Your Key to B-Vitamins

B-Vitamins are added to many energy drinks for a jolt of energy and focus. But do you know the role of each B-Vitamin?

Thiamin

Also known as Vitamin B1 is needed to release energy from carbohydrates. Good sources of Thiamin include: whole grains (especially wheat germ), ready to eat breakfast cereals, pork products, orange juice, soy milk, flour tortillas, and watermelon. People who are at risk for a thiamin deficiency are diets consisting of highly processed foods consisting of sugar, fat, and alcohol. If you take Thiamin as a dietary supplement, it’s hard to take too much of it. The body releases excess thiamin through the urine.

Riboflavin

Riboflavin is also known as Vitamin B2. Riboflavin is involved in energy production, helps metabolize other vitamin and minerals, and has somewhat of an antioxidant role in the body. Many of the same food sources of Riboflavin are found in Thiamin dense foods. You can find Riboflavin in ready to eat cereal, meat, eggs, and cooked spinach.

Niacin

Also referred to as Vitamin B3. Niacin helps produce energy on a cellular level. Great food sources of Niacin are chicken, fish, whole grain breads, ready to eat cereal, peanuts, and asparagus. It’s possible to take too much Niacin at once. Excess Niacin can cause your skin to turn red primarily on the face, arms and chest while feeling a burning, tingling, flushing feeling by taking Niacin 30 to 1,000 mg/day within 30 minutes to 6 weeks of the initial dose (1).

Pantothenic Acid

Also known as Vitamin B5. Pantothenic Acid helps release energy from carbohydrates, fats, and protein. The prefix, panto-, is defined as “all” or “whole.” Pantothenic Acid is in a widespread of foods, it’s almost everywhere! It’s in plant and meat food sources and even added to energy drinks!

Pyridoxine

Pyridoxine is the general vitamin form of Vitamin B6. Alike other B Vitamins, Vitamin B6 is needed for metabolism and amino acid metabolism. Vitamin B6 also supports a healthy nervous system. Good sources of Vitamin B6 are salmon, potatoes, bananas, and cantaloupe. However, megadoses of Vitamin B6 can lead to nerve damage.

Biotin

Biotin helps the synthesis of glucose and fatty acids while aiding in the breaking down of amino acids. Biotin is naturally found in cauliflower, peanuts, egg yolks, and cheese. Biotin is commonly added to Hair, Skin, and Nails dietary supplement formulas. Also known as Vitamin B7.

Folic Acid

Folic Acid is the synthetic form of folate, also known as Vitamin B9. Folic acid is recommended to be supplemented if you are at child bearing age or if you are pregnant for the healthy development of the nervous system of the baby. Supplementing Folic acid reduces the risk of fetal neural tube defects. Fantastic sources of Folic acid are breads and ready to eat breakfast cereals.

Vitamin B12

The body has a complex method of absorbing Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 ultimately is responsible for nerve health, red blood cell development, and energy production. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal products, such as, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, and milk. Diets that are low in animals products may need daily supplemental Vitamin B12.

Dietitian Tip

There’s even more of a reason to eat tacos on Tuesday! Tortillas are an awesome source of B-Vitamins, pile on lettuce, protein of choice, along with other veggies for more flavor and nutrition! B-Vitamins can easily be obtained in a meal with mixed foods, not necessarily eating specific foods. Also, eating breakfast can help cover your bases for B-Vitamins. A simple breakfast of milk and a bowl of ready to eat breakfast cereal provides plenty of B-Vitamins. Add an egg and few slices of bacon to get even more B-Vitamins!

 

References:

(1) CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Niacin intoxication from pumpernickel bagels—New York. MMWR. 1983;32:305

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