Food With Vitamin B – What You Should Know About Vitamin B
Vitamin B is not just one vitamin. It refers to a family of water-soluble vitamins, each with its own job to do in your body. The B vitamins include thiamine or B1, riboflavin or B2, niacin or B3, pyridoxine or B6, folate, cobalamine or B12, biotin and, finally, pantothenic acid. The water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed in your gut and are able to quickly pass into the bloodstream for distribution to cells throughout your body. These vitamins typically are not stored in your body. Excesses are excreted in urine. This means that deficiencies of most the B vitamins can develop quickly.
On the other hand, chronically taking too much of certain vitamins can damage your body. Such toxicity rarely is from the foods we eat; it usually stems taking from dietary supplements. The jobs of the B vitamins range from helping create your DNA to energy metabolism. Sources range from meats to fruits and vegetables.
Thiamine, Vitamin B1
The main function of this B vitamin is to help with energy metabolism. It also plays a role in the function of nerves that help prompt muscle actions. The government’s Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) recommends 1.2 milligrams for men and 1.1 milligrams for women. Rich sources include lean pork, enriched grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Just one ounce of cooked pork tenderloin contains about half your thiamine needs. Deficiency of this B vitamin can cause a disease called “beriberi,” with symptoms such as weakness, disorientation and a fast heart beat.
Riboflavin, Vitamin B2
Like thiamine, riboflavin plays a role in releasing energy from the foods you eat. Its recommended intake is 1.3 milligrams for men and 1.1 milligram for women. Milk and dairy products are the main source of this B vitamin in the United States, but meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dark green leafy vegetables are also rich sources. A cup of cooked broccoli contains about 25 percent your B2 needs, while a cup of 1% milk has about 30 percent, and a single ounce of broiled beef tenderloin has just under 20 percent.
Niacin, Vitamin B3
This B Vitamin is also involved in energy metabolism. The DRI is 16 milligrams for men and 14 for women. Good sources include meats, poultry, legumes, whole cereal and milk. One ounce of roast turkey, with skin has nearly all the daily requirement. Deficiency symptoms include muscle weakness and indigestion. Severe deficiency leads to a disease called pellagra, and those symptoms include dementia, diarrhea and a scaly skin rash. Can you take too much? Yes, high doses cause flushing. Very high doses can harm your liver.
Pyridoxine, Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 plays a role in metabolizing amino acids and proteins and for making hemoglobin. Some of the roles it plays with amino acid metabolism are crucial for proper functioning of the nervous system. Its DRI is 1.3 mg daily for adults until age 50. Then, men need 1.7 mg and women need 1.5 mg. Good sources include whole grains and cereals, legumes and poultry. An ounce of cooked chicken thigh has about 15 percent of your daily needs, while a cup of brown rice has about 25 percent. Deficiencies lead to metabolic abnormalities, and especially show up in skin and the nervous system, with symptoms including weakness. Toxic doses would be several grams a day.
Folate: Another B Vitamin
Folate is actually several similar compounds. It is crucial for making red and white blood cells, amino acids, DNA and one part of hemoglobin. It is also needed for spinal cord development in fetuses. The DRI for men and women is 400 micrograms per day, because some folate is stored in the body. Good sources include leafy green vegetables, legumes and foods containing ascorbic acid, such as oranges. A cup of cooked lentils contains close to half a daily need. A half a cup of cooked spinach has about a third of what you need. A deficiency can cause anemia.
Cobalamine, Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a group of cobalamine compounds. They function in moving and storing folate, and play a role in the metabolism of fatty and amino acids. It’s needed for normal cell metabolism. B12 is stored in the liver, so the DRI for men and woman is a mere 2.4 micrograms per day. Animal products are good sources, like meat, dairy and eggs. An ounce of broiled ground lamb almost contains the daily requirement. A B12 deficiency disrupts cell division, causes pernicious anemia and eventually damages the nervous system. Older people are more at risk for pernicious anemia because their stomachs make less of a substance called intrinsic factor, which is needed for your body to absorb B12.
Biotin: A Little Bit Will Do It
Biotin is needed for metabolizing fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The DRI is 30 micrograms per day. A deficiency is almost unknown in the United States. Biotin is widely distributed in foods, but milk, peanut butter, egg yolks and a few vegetables are the main sources.
All living things contain this vitamin, which makes up part of an enzyme needed to turn food into energy. A deficiency is almost unheard of. The RDI is five milligrams, which you can get in whole grain cereals, legumes, meat and poultry.