Give me a B, Vitamin B that is…

This is a continuation of the importance of vitamins in one’s diet and health as we move on through the alphabet.

Again, we will look at how each vitamin functions in your body, what foods provide them, what quantities should one consume, side effects if any, and whether they are soluble or insoluble.

Vitamin B…

From Wikipedia:

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Though these vitamins share similar names, research shows that they are chemically distinct vitamins that often coexist in the same foods. In general, supplements containing all eight are referred to as a vitamin B complex. Individual B vitamin supplements are referred to by the specific name of each vitamin (e.g., B1, B2, B3 etc.).

As noted, there are 8 vitamins that falls under the umbrella of B’s and thus refered to as the B Complex. They are as follows:

B vitamin molecular functions

Vitamin Name Molecular Function
Vitamin B1       Thiamine Thiamine plays a central role in the generation of energy from carbohydrates. It is involved in many functions including the nervous system, heart and muscles.  This is because it plays a major role in the flow of electrolytes in and out of nerve and muscle cells, enzyme processes and carb metabolism. Known to help in maintaining a positive mental attitude and called the anti-stress vitamin.

Deficiency in this vitamin is exhibited by weight loss, weakness and pain in limbs, and irregular heartbeat.

Food sources of thiamine include beef, liver, dried milk, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast.

There are no known toxicity levels.

Vitamin B2        Riboflavin Riboflavin is involved in energy production.  It is important for body growth, red blood cell production and releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Deficiency in this vitamin is exhibited by cracked lips, sensitivity to sunlight, inflammation of the tongue and sore throat.

Food sources for riboflavin comes from dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, legumes and nuts.

There are no known toxicity levels.


Vitamin B3           Niacin Niacin is used to help lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood.  Also used to help lower the chance of heart attacks and to treat coronary disease.  It does this by playing an important role in energy transfer reactions in the metabolism of glucose, fat and alcohol.

Deficiency in this vitamin can result in aggression, insomnia, weakness and mental confusion.

Side effects of taking too much niacin are nausea, vomiting, redness of skin followed by tingling and itching sensation.

Food sources high in niacin are fish and lean meats as well as brown rice.


Vitamin B5  Pantothenic acid Pantothenic acid is involved in the oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates. Also critical in the production of red blood cells, as well as sex and stress related hormones produced in the adrenal glands.  Also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract as well as assisting other vitamins in their functions in the body.

Deficiency in this vitamin can result in acne although rare.

It has no known toxicity levels.

Food sources high in B5 corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, beef (especially organ meats such as liver and kidney), any fowl, milk, split peas, peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, whole-grain breads and cereals, lobster, wheat germ, and salmon.

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxamine Vitamin B6 is known to assist in the production of serotonin which influences a variety of psychological functions related to mood, sexual desire, appetite, sleep and memory.

Deficiency in this vitamin can result in neurological problems.

Food sources for this vitamin include grains, legumes, carrots, spinach, peas, potatoes, dairy products, fish, liver and other meats.

Vitamin B7     Biotin Biotin plays a key role in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates like some of the other B’s.  Especially helps produce fatty acids and amino acids and activates protein/amino acids metabolism in hair roots and cells.

Deficiency typically does not cause symptoms in adults but can lead to neurological issues in infants.

No known toxicity levels.

Food Sources with the most biotin is liver as well as egg yolk, soybeans, nuts and grains.

Vitamin B9    Folic acid Folic acid acts as a co-enzyme in the body that helps in utilizing amino acids (the building blocks of protein), form blood cells in the bone marrow, ensure rapid cell growth and control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (in combination with vitamin B6 and B12) which is associated with heart disease.

Deficiency and produce anemia and elevated levels of homocysteine which can impact heart health.

Side effects are that it masks B12 deficiency which can lead to permanent neurological damage.

Food sources like in many of the B’s can be found in liver as well as dark green leafy vegetables, beans, wheat germ, egg yolk, dairy products, beets and whole wheat bread.

Vitamin B12      Cobalamin Vitamin B12 is involved in the cellular metabolism of carbs and protein.  It is essential in the production of blood cells in bone marrow and attributed to boosting mood, concentration and the immune system.  Also used for treating Alzheimer’s disease and controlling homocysteine levels which contribute to heart disease.

Deficiency comes in the form of anemia and memory loss, more than likely in elderly people.

Side effects are acne like rash and skin lesions.

Food sources comes from meat, fish and dairy products.

Supplementation Levels…

Below is a chart with RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for each of the B vitamins. Personally, I take a multi-vitamin with the highest amount of B Complex and in addition to that, a B Complex only vitamin.

I feel the B’s are one of the most important vitamins you can take especially if you are active. It is extremely hard to overdose on them, they are water soluble meaning you piss away any excess, and they serve too important of function in the body to be skimping on them.

I take my multi-vitamin in the morning then the B complex tablet on top of that about an hour before working out.

My levels are much higher than the RDA but this will give you a guideline. Even if you have a perfect diet, if you train, take a high level B multi-vitamin.

Vitamin B Dosages

Vitamin B Dosages

Increase your B’s if you want to BE….Fit Forlife!



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