Good nutrition is linked to good health, as well as to the prevention and treatment of many conditions. Getting the recommended amounts of vitamins daily is an important part of the nutritional equation.
B vitamins are especially essential for preventive care. Abundant in green vegetables, whole or fortified grains, dairy products and meats, B vitamins help promote a healthy metabolism. They are also linked to a reduced risk of stroke, as research shows.
- 1 The not so trivial example of vitamin B12
- 2 Vitamin B6: diseases that lead to a deficiency
- 3 How much per day for each vitamin, where to find them?
- 4 Vitamin B1 is important for the prevention of beriberi
- 5 Vitamin B3 converts food into energy
- 6 Take Vitamin B5 for Healthy Hormones
- 7 Vitamin B6 may help reduce the risk of heart disease
- 8 Avoid anemia with vitamin B12
- 9 Vitamin B9: Folic acid is essential for a healthy baby
The not so trivial example of vitamin B12
Take vitamin B12, for example. Vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, plays an important role in nerve function, red blood cell formation and DNA production. Most of us benefit from the many benefits of vitamin B12 as part of a varied and balanced diet.
But if you follow a vegan or vegan diet, you are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. In addition, older adults and people with gastrointestinal disorders do not have enough vitamin B12.
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Difficulty maintaining balance
Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
A bad memory
Mouth or tongue pain
Vitamin B6: diseases that lead to a deficiency
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is essential for normal brain development and proper functioning of the immune system and nervous system. Most people who eat poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas and bananas get enough vitamin B6.
But certain diseases, such as kidney disease and malabsorption syndromes, can lead to vitamin B6 deficiency. A lack of B6 can cause a reduction in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to tissues throughout the body. People with vitamin B6 deficiency may experience symptoms such as:
A weakened immune system
Some people with B vitamin deficiencies have been known to suffer from depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Folic acid (vitamin B9) is at the forefront of mood management. The results show that many people with depression have lower blood folate levels.
Folic acid is present in green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, peanuts and other legumes, as well as citrus fruits.
In addition, folic acid is essential in early pregnancy to prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine such as spina bifida. Taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid three months before conception and eating foods fortified with folic acid can help women get enough of this essential B vitamin.
How much per day for each vitamin, where to find them?
Here are the daily doses of the different B vitamins you need, the natural sources to include in your diet, and the health benefits you can expect from them.
Vitamin B1 is important for the prevention of beriberi
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B1, also called thiamin, is 1.1 milligrams (mg) for women over 18. Up to 1.4 mg for pregnant women and 1.5 mg for breastfeeding women. For men aged 14 and over, 1.2 mg per day is recommended.
Vitamin B1 plays a major role in the metabolism of food into energy. Vitamin B1 is found in whole grains, yeast, beans, nuts and meats. A lack of vitamin B1 causes beriberi, a disease affecting the heart, digestive system and nervous system. Beriberi is found in patients who are malnourished and in heavy alcohol drinkers.
Symptoms of beriberi include difficulty walking, loss of sensation in the hands and feet, and paralysis of the legs. It can even lead to congestive heart failure. People who drink large amounts of alcohol should take a vitamin B complex supplement to be sure they are getting enough B1. Additionally, prolonged intake of any of the B vitamins can lead to an imbalance of other important B vitamins. For this reason, you can take a B-complex vitamin, which includes all of the B vitamins.
Vitamin B2 strengthens the immune system
A diet rich in vitamin B2 is necessary to avoid riboflavin deficiency. The recommended daily allowances of B2 are 1.3 mg per day for men and 1.1 mg per day for women. Pregnant women need 1.4 mg per day. Nursing mothers 1.6 mg per day. You can get this B vitamin from natural sources such as nuts, green vegetables, meat, and dairy products.
Riboflavin helps your body break down and use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from your diet. It helps metabolize food into energy. This type of B vitamin also contributes to healthy skin, gut walls, and blood cells. Getting enough riboflavin can prevent migraines and cataracts. Riboflavin can also increase energy levels, boost the immune system, and treat acne, muscle cramps, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Vitamin B3 converts food into energy
We need vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid or niacin) in our daily diet to break down the food we eat into energy we can use. Women 14 and older need 14 mg per day. Men in this age group need 16 mg per day. Legumes, nuts, fortified breads, dairy products, fish, and lean meats are all good sources of this type of B vitamin.
Lack of niacin in the diet causes the disorder known as pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include physical and mental difficulties, diarrhea, inflammation of mucous membranes and dementia. Pellagra can also appear when the body is not able to absorb enough niacin due to alcoholism.
The health benefits of niacin include its use as a treatment to help control high blood cholesterol levels. Niacin doses high enough to lower cholesterol are associated with several side effects. They should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.
Take Vitamin B5 for Healthy Hormones
All people aged 14 and over should receive 5 mg of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) each day. Vitamin B5 is found in vegetables from the cabbage family, such as broccoli and collard greens, as well as in avocado. Also, whole grains, potatoes, dairy products and organ meats are good sources.
This type of B vitamin is necessary for many biochemical reactions that take place in our cells every day. Including the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats into energy. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, you need vitamin B5 in your diet every day. Pantothenic acid is needed by our body to produce hormones. It is also necessary for growth.
Vitamin B6 may help reduce the risk of heart disease
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is 1.3 mg for adults up to 50 years old. Teenage girls and pregnant or breastfeeding women need even more vitamin B6 per day, around 2 mg. You can find vitamin B6 in the following foods:
Liver of beef
Fortified ready-to-eat cereals
Vitamin B6 is important because it participates in more than 100 enzymatic reactions in the cells of the body. Helping us to metabolize amino acids from our food and build new red blood cells. B6 may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, but this benefit has not yet been definitively established.
The health benefits of vitamin B6 shown by clinical research include reduced risk of heart disease. Although deficiency in this vitamin is rare in Europe, it can lead to muscle weakness, depression, irritability, short-term memory loss, nervousness and difficulty concentrating.
Avoid anemia with vitamin B12
Adults only need 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) each day. Teenage girls and pregnant or breastfeeding women need more: 2.6 to 2.8 mcg per day.
Since vitamin B12 does not occur naturally in plant foods, vegetarians and vegans may not get enough of it in their diets. As a result, they may need to take a vitamin B supplement.
Natural sources rich in vitamin B12 are dairy products, fish, meat and in particular, beef liver and clams. This type of B vitamin is also found in fortified products like breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin B12 is essential for building blood cells and maintaining healthy nerve cells in the body. Up to 15% of the population suffers from vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are weakness, fatigue, constipation, weight loss and loss of appetite. A deficiency is also damaging to the nervous system and can lead to depression, confusion and dementia.
Vitamin B9: Folic acid is essential for a healthy baby
Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate) is a nutrient necessary for the growth and development of the body. Adults should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) per day. While breastfeeding mothers need 500 mcg per day, and teenagers and pregnant women 600 mcg per day.
Naturally occurring folate is found in many sources. These include dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, oranges, nuts, beans and peas.
Teenage girls and women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant may have trouble getting enough folic acid. But this B vitamin is vital for the health and development of the baby. Adequate folate intake prevents neural tube defects (brain and spine) in babies and promotes healthy growth.