What are B complex vitamins?
Vitamin B complex is made of up of eight water-soluble B vitamins, including vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), Pantothenic acid, B10 (Folic acid), and B12 (Cobalamin). The vitamins included in vitamin B complex combine to play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, promoting cell growth and extracting energy from the foods we eat.
Health benefits of vitamin B
The health advantages of the vitamin B family vary, vitamins B1, B2 and B3 have several functions including maintaining a healthy nervous system, vitamin B2 in particular supports normal skin and vision. Vitamin B6 can help to produce haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.
Pantothenic acid is involved with the production of red blood cells, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. On top of this, folic acid is particularly beneficial during pregnancy, helping to prevent nervous system problems in unborn babies.
Sources of vitamin B
A healthy and balanced diet will usually provide all the vitamin B our bodies need. Foods such as meat, milk, cheese and fish (including salmon and cod) are all excellent sources of vitamin B12. For vegetarians many fruits, vegetables, wholegrain bread and some fortified cereals are also excellent sources of B vitamins.
Folic acid is found in many foods, including green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and sprouts. Panthothenic acid is known to help release energy from our food and can be obtained from nearly all the meat and vegetables we eat. However, if you are wanting additional essential B vitamins, you could try a supplement such as Seven Seas Perfect7 Woman, which is a blend of natural source marine oil with Omega-3 plus essential multivitamins and minerals, including B2, B6, and Biotin.
Vitamin B in pregnancy
Vitamin B6 and folic acid are particularly beneficial for expectant and new mothers. Government guidelines recommend women who are planning a pregnancy should aim to take an additional 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.
Folic acid works with vitamin B12 for the formation of normal blood cells.
Government guidelines recommend women who are planning a pregnancy should aim to take an additional 400 micrograms of folic acid per day
Vitamin B deficiency
Whilst the majority of adults in the UK consume enough B vitamins through the food they eat, due to diet restrictions it is not always easy for everyone to maintain the recommended levels. Vegetarians and vegans can often suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency which isn’t found naturally in fruits, vegetables and grains.
The condition pernicious anaemia can result in a vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition in which the immune system attacks certain cells in the stomach that produce a protein important for B12 absorption in the gut. In the absence of these proteins, B12 from diet cannot be absorbed leading to deficiency. A vitamin B12 supplement can be beneficial to reach the EU NRV of 2.5mcg.