What To Look For
In the United States, dietary supplements are not held to the same rigorous testing standards as pharmaceutical drugs. This means that the quality of supplements like B vitamins may vary from one brand to the next.
When shopping for vitamin B supplements, look for brands that have been tested by an independent certification organization such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia , ConsumerLab, or NSF International. This can help to ensure quality.
You can find many different brands of vitamin B supplements at drug stores, grocery stores, health food shops, and online. Vitamin B supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place and out of reach of children.
How Much Vitamin B Do I Need
Because all B vitamins are water-soluble, our bodies don’t store them as much as we do fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. “With anything water-soluble, you want to eat these foods on a regular basis so your body is constantly replacing what you’re losing,” Stefanski. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough, talk to your doctor to see if you should get tested for a deficiency.
But don’t believe everything you hear about supplements. “Supplement manufacturers say if you take a lot of B vitamins you’ll have more energy. That’s not necessarily true unless you have a deficiency,” says Stefanski. While it’s hard to overdose on B vitamins, it is possible with a pill. Plus, studies don’t back up claims that biotin supplements can help you grow your hair and nails faster unless you have a deficiency. “People think the more you take the better, but it doesn’t always work that way,” she says.
Looking to boost your B? Food is your best bet, and many are good sources of more than one B vitamin, says Stefanski. Here are 11 of the best food sources of B vitamins, along with ideas to prepare them.
Vitamin B3 Breaks Down Food Into Energy
We need vitamin B3, also called nicotinic acid or niacin, in our diets every day to break down food we eat into energy we can use. Females who are 14 and older need 14 mg a day males in this age group need 16 mg daily. Legumes, nuts, enriched breads, dairy, fish, and lean meats are all good sources of this type of vitamin B.
Not getting enough niacin in your diet causes the disorder known as pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include both physical and mental difficulties, diarrhea, inflamed mucus membranes, and dementia. Pellagra can also result when the body is not able to absorb enough niacin because of alcoholism. Health benefits of niacin include its use as a treatment to help control high blood levels of cholesterol. Doses of niacin high enough to lower cholesterol are associated with several side effects and should only be taken with a physicians supervision.
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Vitamin B2 Deficiency Symptoms
A healthy eating plan is critical as a poor diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Since the body cannot store water-soluble vitamins, the inadequate intake of vitamin B2 can result in ariboflavinosis, which is another name for low levels of vitamin B2. This type of deficiency caused by a poor diet is called primary and can easily be prevented by eating sufficient amounts of foods with vitamin B2.
Secondary deficiency can be a consequence of the bodys inability to absorb riboflavin properly. Endocrine abnormalities or some diseases can also cause it.
There are several B2 vitamin deficiency symptoms. Some of them include skin disorders, such as dry skin, redness, and swelling of the mouth and throat. Other riboflavin deficiency symptoms and signs are lesions at the corners of the mouth, swollen, cracked lips, and hair loss.
It can also cause inflammation of the tongue, sore throat, and itchy and red eyes. Some of the more severe problems related to this health condition are reproductive problems and degeneration of the liver and nervous system. B2 vitamin deficiency may have adverse effects on the metabolism of other nutrients as well. Severe lack of this vitamin may even lead to anemia and cataracts.
Vitamin B2 Foods Essential For Your Well
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is one of eight B vitamins. Notably, it plays a significant role in enzyme reactions that activate other vitamins, and it takes part in energy production, just like other B-complex vitamins.
The guide below will give you more information about the nutrient, along with the list of the most critical vitamin B2 foods. In other words, youll get to discover what you should introduce to your diet to feel good and stay healthy.
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What Exactly Is Vitamin B
Basically, all vitamins are essential substances that the human body cannot produce itself. Therefore, we have to absorb these substances through food.
The B vitamins are a very heterogeneous group, so they do not differ very much. And unlike vitamins A, D, E and K, the B vitamins are water-soluble and not fat-soluble. The body does not need any additional fat in order to be able to absorb the vitamin B substances.
Why You Need B Vitamins
The B vitamin group plays a special role in your body. First of all, B vitamins help enzymes with several functions, including:
- Releasing energy from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Breaking down amino acids
- Moving oxygen and energy around your body
B vitamins also help your cells grow and multiply. Some B vitamins also aid the bodys production of hemoglobin, which is important for red blood cells. Hemoglobin gives blood its red color and also helps transport oxygen throughout your body.
Some other health benefits of B vitamins include:
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, supports biochemical reactions in your immune system. Taking this B vitamin as a supplement has been proven to increase immune responses in people who are critically ill.
Data from studies suggests that the more B vitamins there are in your blood, the better your performance will be with tests involving memory, problem-solving, and word and sentence formation.
Vitamin B6 and B12 appear to play roles in reducing heart disease and some types of cancer. However, there is also research to suggest that long-term use of these two B vitamins might increase lung cancer risk in men.
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Vitamin B2 Side Effects
Since riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, the body excretes all the excess amounts of it, and therefore there is little to no risk of overdosing with vitamin B2. Note that you should consult a healthcare professional about nutrient supplementation first, as riboflavin tablets might interact with some medications.
Who Should Take Vitamin B2 Supplements
A diet including a variety of healthy foods is the key to our health and the best way of preventing nutrient deficiencies. That said, vitamin supplements can be used as a part of a vitamin B2 deficiency treatment. Although this deficiency is pretty rare, a few groups are at greater risk of developing this condition.
First, athletes who follow a vegetarian diet are more likely to have lower levels of riboflavin. Due to their increased physical activity, they need a higher amount of vitamin B2. All in all, if they avoid eating all animal products, including dairy products and eggs, and other vitamin B2 foods, vegetarians exclude really good sources of this vitamin, which can result in a B2 deficiency.
Secondly, pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding are likely to become deficient in vitamin B2 if they dont find enough riboflavin in food . This can negatively affect both mothers and their infants. Furthermore, people with the Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere syndrome need vitamin B2 supplementation as this disease causes B2 deficiency.
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B12 Deficiency: Who Is At Risk
Most healthy adults get sufficient B12 from their regular diet. However, it is common for older people to have some level of B12 deficiency. This is often due to a poor diet and less stomach acid, which the body needs to absorb B12 from food.
Certain conditions and drugs also can interfere with absorption and increase your deficiency risk. For example, Crohn’s disease, pancreatic disease, diabetes, and heartburn medication, which reduces stomach acid. Vegans and vegetarians sometimes have trouble consuming enough B12 since many food sources are found in animal products like meat and dairy.
Low levels of B12 can cause fatigue, nervousness, dizziness, numbness, and tingling in the fingers and toes. Severe, long-term deficiency may lead to loss of mobility, problems walking, or memory loss.
A blood test from your doctor can measure B12 levels. A serious deficiency can be corrected with B12 shots or high-dose supplements.
Foods With B Vitamins
Although B vitamins are naturally found in many foods, they are easily destroyed by alcohol and cooking. Food processing also strips foods of their B vitamin content, especially in white flour, white bread, and white rice.
Because your body cant store all of the B-group vitamins, its important that you continuously get them through your diet. Here are five foods that are high in B vitamins:
1. Whole Grains
Because food processing removes nutrients from grains, you want to eat whole grains that have not undergone this process. Grains high in B vitamins include:
- Brown rice
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Converts Food Into Energy
Most of the B vitamins are involved in the process of converting food into energy. Some help metabolize carbohydrates, while others break down fat and/or protein.
While this is an essential process, it is not necessarily the case that taking a B-complex supplement will make you feel more energetic. Although your body needs B vitamins to create energy from the foods you eat, the effect is different when these vitamins are consumed in the form of dietary supplements rather than food.
B vitamins involved: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, and B12
Nutritional And Brewers Yeast
Nutritional yeast and brewers yeast are inactive, meaning you cant use them to make bread. Rather, people use them to boost the flavor and nutrient profile of dishes.
These yeasts naturally contain B vitamins and are often fortified with them as well particularly nutritional yeast. If nutrients are added, youll see them listed in the ingredients on the label.
Heres how the two yeasts compare based on a 2-tablespoon serving, though these values vary by brand :
Vegetarians and vegans commonly use nutritional yeast, as its fortified with B12, which is challenging to obtain if you dont eat animal products .
The nutty-cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast also makes it popular as a seasoning. Brewers yeast, however, can taste bitter and may be better mixed into foods like smoothies, salad dressing or soup.
Summary Nutritional yeast and brewers yeast pack a high amount of B vitamins but a significant portion of the vitamins in nutritional yeast, including B12, are added. These products can be used to add flavor or nutrients to other foods.
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Side Effects And Risks
B vitamins are water-soluble. This means that, most of the time, the body excretes extra B vitamins in the urine.
While a standard dosage does not seem to cause harm, excessively high doses of certain B vitamins can be dangerous. Speak with a clinician before taking very high doses of B-complex supplements.
Possible side effects of B-complex vitamins:
- High blood sugar. High doses of nicotinic acid, a synthetic form of vitamin B-3, can raise blood sugar levels. This can interfere with diabetes medications. People with diabetes or high blood sugar should not take high doses of nicotinic acid .
- Excess nicotinic acid. Too much nicotinic acid can also cause low blood pressure, fatigue, headaches, rashes, and liver damage.
- Excess nicotinamide. High doses of nicotinamide, another form of vitamin B-3, can cause diarrhea and increased bleeding. This can occur in doses of 500 mg per day. Doses higher than 3,000 mg can cause vomiting and liver damage.
- Excess folic acid. Taking more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid a day can mask a type of anemia caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Taking a high-dose B-complex supplement can also turn the urine bright yellow. This effect is temporary and harmless. Once the kidneys get rid of the extra vitamins, the color will return to normal.
Healing Wounds With Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 promotes regeneration and is therefore very important for wound healing. In addition, we need pantothenic acid to build our connective tissue, mucous membranes, hair and nails. Like the other B vitamins, it is very important in the entire energy metabolism.
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Fruit Contains Varying Amounts Of Vitamin B
When it comes to vitamin B complex and fruit, it really just depends on your preference. This is because there is such a wide array of B vitamins available in many different kinds of fruit, according to Hartley. For example, avocados contain B vitamins like folate, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, whereas bananas contain 35% of your recommended daily intake of B6.
“Different fruits may be higher in certain B vitamins, but pretty much all of your fruits and vitamins are going to have a pretty nice dose of B vitamins inside of them,” Hartley noted.
People Taking Certain Medications
Commonly prescribed medications can lead to a deficiency in B vitamins.
For example, proton pump inhibitors, which are medications that lower stomach acid, can decrease the absorption of B12, while metformin, a popular diabetes drug, can decrease levels of both B12 and folate (
Pregnancy, medical conditions, surgeries, genetic mutations, medications, dietary restriction and age can all affect how your body absorbs and uses B vitamins.
While certain conditions make it necessary for some people to supplement with B-complex vitamins, research has shown that taking a B-complex supplement may be helpful even for people who dont have an increased need for these nutrients.
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The 8 B Vitamins A Great Team
Today, 8 vitamins belong to the B vitamins. As it has been discovered over time that some substances that originally belonged to the B vitamins do not have the character of vitamins, the numbering of the vitamins is not continuous.
So the following substances are therefore considered to be B vitamins today:
- Vitamin B1: thiamine
Strong Nerves With Vitamin B1
You probably already know vitamin B1 as a mood vitamin. There is a reason for this, because thiamine is basically very important for the carbohydrate metabolism and the associated energy production. Thiamine therefore provides us with energy in the form of sugar. However, sugar in this sense is not a negative thing it means important healthy carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates can be found mainly in oat flakes.
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This Supplement Has Been Used In Connection With The Following Health Conditions:
Used for Wound HealingFollow label directions Thiamine , pantothenic acid , and other B vitamins have all been shown to play a role in wound healing. For this reason, some healthcare practitioners recommend a high-potency B vitamin supplement to promote wound healing.
Thiamine ,pantothenic acid , and other B vitamins have all been shown to play a role in wound healing in animal studies. For this reason, although human research is lacking, some alternative healthcare practitioners recommend a high-potency B vitamin supplement to promote wound healing.
2 StarsCanker Sores300 mg B1 daily, 20 mg B2 daily, 150 mg B6 daily People with recurrent canker sores may have a B vitamin deficiency. Supplementing with vitamins B1, B2, and B6 has been reported to provide relief.
Several preliminary studies, though not all, have found a surprisingly high incidence of iron and B vitamin deficiency among people with recurrent canker sores. Treating these deficiencies has been reported in preliminary and controlled studies to reduce or eliminate recurrences in most cases. Supplementing daily with B vitamins300 mg vitamin B1, 20 mg vitamin B2, and 150 mg vitamin B6has been reported to provide some people with relief. Thiamine deficiency specifically has been linked to an increased risk of canker sores. The right supplemental level of iron requires diagnosis of an iron deficiency by a healthcare professional using lab tests.
Why Should I Include Vitamin B In My Diet
Vitamin B should be a part of your diet. It helps your body function better, such as your metabolism . It also plays a vital role in your bodys cellular processes.
Each type of vitamin B has a different but critical role in keeping you healthy. For example, B12, B6 and B9 are important vitamins for healthy brain and nerve function. Vitamin B2 is important for skin health and good vision.
Go here for more information on vitamin B and your health.
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Dietary Sources Of B Vitamins
B vitamins are found primarily in animal food sources and fortified cereals. But many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes contain some amount of B vitamins as well. Here’s a look at the common food sources. You’ll note that many of the foods overlap with other B vitamins.
- B1 : Fortified breakfast cereal, enriched and whole-grain products , wheat germ, pork, trout, black beans, mussels, and tuna
- B2 : Milk and dairy products, fortified breakfast cereals, beef liver, clams, portobello mushrooms, almonds, and chicken
- B3 : Eggs, fish, fortified bread and cereal, rice, nuts, milk and dairy, chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, organ meats, peanuts
- B5 :Meat, avocado, broccoli, kale, eggs, milk, mushrooms, fortified cereals, organ meats, poultry, potatoes, and legumes
- B6 :Chickpeas, beef liver, tuna, salmon, chicken breast, fortified breakfast cereal, potatoes, turkey, fruits , and beef
- B7 :Beef liver, egg yolk, wheat germ, pork, beef, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, almonds, whole-grain foods, sardines, spinach, and broccoli
- B9 :Spinach, beef liver, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beans and legumes, asparagus, orange juice, peanuts, avocado, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, and salmon
- B12 :Beef liver , clams and other shellfish, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy products, and some fortified cereals