The Rundown on the B Vitamins (Part 2)

bvitamins2In last week’s edition of our Wellness Wednesday, we began our coverage on the importance of B vitamins. We learned that there are 8 different kinds of vitamin B, each with their own name and number. We also learned that they are essential in our body to help make energy from the foods we eat as well as being key players in our brain’s function. Last week we covered vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5, so if you have not read part 1 please visit our Wellness Wednesday home blog for part 1.

B6: Pyridoxine 

Pyridoxine is essential for the breakdown of food and the production of energy in our bodies. Vitamin B6 also has many other functions aside from energy production. It is also involved in the production of brain chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine which help influence a person’s mood and sleep cycles. Pyridoxine also needs to be in your body in order for vitamin B12 to be absorbed. Vitamin B6 can also help lower the risk of heart disease as those who do not consume enough vitamin B6 are at higher risks for heart disease. Vitamin b6 deficiency is rare but can be associated with microcytic anemia, depression, and weakened immune system. Good sources of vitamin B6 include chicken, turkey, tuna, fortified cereals, beef liver, fish, and bananas.

B7: Biotin 

Vitamin B7 most commonly referred to as biotin, is used in the body to break down fats, carbohydrates and amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It is also very important during pregnancy as it is very important for embryonic growth. Deficiencies of biotin include hair loss, swollen tongue, cracking in the corners of the mouth, dry eyes, fatigue and depression. Food sources of biotin include cooked eggs (specifically the egg yolk), almonds, peanuts, walnuts, beans, and bananas.

B9: Folate 

Folate (also known as folic acid) is critical for proper brain function and works with B12 to help make red blood cells. This B vitamin is also very important during pregnancy as it is crucial for normal spine and spinal cord development. Deficiency of folic acid is not as uncommon as some of the other B vitamins and symptoms of a deficiency include anemia, poor appetite, lack of energy, irritability, and forgetfulness. Some sources of folate include beef liver, dark leafy greens, spinach, lima beans, fortified breakfast cereal, and brewer’s yeast.

B12: Cobalamin 

The last of our B vitamins is cobalamin. B12 is important as it helps maintain healthy nerve cells. Vitamin B12 is deficiency is rare in younger people. A deficiency in older adults is uncommon and have lack B12. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include, fatigue, nervousness, tingling sensations in the fingers and toes, numbness, irritability and anxiety. A severe deficiency can lead to permanent nerve damage. Pernicious anemia (a type of anemia) may develop when the body cannot absorb vitamin B12. Cobalamin can only naturally be found in animal foods but some foods have been fortified with vitamin B12. Food sources include beef, pork, liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

So there you have it! A rundown on the B vitamins! We really hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the importance of B vitamins and the roles they play in our bodies.

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Created by Ricardo Blanco, Student Asst.
Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD 


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