Vitamin B is not just one type of substance, but twelve related vitamins. You may see each of these discussed individually, and foods containing B vitamins often list them by separate type. The most common B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folic acid (B9). Vitamin B is considered essential to a healthy diet. On a cellular level, these vitamins accomplish a wide range of tasks. They are particularly important for healthy eyes, hair, skin, nerves, and liver function. If you eat a well balanced diet, you should be taking in all of the Vitamin B your body needs, but this is not always the case, especially if you eat a lot of processed foods. Here’s how to eat more vitamin B:
- Sources of thiamine and riboflavin. Vitamins B1 and B2, they are found in whole grains and cereals, kidney beans, potatoes, and fish. Enriched whole grain breads contain particularly high levels of riboflavin; it can also be found in Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and leafy green vegetables. Thiamine is found in especially high levels in oysters.
- Sources of niacin. Niacin or B3 can be found in fish, chicken, liver, beans, nuts (especially peanuts or peanut butter), and whole grains.
- Sources of vitamin B9. Good sources of folic acid include wheat bread, beans, nuts, peas, green leafy vegetables (especially asparagus), citrus fruits (particularly cantaloupe), and liver. Fermented products or those containing yeast also tend to have high levels of folic acid.
- Sources of other B vitamins. Some vitamins, including B5, are found in nearly all foods. Overall, liver, nuts, beans, and whole wheat are foods containing many vitamin B substances.
- Avoid activities and foods that diminish your vitamin B stores. Refined sugar and drugs can deplete the vitamin B in your body. So can a range of other toxins, as well as coffee, tea, and alcohol. Overcooking foods that contain vitamin B can reduce the amount of vitamins remaining in the food. Reduce your consumption of processed foods, which generally do not contain sufficient levels of B vitamins.
- Consider vitamin supplements. Although most people do not have sufficiently low levels of B vitamins to require supplements, B complex vitamins are available in this form.
The daily requirements for B-complex vitamins vary widely, from less than 3mg to more than 18mg per day. These requirements vary based on the particular B vitamin as well as age and gender. Those who are frequently partake in strenuous physical activity typically need to eat more vitamin B than others. Deficiencies in Vitamin B include a wide range of conditions depending on the specific B complexes that are lacking in your diet.