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B Vitamins

B-vitamins  have multiple functions in the body and they are essential for overall health.   Their responsibilities include: mental and nervous system health, energy levels, and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

All of the B- vitamins are water soluble and are found in whole unprocessed foods. Once foods are processed, B vitamin content is most often lost.  If you see B vitamins listed in processed foods, these foods have been “enriched”  or  added back into the products during production.   The following are the names of the eight B vitamins and a list of foods that are good sources of each nutrient.

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Legumes, lentils, watercress, brown rice, spinach, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, Brazil nuts and pecans. Thiamine has a role in mental health and energy production.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Liver, beef, chicken, salmon, eggs, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, dairy, legumes and almonds.  Riboflavin plays a role in energy metabolism.  One side effect of supplementing with Riboflavin is bright yellow urine.  Riboflavin has a yellow-orange hue and it can change urine color and it is not due to toxicity or dehydration.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin or niacinamide): Beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon halibut, legumes, asparagus, nuts, mushrooms, brewers yeast, and whole grains.  Niacin helps regulate levels of cholesterol and glucose metabolism.
  • Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic Acid): Meats, eggs, lentils, legumes, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, rice, wheat bran and yeast. * Panthothenic acid is found mainly in the outer hull of grains and oftentimes processing of grains removes Vitamin B5 from the food.  Vitamin B5 plays a role in the health of the nervous system, hair and skin.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, or pyridoxine hydrochloride): Meats (Beef, chicken, salmon), brown rice/whole grains, potatoes, legumes, collard greens, spinach, bananas, and avocados.  B6 is essential for a healthy nervous system.  It is also studied in prevention of prostate and breast cancer and is used to treat symptoms of PMS.
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Egg yolk, swiss chard, liver, dark leafy green vegetables, butter, banana, mushrooms, soybeans and peanuts.  Biotin has a role in healthy hair, skin and nails.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid):  Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, lettuce,  and turnip greens, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, bakers yeast, liver, kidney, oranges and enriched cereals and breads. Folic Acid is important for mental and cardiovascular health as well as fetus development.
  • Vitamin B12 (Various cobalamins or more commonly cyancobalamin in vitamin supplements): Exclusively found in animal and animal products such as beef, chicken, turkey,  liver, eggs, and dairy products.  B12 plays an integral role in metabolism. Vegans will often need to supplement with B12 to prevent deficiencies.

Make sure you are getting enough to support your optimal health!

The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.

Copyright © Jaime Coffey Martinez, Nutrition CPR, LLC

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