B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Though these vitamins share similar names, research shows that they are chemically distinct vitamins that often coexist in the same foods. In general, supplements containing all eight are referred to as a vitamin B complex. Individual B vitamin supplements are referred to by the specific name of each vitamin. We will go over each of these generally below.
Vitamin B1: Thiamine
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is classified as a B-complex vitamin. Very small amounts of vitamin B1 are found in virtually all foods, and many commonly eaten foods contain substantial amounts. Like the other B vitamins, B1 is a key player in the production of energy from dietary carbohydrates and fats. In fact, you could easily make the case that vitamin B1 plays the most critical role of all, acting as the gate keeper between the less efficient step of early carbohydrate breakdown and the very energy-rich Krebs’ cycle and electron transport chain. Because of the central role of vitamin B1 to energy metabolism, deficiency of this nutrient impairs nearly every important function in the body. Severe and prolonged vitamin B1 deficiency—rare in the United States—has been reported to affect the nervous system, the heart, and digestive function, among other areas.
Vitamin B2: Riboflavin-
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is arguably the only vitamin that gives you a visual cue as to its passage through your body. When there is a lot of vitamin B2 in the diet (or in a supplement), your urine turns bright yellow to show you it is there. In fact, the —flavin in riboflavin comes from flavus, the Latin word for yellow. Many types of vegetables are rich in vitamin B2. In addition to leafy greens, which are rich sources of a wide array of nutrients, we see other Brassica vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), peppers, root vegetables, and squash on the list of vitamin B2-rich foods.
Vitamin B3: Niacin-
Enzymes that contain niacin play an important role in energy production and the metabolism of fat, cholesterol, and carbs. Niacin has other benefits. There’s good evidence that it helps reduce atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries in some people. For people who have already had a heart attacvk, niacin seems to lower the risk of a second one. Niacin can cause flushing — harmless but uncomfortable redness and warmth in the face and neck — especially when you first begin taking it. Your health care provider will probably suggest increasing the dose slowly to reduce this problem.
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine-
This B vitamin is most commonly used to treat anemia and many PMS symptoms in women. Pistachios, sunflower seeds and prunes all provide excellent amounts of B6.
Vitamin B7: Biotin-
Biotin is another vitamin important in fat and protein metabolism. Most of us may commonly recognize this vitamin because of its tremendous benefits for the skin, hair, and healthy babies. This vitamin also seems to play an important role for diabetes. In diabetic patients, after one month of biotin supplementation, fasting blood glucose levels decreaded by an average of 45%. Cauliflower and mushrooms are both good sources.