B1, B2, B3, B12: these are all part of the Vitamin B family, but they each perform different functions together and individually in our bodies.
There isn’t just one Vitamin B resource to do the job—you need all of them to have a properly functioning and healthy body. But how do you know if you’re getting enough of these essential nutrients in your diet?
It’s always beneficial to consume vitamins in real food rather than taking supplements if you can, however, if a supplement can help enhance your healthy lifestyle, look for a supplements produced with high quality elements and care. Here’s a little bit about each of the vitamin b members, and where you can find them in your natural diet.
B1, or Thiamine
Thiamine is a vitamin that helps your body metabolize carbs, regulates your appetite, and keeps your nervous system up and functioning. Eat pork, dark leafy greens, whole-grains, nuts and lentils to include thiamine in your diet.
B2, or Riboflavin
Riboflavin is key for healthy skin, hair, nails, and it stimulates the production of red blood cells. Yogurt, cheese, whole grains, and leafy greens, as well as proteins like chicken, fish, or eggs will supply you with a dose of riboflavin.
B3, or Niacin
Niacin is another vitamin B that helps you release energy from your food, and is essential for proper nerve function. Poultry, fish, whole grains, and various fruits and vegetables such as peas, lima beans, dried apricots, carrots, and tomatoes will aid in maintaining a healthy nervous system.
B5, or Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic acid also helps you use the energy you get from your food and is vital for enzyme function. Including yogurt, avocado, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms in your diet will ensure a sufficient amount of B5.
B6, or Pyridoxine
Pyridoxine is needed for protein metabolism as well as a healthy nervous system. Some great sources are poultry, seafood, bananas, spinach, potatoes, and fortified grains.
Vitamin B12 is absolutely crucial. While animal foods like beef, chicken, mussels, clams, or crabs, are the best and only natural source of this vitamins, some foods are fortified with B12, such as chlorella, which is a natural algae containing an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Vegetarians and vegans are at risk for a B12 deficiency, which can lead to many health problems, so be sure to include a supplement if you don’t eat animal products.
If you eat a balanced diet, getting your B-vitamins is a snap—and delicious, too!
Graphic courtesy of Positive Health Wellness.