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Saturday, August 15, 2009

What is Vitamin B complex?

Eight water soluble vitamins are grouped under the Vitamin B complex nomenclature. The B vitamins are essential for cellular functions and influence various chemical reactions in the body.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is known as anti-neuritic vitamin and it promotes growth and proper functioning of the nervous system. Due to polishing of rice, the vitamin content is lost. Whole grains and their husk, egg yolk, potatoes, dry yeast and milk are rich sources of vitamin B1. Deficiency of vitamin B1 causes Beriberi.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is basically a yellow pigment that aids in cellular respiration and metabolism functions. Milk, liver, yeast, nuts and meat are good sources of vitamin B2. Reddening of the eyes, roughness of the cornea, cracks in the lips, soreness of the tongue, etc can be attributed to vitamin B2 deficiency.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin or Nicotinic acid) is necessary for oxidative metabolism in cells. Niacin can also regulate cholesterol level in blood. Soyabeans, liver, meat, cereals, asparagus and milk are sources of vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 deficiency results in pellagra characterized by soreness and inflammation of tongue and mouth, pigmentation and thickening of skin, insomnia and nervous degeneration.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) is known as anti-stress vitamin and plays a vital role in hormone secretion and fat metabolism. Meat, mushrooms, wheat, broccoli, etc are sources of Vitamin B5. Adding baking soda while cooking can destroy the vitamin in food. Vitamin B5 deficiency may lead to acne formation, fatigue, depression and paresthesia.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) plays a valuable role in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It assists the immune system and promotes mental health. Meat, fish, legumes, carrots, yeast and peas are suppliers of Vitamin B6. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause dermatitis, dementia, nervousness and anaemia.

Vitamin B7 (Vitamin H or Biotin) is also a member of B complex vitamins and is needed for energy release (Kreb cycle) and cell growth. Brewer's yeast, cauliflower, salmon, beef and cheese are good sources of vitamin H. Deficiency of biotin results in hair loss, dry scaly skin with rashes and depression.

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) is needed for cell division, DNA synthesis and growth. Spinach, broccoli, beans, lettuce, sunflower seeds and liver are rich in vitamin B9. Deficiency of folic acid may cause birth defects, anaemia and nervous problems.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamine) is essential for the formation of RBCs and aids in energy metabolism. Animal products like liver, kidney and eggs are useful sources of vitamin B12. Deficiency of this vitamin may lead to pernicious anaemia and Alzheimer's disease.

Note: Some of these vitamins may be associated with vitamin toxicity. Consult a doctor before taking vitamins and dietary supplements.




 
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