In search of a healthy and balanced life, it is essential to understand the importance of vitamins for our body. Among them, B vitamins play a crucial role in several vital functions. Composed of eight distinct vitamins, the B complex offers a range of health benefits, from supporting the nervous system to regulating energy metabolism.
In this text, we will explore each of these vitamins in detail, as well as their individual benefits, dietary sources and the importance of maintaining them at adequate levels. Get ready to discover how B vitamins can be powerful allies in the search for a full and healthy life.
What are B complex vitamins?
B complex vitamins are a group of essential, water-soluble nutrients that share the characteristic of being water-soluble. This means that they have the ability to dissolve in water and are absorbed by the body in different ways, depending on the quantity consumed.
Unlike other vitamins, B vitamins are not stored in large quantities by our body. Instead, they are easily eliminated in the urine. Therefore, it is important to regularly consume foods rich in these vitamins to ensure that our body has enough of them.
What are the B complex vitamins?
The B complex is made up of 8 vitamins: vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (acid folic acid) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
Although the B vitamins are not chemically similar to each other, they were grouped due to a common characteristic: they are essential substances for the functioning of enzymes that are involved in various metabolic reactions in our body.
These reactions occur in different parts of the body and B vitamins act as cofactors or substrates, helping enzymes to perform their functions correctly.
Benefits of B complex vitamins
B complex vitamins are very important for our body. They help us obtain energy from carbohydrates by breaking them down into glucose. They are also essential for our nervous system to function correctly, helping to break down fats and proteins.
These vitamins play an important role in the muscle tone of the stomach and intestinal tract, in addition to bringing benefits to the health of the skin, hair, eyes, mouth and liver.
We can find B vitamins in foods such as brewer’s yeast, liver, whole grains, rice, nuts, milk, eggs, meat, fish, fruits, green vegetables and many other foods. Now, what do you think about finding out a little more about each of them?
It’s time to unveil the B complex!
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Health benefits: vitamin B1 can help keep the nervous and circulatory systems functioning properly. It also prevents aging, improves brain function, fights depression and fatigue. Food sources: romaine lettuce, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, whole grains, beans, nuts, tuna, cheese, milk, chicken eggs, beef and poultry. Signs of deficiency: vitamin B1 deficiency can cause loss of appetite, low acceptance of the diet and consequent weight loss, mental confusion and muscle weakness.
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
Health benefits: helps prevent cataracts, repair and maintain the skin and produce the hormone adrenaline. Food sources: liver, red and white meat, chicken eggs, milk and dairy products, kale, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, peas. Signs of deficiency: sores in the corner of the mouth and nose, shiny, smooth and inflamed tongue and vision problems.
Vitamin B3 – Niacin
Health benefits: vitamin B3 can help reduce triglycerides and cholesterol, in addition to helping the nervous and immune systems function properly.
Food sources: yeast, lean beef and poultry meat, liver, milk, egg yolks, whole grains, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, dried fruits, tomatoes and avocados.
Signs of deficiency: in the early stages, it can lead to muscle weakness, anorexia, indigestion and skin rashes. If the deficiency persists, the condition worsens and becomes a disease called pellagra, which can be fatal.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid
Health benefits: vitamin B5 can aid in the formation of red blood cells and chemical detoxification. Prevents cartilage degeneration and helps build antibodies.
Food sources: meat, eggs, milk, whole and whole grains, peanuts, yeast, broccoli, avocado, cold water fish ovaries, royal jelly.
Signs of deficiency: there may be compromised immune response, neuromata disorders, depression, and hypoglycemia, among others.
Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine
Health benefits: vitamin B6 can reduce the risk of heart disease, helps maintain the central nervous system and the immune system. Additionally, it relieves migraines and nausea.
Food sources: whole grains, sunflower seeds, beans (soy, peanuts, beans), poultry, fish, fruits (banana, tomato, avocado) and vegetables (spinach).
Signs of deficiency: weakness, insomnia, depression, nervousness and impaired immune response.
Vitamin B7 – Biotin
Health benefits: vitamin B7 promotes cell growth, assists in the production of fatty acids and reduces blood sugar. Furthermore, it can help prevent baldness and also relieves muscle pain. Food sources: poultry meat, liver, kidneys, egg yolk, cauliflower and peas. Signs of deficiency: alopecia, broken nails and dermatitis, particularly involving the face.
Vitamin B9 – Folic acid
Health benefits: vitamin B9 helps promote the health of hair and skin, in addition to being essential in DNA synthesis. It also helps fight breast and colon cancer.
Food sources: green leaves, liver, meat, fish, whole grains, broccoli, spinach, beans, potatoes, wheat, legumes, etc.
Signs of deficiency: it can be related to a series of diseases, such as megaloblastic anemia, congenital malformations, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.
Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin
Health benefits: vitamin B12 acts on red blood cells, nerve cells, hormonal balance and skin beauty. Food sources: it is abundant in liver, kidneys, meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese. Signs of deficiency: a lack of vitamin B12 in the body can result in megaloblastic anemia, peripheral neuropathy and psychiatric symptoms.
As we have seen, B vitamins play an essential role in our body, providing energy, promoting the proper functioning of the nervous system, maintaining the health of skin, hair and eyes, in addition to several other vital functions.
A lack of these vitamins can lead to a number of health problems, but fortunately, they can be found in a variety of readily available foods. It is worth remembering that only a healthcare professional will be able to assess your nutritional status, carry out tests and identify whether there is actually a deficiency in any B vitamin.
They will also be able to advice on the appropriate dosage, duration of treatment and whether supplementation is really necessary. Each individual is unique and has specific needs, so medical guidance is essential to ensure a safe and effective approach to B vitamin supplementation.
Remember that health is a serious matter and seeking professional guidance is the best way to take care of yourself!