Just like mac & cheese or PB & J, B vitamins are better together. B vitamins work synergistically to help metabolize macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats). Together they help support energy metabolism. They are often referred to as the “B complex” and are usually found together in nature while playing similar and complementary roles in your body. Let’s take a look at the most common B vitamins, their role in your body and where you can find them.
B1 (thiamine or thiamin)National Institutes of Health. (2013). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Thiamin. Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/:
This little spark plug is a catalyst for many reactions in the body including supporting energy metabolism, which supports growth and function of cells. Let the sparks fly by enjoying foods including fortified cereals, acorn squash, and black beans.
B2 (riboflavin) National Institutes of Health. (2013). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Riboflain Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/
Working synergistically with other B vitamins, riboflavin plays a role as a part of two co-enzymes that are a part of energy production and the metabolism of fats. Add B2 to your day with Portobello mushrooms and almonds.
B3 (niacin): Niacin: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002409.htm
Niacin aids in the function of nerves. No need to get flushed when eating food-based niacin. . from foods like peanuts. It’s true, some people may experience a warm sensation, redness and even itching know as a “niacin flush” when taking a niacin supplement, but it is not common to have this reaction when eating foods.
B5 (pantothenic acid): Pantothenic acid: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/853.html
Pantothenic acid plays a role in the digestion macronutrients, carbs, protein and fats. You can find pantothenic acid in a wide variety of foods including avocados and sweet potatoes. Micronutrient Information Center. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2016, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/pantothenic-acid#food-sources
B6 (pyridoxine): National Institutes of Health. (2013). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B6 Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
Pyridoxine plays an important role in many functions in the body. It’s involved in over 100 enzyme reactions and plays a role in both cognitive development and immune function. Chickpeas and potatoes are both excellent sources of pyridoxine
Biotin plays a role in providing energy through the efficient breakdown of macronutrients, carbs, protein and fat Biotin: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/313.html . It also plays a role in nervous system function. Biotin can be found in those avocados with which you love to top your toast Micronutrient Information Center. (n.d.). Retrieved August 28, 2016, fromhttp://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/biotin .
B9 (folate or folic acid) National Institutes of Health. (2013). QuickFacts: Folate. Retrieved August 28, 2016, fromhttp://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-QuickFacts/ :
Folate (folic acid when consumed as a supplement) is needed to make DNA and other genetic material and for cell division. Folate is found in vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce and Brussels sprouts.
B12 (cobalamin): National Institutes of Health. (2013). QuickFacts: Vitamin B12. Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
Vitamin B12 is needed for formation of red blood cells and plays a role in neurological function. B12 can be found in many fortified cereals, often providing 6mcg or 100% of your daily value.
If you’re concerned about your vitamin B intake, I recommend speaking to your health care practitioner. They can work with you to find a vitamin intake that’s suited for you.
How do you get your B vitamins? Let me know in the comments below.