The B Vitamins – There are 8 B Vitamins, known as “B Complex Vitamins.” They are abbreviated as Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin). Other than Vitamin B12, these vitamins cannot be stored in the body for long and must constantly be replenished through food. Given their intrinsic importance to life, we will define each of these on their own!
Thiamine (B1) – effective in treating digestive issues, has also been known to boost the immune system, assist with kidney health in type 2 diabetics, and even improve conditions for those recovering from alcoholism.
Where can I find it? – nuts, oats, oranges, seeds, legumes, peas, and yeast
Riboflavin (B2) – Riboflavin is water soluble and flushed quickly from the body. Therefore it must be replaced daily. It’s essential for proper digestion, function of the skin, and blood cells. It plays a key role in energy production for the body.
Where can I find it? - Almonds, brussels sprouts, yeast, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms, soybeans, and green leafy vegetables
Niacin (B3) – Like the other B vitamins but perhaps best known for it, niacin helps the body break down fats, proteins, and carbs into energy. Its primary function is to metabolize energy and improve digestion. Niacin can even benefit the liver, producing hormones in the adrenal glands which signal to the liver to remove harmful chemicals.
Where can I find it? – yeast, nuts, green vegetables, and beans
Pantothenic Acid (B5) – Vitamin B5 helps process the other 7 B Vitamins, aiding in digestion. B5 is essential in helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). Pantothenic Acid may also aid in the treatment of diabetes.
Where can I find it? – Whole grains, cabbages, sweet potatoes, yeast, and broccoli
Pyridoxine (B6) – Vitamin B6 may have been responsible for the first oxygen producing organisms in our planet’s history! Vitamin B6 unlocks the energy stored in food to use more effectively, while also reducing homocysteine in the bloodstream, which may lower risk of heart attack and stroke. B6 also assists in neurotransmitter creation and support.
Where can I find it? – Oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, beans, cereals, papayas, and dark leafy greens
Biotin (B7) – You may have seen biotin in your local supplement store, taken in capsule form to support hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is essential in metabolizing glucose, fats, and amino acids, and is indispensable for the growth of a healthy fetus. Biotin also has been known to treat skin rashes in infants.
Where can I find it? – whole wheat bread, chard, wheat germ, carrots, bananas, cauliflower, and yeast
Folate (B9) – Folate is most known as the center of prenatal vitamin supplementation. The benefits provided to a gestating mother are essential, while the absence of folate can lead to potential neurological issues at birth. Among many vital roles, folate is essential during rapid cell and tissue growth, such as during times of infancy, pregnancy, and puberty.
Where can I find it? – spinach, leafy green veggies, brussels sprouts, asparagus, yeast, beans, cereals, and breads
Cobalamin (B12) – Perhaps most mentioned in vegan circles, but for a unique reason: it cannot be consumed from a plant based source. B12 is also the only B Complex Vitamin that can be stored in the liver for up to 5 years. Despite its absolute necessity to nervous system and cell health, the body requires only a tiny amount to operate properly. Do not ignore B12 for long!
Where can I find it? – Chocolate Magic!! Otherwise in capsule or chewable form, or in fortified foods such as plant milks, cereals, and more.