most important nutrients, including what each vitamin does and how to make sure you’re getting enough.

Your Guide to B Vitamins

There are eight B vitamins in total, and they each have different roles and benefits. But while they’re all different, they still work together to complete some of the most vital functions in the body. The eight B vitamins are often referred to as an entire unit: the B complex.

B-Complex Vitamins

Vitamin B infographic

What happened to B-4, B-8, B-10 and B-11?

Basically, nutrients and substances that were thought to be vitamins had those titles. Eventually, though, it was discovered that they didn’t meet the definition of a vitamin. Vitamins are essential nutrients that you need to survive but aren’t produced naturally in the body in adequate amounts, so you have to get them through your diet.

What Do B Vitamins Do?

All of the B complex vitamins are important for converting food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), making them popular as energy boosters. They each promote optimum mental and physical health.

Likewise, all B vitamins are water soluble. This means that the body does not store them (like it does with fat soluble nutrients), so you need to continually replenish your body’s supply of B vitamins.

Let’s dive deeper into what makes each B vitamin unique and where you can find them.

 

Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin)

Thiamin was the first B vitamin discovered, which is why it’s called vitamin B-1. Thiamin plays an important role in forming adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which every cell uses for energy. It also supports nerve cell function.

Vitamin B-1 facts

Food Sources:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Liver
  • Legumes
  • Wheat Germ
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Nuts
  • Blackstrap Molasses

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of thiamine is 1.2 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females.

 

Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)

In addition to promoting energy production, riboflavin works as an antioxidant that protects against free radicals. Riboflavin also helps convert vitamin B-6 and folate into forms the body can use. Riboflavin has been shown to promote eye health and support thyroid function.

Vitamin B-2 facts

Food Sources:

  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Almonds
  • Organ Meats
  • Whole Grains
  • Wheat Germ
  • Mushrooms
  • Soybeans
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Spinach

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of riboflavin is 1.3 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females.

 

Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)

Niacin promotes circulation and heart health. It’s involved in the production of many stress-related hormones. Like the other B complex vitamins, it’s essential for supporting healthy energy levels.

Vitamin B-3 facts

Food Sources:

  • Beets
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Beef Liver & Kidney
  • Fish (Salmon, Swordfish and Tuna)
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Peanuts

The body converts the amino acid tryptophan into niacin. Tryptophan is found in many animal meats and dairy products.

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of niacin is 16 mg for males and 14 mg for females

 

Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic acid)

Pantothenic acid helps promote carbohydrate metabolism and energy utilization. This vitamin is also supports cellular health.

Vitamin B-5 facts

Food Sources:

Pantothenic acid is found in a wide variety of foods, but unfortunately the amount of vitamin B-5 decreases during processing. Fresh, unprocessed foods have more pantothenic acid than refined, canned or frozen food.

  • Beef & Organ Meats
  • Poultry
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Legumes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Whole Grains
  • Wheat Germ
  • Salmon

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of pantothenic acid is 5 mg.

 

Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is a heart-healthy B vitamin that works together with vitamin B-12 and folic acid to keep homocysteine levels in check. It’s necessary for normal brain development and function.

Vitamin B-6 facts

Food Sources:

  • Poultry
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Beef Liver
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Brown Rice
  • Bran
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat Germ
  • Bananas

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of vitamin B-6 is 1.3 mg for males and 1.5 mg for females.

 

Vitamin B-7 (Biotin)

Better known as biotin, this B complex vitamin helps convert food into fuel so the body can produce energy. Biotin is most well known for promoting hair, skin and nail health; it’s called “The Beauty Nutrient” for a reason!

Vitamin B-7 facts

Food Sources:

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Eggs
  • Sardines
  • Nuts (almond, peanuts, pecans, walnuts)
  • Soybeans
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Cauliflower
  • Bananas
  • Mushrooms

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of biotin is 30 mcg.

 

Vitamin B-9 (Folate or Folic Acid)

Vitamin B-9 is a crucial prenatal vitamin. It supports cell growth, DNA synthesis and red blood cell production. Folate is the naturally-occurring form of the vitamin found in foods, whereas folic acid refers to the synthetic form used in many supplements and fortified foods.

Vitamin B-9 facts

Food Sources:

  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Asparagus
  • Turnips
  • Beets
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lima Beans
  • Soybeans
  • Beef Liver
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Root Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Salmon
  • Orange Juice
  • Avocado
  • Milk

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of folic acid is 400 mcg. For pregnant women, the RDA is 600 mcg.

 

Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B-12 is important for cardiovascular health and promotes healthy neurological function. Like all B vitamins, it plays a role in energy metabolism.

There are four forms of vitamin B-12: cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin. You’ll find all of them in supplements, but the two most popular forms are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin.

Methylcobalamin exists in nature. It’s typically more bioavailable than other forms because the body can use it as is instead of having to convert it first.

Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic, less expensive version of vitamin B-12. The body converts cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin before it’s used by the body.

Vitamin B-12 gets a lot of attention because unlike the other B complex vitamins, B-12 can only be found in adequate amounts through animal products. Some plant sources, such as algae like chlorella, contain vitamin B-12, but it’s unclear whether the human body can absorb it. That means vegetarians and vegans may not be getting enough vitamin B-12 without supplements.

Vitamin B-12 facts

Food Sources:

  • Organ Meats
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Shelfish
  • Dairy Products
  • Wild Game

RDA:

For healthy adults, the RDA of vitamin B-12 is 2.4 mcg.

 

Sources:

  • http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement
  • http://mayoclinic.org
  • http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Comments:

blog comments powered by Disqus

GET OUR BEST DEALS STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX!

You're now signed up! Keep an eye on your inbox—your first offer is on the way!

Oops! We are having trouble processing your request. Our apologies! Please try again later.

Customer Service
About Swanson
© 2017 Swanson Health Products – Terms of Service