8 Types Of B Vitamins And Signs Of Their Deficiency

The group of 8 different Vitamin B compounds when brought together is known as the vitamin B complex which serves several important functions.

 
Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaPublished at: Jan 28, 2022Updated at: Jan 28, 2022
8 Types Of B Vitamins And Signs Of Their Deficiency

Since early childhood we have been told to eat a proper diet in order to maintain adequate levels of vitamins in our body. These vitamins and minerals are the nutrients  known to be essential for proper functioning of various body systems. The food we eat consists of several nutrients out of which B vitamins are said to be the most important ones. B vitamins are a group of 8 essential nutrients that play a major role in the proper functioning of various organ systems in the body. A group of these vitamins helps the body to convert food into energy by carrying out the process of metabolism. By doing so it creates new blood cells in the body along with maintaining healthy brain cells, skin cells and several other body tissues. The group of 8 different Vitamin B compounds when brought together is known as the vitamin B complex. Let us take a deep dive into this article and know more about what this vitamin B complex is, its functions, types of B Vitamins that fall under this complex and their benefits with some of the symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency as suggested by Dietician Charvi Virmani, Founder, Eat Without Guilt, New Delhi.

What is Vitamin B Complex?

Also Read: Vitamin B6 Benefits: Foods To Eat To Prevent Deficiency

B vitamins are vital nutrients that are very important for the healthy functioning of various organ systems. Vitamins falling under the group if B complex are water soluble and hence can not be stored by the body. As the human body can not store these vitamins for long, it needs to be a part of your regular diet for healthy growth and proper functioning of the body. Where these vitamins tend to work together inside the body, they also carry out some unique functions of their own. The B vitamins work by carrying out the process of metabolism and converting food into energy. Other than this it carries out several other functions such as creating new blood cells, maintaining healthy brain and skin cells, increases energy levels, improves eyesight, provides you with good appetite, improves digestion and induces proper brain functioning. The B complex vitamin constitutes of 8 types of B Vitamins that are-

  • Thiamin (B-1)
  • Riboflavin (B-2)
  • Niacin (B-3)
  • Pantothenic acid (B-5)
  • Pyridoxine (B-6)
  • Biotin (B-7)
  • Folate (B-9)
  • Vitamin B-12

Let us take a step ahead and learn more about these different types of B Vitamins that together constitute to make Vitamin B complex, their functions and food items rich in these vitamins.

#1. Thiamin (B-1)

Also known as the vitamin B-1. Thiamine is a nutrient that is present in high amounts in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and liver. Human body essentially requires this nutrient for proper functioning and development of these organs. Thiamin serves various functions such as breaking down carbohydrates in our body, producing fatty acids, creating brain chemicals and neurotransmitters along with synthesizing certain types of hormones. The food items rich in this nutrient are-

  • Pine nuts
  • Coriander
  • Yeast
  • Wheat germ
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Watermelon

A deficiency of this vitamin in the body can lead to issues like loss of muscle mass, heart related conditions, memory problems, loss of appetite, poor reflexes, unexplainable weight loss, etc.

#2. Riboflavin (B-2)

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Also Read: 5 Benefits Of Eating Almonds Everyday According To Ayurveda

Popularly known as vitamin B-2, Riboflavin is a part of the B-complex and an essential nutrient that serves several important functions in the body. This nutrient is required for production of energy, breaking down drugs, fats and steroid hormones inside the body, converts vitamin B-6 into a usable coenzyme that the body requires and helps in the conversion of tryptophan into niacin. To maintain adequate levels of riboflavin in the body, one must consume food items such as -

  • Whole grains
  • Almonds
  • Cereal grass
  • Spinach
  • Sesame seeds
  • Buckwheat
  • Mushrooms
  • Quinoa

Inadequate amounts of this nutrient in the body can lead to issues such as itchy and red eyes, hair fall, swelling in mouth or throat, cracked lips and skin disorders.

#3. Niacin (B-3)

An important part of about 400 different enzyme reactions that take place in the body, niacin of vitamin B-3 is a nutrient that gets converted into a coenzyme called nicotinamide. This converted niacin or nicotinamide is then used by the body to perform several important functions such as carry out the process of metabolism in body cells, expressions of DNA cells, changing protein, carbs and fats into a reusable form of energy along with providing communication amongst the cells. To maintain the levels of niacin in the body one must consume food items such as -

  • Rice bran
  • Chilli powder
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mushroom
  • Green peas
  • Potatoes
  • Millet
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado

People suffering from a deficiency of vitamin B-3 might experience symptoms such as anorexia nervosa, inflammatory bowel disease, hartnup disease and malnutrition.

#4. Pantothenic acid (B-5)

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Pantothenic acid is a nutrient that is important for the body to create a new coenzyme. Pantothenic acid or vitamin B-5 is carried out by the red blood cells throughout the body so that it can be used to carry out the process of metabolism and energy conversion. Consuming the following food items can help a person to maintain adequate levels of pantothenic acid in the body-

  • Paprika
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Rice bran
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potatoes

Deficiency of this vitamin in the body can give rise to conditions such as irritability, loss of appetite, headache, numbness in hands and feet, poor sleep and restlessness.

#5. Pyridoxine (B-5)

Vitamin B-6 or Pyridoxine is an important part of the B-complex vitamin that plays a major role in about 100 enzyme reactions that take place inside our body. This vitamin works by breaking down the fats and carbohydrates, improving immune functioning and brain development and supporting the amino acid metabolism. Consumption of the following food items can help you to prevent Vitamin B-5 deficiency and complications caused due to it-

  • Soy products
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chia seeds
  • Bananas 
  • Watermelon
  • Chickpeas
  • Wheat germ
  • Pumpkin
  • Water chestnuts

A deficiency of this vital nutrient in the body can result in swollen tongue, depression and weakened immune system.

#6. Biotin B-7

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A part of the vitamin B-complex that has recently been talked much about and has been a part of various hair care products, biotin or vitamin B-7 carries out several important functions in our body. A nutrient required by the body for the regularization of DNA, breaking down of fats and proteins and to establish a communication amongst the body cells. To maintain good amount of biotin in the body, one can consume food items such as -

  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts

Deficiency of biotin in the body can give rise to issues such as depression, fatigue, brittle nails, hair fall and scaly rashes.

#7. Folate (B-9)

The natural form of vitamin B that is present in large quantities in green leafy vegetables, folate is known to be good for the women of reproductive age and helps in reducing the risk of birth related defects. This nutrient is essential for the process of metabolism of vitamins, replication of DNA, cell division and amino acid metabolism. Here are a few food items that one can consume to maintain adequate levels of folate in the body-

  • Spinach
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • Hazelnuts 

Deficiency or inadequate levels of folate in the body can lead to conditions such as irritability, weakness, heart palpitation and headache.

#8. Vitamin B-12

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Last one out of the group of vitamin B complexes, vitamin B-12 or cobalamin is a nutrient that is used for the creation of healthy red blood cells, for better brain and neurological functioning, metabolism of fats and proteins and DNA synthesis. Food items rich in vitamin B-12 are-

  • Fortified cereal
  • Soy products
  • Fortified almond milk
  • Nutritional yeast.

Deficiency of vitamin B-12 often leads to conditions like constipation, fatigue, memory issues, loss of appetite, depression and numbness in hands and feet.

(This article is based upon a post by Dietician Charvi Virmani, Founder, Eat Without Guilt, New Delhi on her instagram handle)

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