Everything about vitamin B: its function, types, sources and how a deficiency can negatively impact the body

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that are crucial for energy production and metabolism in the body.

The B vitamins are of significant importance to our overall well-being. They play a crucial role in facilitating the body’s energy production and metabolism from the food we consume, said Dr. Payal Chaudhary, Senior Consultant, OB/GYN, Rosewalk Healthcare at Rainbow Childrens Hospital

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that are crucial for energy production and metabolism in the body.B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that are crucial for energy production and metabolism in the body. (Photo source: Getty/Thinkstock)

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Pregnant women are often prescribed folatea type of vitamin B, while patients who have undergone surgery along with those experiencing fatigue are given vitamin B supplements. Similarly, biotin (a type of vitamin B) is often recommended for good hair and skin health. One vitamin and many functions is what makes vitamin B so special and important. So, we decided to start the week by gathering information about this vital vitamin, its types, sources, functions, and also figuring out who needs it. vitamin B supplementsand why.

Similarly, we spoke to experts to decode all things vitamin B, so you’re not baffled when something related to vitamin B surfaces anytime soon. It will also help you make more informed dietary choices and help you see a doctor if you experience any signs of vitamin B deficiency.

What are vitamins?

But first, let’s give you a quick understanding of what vitamins are and why they’re essential. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Dr Chhaya BE, Medical Consultant, SPARSH Hospital said, ‚ÄúVitamins are a group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition of the human body. Indispensable for the normal functioning of the body, they are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.

There are two types of vitamins fat soluble and water soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are absorbed from fat, while water-soluble vitamins (all others except these four) are dissolved in water.

Water-soluble vitamins they are easily lost (for example through urine) and need to be replenished often, while fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, so make sure you don’t get too many.

What is Vitamin B?

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that are crucial for energy production and metabolism in the body. The B vitamins are of significant importance to our overall well-being. They play a crucial role in facilitating the body’s energy production and metabolism from the food we consume. It also helps in the formation of red blood cells, Dr. Payal Chaudhary, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynecology, Rosewalk Healthcare at Rainbow Childrens Hospital, told indianexpress.com.

Natural sources of vitamin B are seafood such as shellfish, fish, crabs, red meat, liver, kidneys, eggs and milk, grains, dark green vegetables such as spinach, nuts and seeds, and citrus fruits. (Photo source: Freepik)

Types of Vitamin Bs

Types of B vitamins include:

thiamine (B1),
Riboflavin (B2),
Niacin (B3),
pantothenic acid (B5),
Pyridoxine (B6),
Biotin (B7),
Folate (B9), e
Cobalamin (B12).

Why do we need vitamin B?

B vitamins play an essential role in converting food into energy, supporting a healthy nervous system, facilitating red blood cell production, supporting optimal brain functionand contributing to DNA and protein synthesis, shared Dr. Chaudhary.

Adding Dr. Ravi Shankerji Kesari, General Practitioner, General Practitioner, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, said that they also help in maintaining healthy skin, hair and eyes. Specific function of each B vitamin, as shared by Dr. Kesari:

  • B1 (thiamine) helps in energy production,
  • B2 (riboflavin) supports cell growth and red blood cell production,
  • B3 (niacin) promotes healthy digestion and nerve function,
  • B5 (pantothenic acid) helps release energy from food,
  • B6 (pyridoxine) helps in brain development and
  • B12 (cobalamin) is essential for nerve function and DNA synthesis.

B vitamins convert food into energy, support the nervous system, and keep skin, hair, and eyes healthy. (Photo source: Freepik)

Natural sources of vitamin Bs

Rich sources of B vitamins include

  • Protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry, meat, eggand dairy products.
  • Leafy greens, beans, and peas are also excellent sources of B vitamins.
  • Additionally, several cereals and some breads are fortified with additional B vitamins.

Vitamin Bs deficiency

The human body needs a certain amount of each type of B vitamin to function well. Deficiency of B vitamins can lead to several disadvantages and negative impacts on the body such as

  • Fatigue,
  • Weakness,
  • beriberi, pellagra,
  • bad digestion,
  • digestive problems,
  • skin and hair problems,
  • nerve damage,
  • Anemia,
  • Mood disorders e
  • Impaired cognitive function.
  • It can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sharing details on how a specific B vitamin deficiency can affect your health, Dr. Kesari shared:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiencyit can lead to anemia, nerve damage, and neurological symptoms.
  • Vitamin B6 and folate deficienciescan increase the risk of heart disease, birth defectsand cognitive decline.

Vitamin B supplements

Vitamin B supplements come in various forms such as pills, capsules, tablets, powders and liquids. They serve as cost-effective options for preventing and treating deficiencies. However, seeking professional advice from a healthcare professional is imperative to avoid potential adverse effects associated with high doses of these supplements.

Dr. Kesari shared several available B-vitamin supplements, including:

B-complex: A collection of all the B vitamins.
Vitamin B12: Important for energy production and nerve health.
Folic acid: Fundamental for DNA synthesis and cell division.
Biotin: Supports healthy hair, skin and nails.
Thiamine (B1): Vital for energy metabolism and nerve function.

To ensure an optimal supply of B vitamins, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet. Nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy products and lean meats offer a natural, holistic approach to obtaining these essential nutrients, promoting overall health and well-being, concluded Dr. Chaudhary .

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First published on: 2023-06-12 at 12:30 IST




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