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B-Vitamin complex - B1 to B12! Print E-mail

cabbageThe B-vitamin complex consists of eight water soluble vitamins. The B vitamins work together to boost metabolism, enhance the immune system and nervous system, keep the skin and muscles healthy, encourage cell growth and division, and other benefits to your body.

The B-complex vitamins are grouped together because of their similar physical properties and their presence in similar food sources. Because of the close inter-relationship between the B-complex vitamins, it is important to note that the inadequate intake of one of the vitamins can result in the impaired utilisation of the others.

Good sources of vitamin B include potatoes, bananas, lentils, chilli peppers, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, berries, wheat germs, milk and enriched cereals.

Vit B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine pyrophosphate plays a key role in the Krebs cycle (the final step in the oxidation of protein, carbohydrate and fat)
Early symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, irritation, poor memory, sleep disturbances, pain in the chest, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort and constipation. Thiamine deficiency leads to weight loss, problems with the heart and nervous system and a disease called beriberi.

Vit B2 (Riboflavin)

This vitamin is important for metabolism and the maintenance of many tissues of the body. It also plays an important role in the protection of antioxidants and keeps the skin, hair and nails healthy.
A deficiency can result in skin lesions and light sensitivity. Later symptoms include cracks in the lips, mouth corners and skin, as well as a purple, swollen tongue.

Vit B3 (Niacin)

Your body needs niacin to produce two crucial enzymes that help release energy in the form of glucose from the food you digest. Niacin plays a role in the growth of healthy skin, helps nerves develop normally and helps your digestive system stay healthy. It also blocks the production of cholesterol in the body.
Early signs of deficiency include indigestion, muscular weakness and changes in the texture of the skin. Deficiency leads to a disease called pellagra which is characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and changes in the texture and colour of the tongue.

Vit B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid enhances metabolism and is closely involved in supporting the adrenal glands’ cortical stress reaction system. It is also known as the anti-stress vitamin.
A deficiency of pantothenic acid leads to headaches, loss of appetite, anxiety, weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, poor muscle coordination, depression and grinding of the teeth at night.

Vit B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is used to metabolise protein into amino acids and vice versa. It also helps your body produce haemoglobin and is necessary for the release of glucose. The vitamin also seems to have a stabilising effect on sex hormones, which is why many premenstrual women find it useful.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is relatively rare, but symptoms include anemia, sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, dry skin, cracked lips, stress and premenstrual symptoms.

Vit B9 (Folic Acid)

Folic acid enables the body to form haemoglobin. Folate plays a pivotal role in the correct development of a baby’s spinal cord during the three months following conception and helps lower the risk of heart disease.
Folic acid deficiency can lead to spina bifida in foetal development; other symptoms can include fatigue, eczema, cracked lips, anxiety, high homocystein levels, macrocytic anemia and pale skin.

Vit B12 (Colalamin)

Colalamin is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. This vitamin can only be found in animal sources, therefore vegetarians are strongly encouraged to supplement. Read more here.
Symptoms of colalamin deficiency include eczema, dermatitis, fatigue, poor hair condition, poor memory or concentration, anemia, anxiety, irritability and tension, and tender or sore muscles.

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