What is vitamin B?

Every human body has unique and complicated needs. Our body structure and requirements are different from one another in many aspects. Good nutrition is associated with good health and also with the treatment and prevention of many health conditions. Consuming the required number of vitamins is a significant part of our nutritional needs. So, when it comes to vitamins, we all need them to some extent. While there are 13 vitamins in total, this article will particularly discuss the needs, benefits, and deficiency effects of vitamin B. 


The Family of Vitamin: Unlike the othersB vitamins are a family of 8 water-soluble vitamins. These eight are considered among "essential vitamins", and the reason they are called 'essential' is that the human body needs them to function properly. They help in converting food into fuel, maintain healthy skin, brain cells, and body tissues.

Types of vitamin B: There are eight types of vitamin B. Each vitamin has its own traits and contributes accordingly. 

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate, or Folic Acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) 


Symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency: 

The symptoms that can arise in the case of vitamin B deficiency depends on the type of vitamin you are deficient in. These symptoms can range from confusion, anemia, fatigue to a weak immune system, skin rashes, and other physical/mental challenges.


Why are they essential? 

As we mentioned above, vitamin B-complex has numerous advantages, and its deficiency can lead to severe effects. Some of its most prominent benefits are listed below. 


  1. Vitamin B1 – helps to prevent Beriberi: Vitamin B1 (thiamine) plays a vital role in converting food into energy. The deficiency in this particular case can lead to a health condition called Beriberi, which affects the heart, nervous system, or digestive system of our bodies. It is usually found in people who are either malnourished or alcoholics. The symptoms of this health condition include paralysis of the lower legs and loss of sensation. Whole-grain cereals, nuts, meat, yeast, and beans are the food sources that are enriched with Vitamin B1. 
  2. Vitamin B2- boosts the immune system: Immune system protects your body from toxic substances, viruses, and cell changes that could make you severely ill. Consuming the right amount of vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) will help you to build a strong and healthy immune system. Riboflavin will help your body to convert food into energy by breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, another prominent feature of Riboflavin is that it helps to prevent migraines. You can fulfill all your vitamin B2 needs from all-natural sources like green vegetables, meat, dairy products, and nuts. 
  3. Vitamin B3 - prevention from Pellagra: If you are not consuming enough Vitamin B3 (niacin) in your diet, the chances of getting affected by pellagra are pretty high. Pellagra is a disorder that can lead to both mental and physical complexities. Its symptoms also include inflamed skin, dementia, diarrhea, and sores in the mouth. This is another drawback of excessive alcohol consumption. The benefit of Vitamin B3 consumption is that it helps in controlling high blood levels of cholesterol. However, its high doses to lower the cholesterol level can also lead to numerous side-effects. Peas, nuts, fish, lean meat, and enriched bread are some of the best sources of vitamin B3
  4. Vitamin B5 - helps in producing hormones: It is one of those factors that play a vital role in our growth. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin, so its daily consumption is quite necessary. It is needed for numerous biochemical reactions that are taking place in our cells every day. Pantothenic acid plays its part in producing the hormones in our bodies. In the vegetable family, vitamin B5 is found in broccoli, kale, and avocado. It is also quite rich in whole-grain cereals, dairy products, organic meat, and potatoes. 
  5. Vitamin B6 – reduces heart-related diseases: Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is participating in more than 100 enzyme reactions in the cells of our body. It helps in metabolizing the amino acids in our food and building red blood cells. According to another research, pyridoxine may reduce the risk of heart-related diseases, but it is not yet confirmed. Its deficiency is rarely seen in developed countries like the US but, it can lead to short-term memory loss, depression, muscle weakness, etc. Bran, carrots, cheese, chicken, shrimps, tuna, turkey, and whole-grain flour are the best sources to find vitamin B6.
  6. Vitamin B7 - protects you from hair loss: Vitamin B7 (biotin) also helps your body in absorbing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Being a water-soluble vitamin, it will not remain in your body, and its daily intake is mandatory. Its deficiency is also quite rare and can result in skin problems and hair loss. Biotin is commonly found in eggs, nuts, seeds, and red meat. 
  7. Vitamin B9 - an important nutrient for pregnant women: Vitamin B9 (folate) is another nutrient that is necessary for your body’s development and growth. This vitamin is particularly important for all pregnant women. They might find it challenging to get enough amount, but it is very beneficial for the health and development of a baby. Moreover, there are plenty of natural sources like sprouts, oranges, beans, nuts, peas, and all green and leafy vegetables.  
  8. Vitamin B12 - helps you to avoid anemia: Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in developing and maintaining nerve cells in the human body. Quite surprisingly, almost 15% or more people in America face a vitamin B12 deficiency that can lead to anemia. Its symptoms include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and unexpected weight-loss. If you are a vegetarian, you may have to get a B12 supplement, as it is not naturally found in plant foods. Other sources of vitamin B12 are fish, meat, dairy products, and beef liver.


Maintain the balance: 

The chances that you take too much vitamin B are quite low because they are water-soluble. However, if you are taking supplements without consulting a doctor, an overdose is certainly possible. Excessive thirst, blurry vision, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination are some symptoms of Vitamin B overdose. 


Final Verdict: 

In the end, it is essential that you consume healthy foods regularly that satisfy your nutritional needs. Make sure you maintain the balance and avoid supplements unless they are absolutely necessary.

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