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What Are Vitamin B Complex?

Vitamin B complex is a family of eight vitamins that each have their own set of powerful health benefits. 

These vitamins are essential to normal body functioning, yet our bodies don’t produce these vitamins naturally. Therefore, we rely on the foods we eat to get the nutrients we need to stay healthy. 

Vitamins in the B complex are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water. They are absorbed into the water in your body, so you only get to benefit from them until they pass through your system in your urine. 

Therefore, it’s important to eat healthy foods regularly to achieve full vitamin B complex benefits.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine): This vitamin is best known for helping the body metabolize the carbohydrates from your food. 

This is beneficial to help you process glucose efficiently in order to avoid the complications of diabetes. 

It is also vital for a healthy heart, muscle movement, and in treating anxiet

How much to eat: The recommended dietary allowance for thiamine is 1.2 milligrams for adult males and 1.1 milligrams for adult females. 

You can satisfy your daily value by eating a half cup of white rice, 1 serving of fortified cereals, or 1.5 cups of black beans. 

Other foods to eat: Lean beef, cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus, and eggs.


Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Most of us have heard of riboflavin but don’t really have a clue what it is. 

In fact, it also helps you metabolize carbohydrates, but it also helps you metabolize fats and proteins to give you energy. 

However, it is best known to support growth and overall health.

How much to eat: To get the daily recommended value of riboflavin, which is 1.3 milligrams for adult males and 1.1 milligrams for adult females, 

you can eat 1 serving of fortified breakfast cereals or 3 ounces of pan-fried beef liver. 

Other foods to eat: Oats, mushrooms, yogurt, almonds, and salmon.


Vitamin B3 (niacin): Niacin is often underestimated, but it offers quite a few vitamin B complex benefits. 

It treats diabetes, reduces the risks of heart disease, boost brain function, and reduces arthritis pain. 

Niacin may be most effective in removing LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, from your bloodstream. 

How much to eat: Adult males need at least 16 milligrams of niacin and adult females need at least 14 milligrams. 

You can get this by eating 5 ounces of grilled chicken breast, or 6 ounces of salmon, tuna, or lean beef.

Other foods to eat: Peanuts, brown rice, turkey breasts, whole wheat bread, and bananas.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Yes, this vitamin is great for your hair and skin, but it does so much more for your overall health. 

It helps your nervous system function properly, promotes digestive health, controls stress levels, and aids in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. 

How much to eat: You need 5 milligrams of pantothenic acid every day. You can get this amount in 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, 

a half cup of sunflower seeds, 12 ounces of chicken breast, or 1 serving of fortified breakfast cereal.

Other foods to eat: Potatoes, Greek yogurt, avocados, tuna, and milk.


Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): This oddly-named vitamin regulates your mood, treats anemia and PMS, fights atherosclerosis, 

and promotes eye health. It’s even been found to help prevent cancer, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and treat rheumatoid arthritis.

How much to eat: Adults need 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6, but the recommended dietary allowance increases after age 50. 

At that time, adult males need 1.7 milligrams per day and adult females need 1.5 milligrams. You can get these amounts by eating a cup of chickpeas with your salmon.

Other foods to eat: Tuna, chicken breast, cottage cheese, marinara sauce, and potatoes.


Vitamin B7 (biotin):  Another vitamin that is hot on the market, this vitamin is infamous for giving you thicker hair and stronger nails. However, that’s just a small part of its vitamin B complex benefits. 

It also lowers your cholesterol, helps control your blood sugar, and helps you metabolize fats, protein, and carbohydrates.

How much to eat: You need 30 micrograms of biotin per day. Just one serving of beef liver or 3 eggs will meet this requirement.

Other foods to eat: Salmon, ground beef, almonds, oatmeal, and spinach.


Vitamin B9 (folate): Also known as folic acid, this vitamin is not just for pregnant women. It’s important to the reproductive health of men and women. 

It also controls anxiety, metabolizes carbohydrates, and aids in the production of red and white blood cells in the bone marrow. 

How much to eat: It’s not too difficult to get the recommended 400 micrograms of folate per day. You can eat 6 ounces of braised beef liver, 1.5 cups of spinach, or a cup of spinach with a cup of rice.

Other foods to eat: Brussels sprouts, spaghetti, broccoli, a slice of white bread, and avocados. 


Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Sometimes thought to be the most powerful vitamin within the vitamin B complex, vitamin B12 is closely linked with your body’s ability to fight depression, 

prevent osteoporosis, prevent vision deterioration, boost your energy, and support heart health.

How much to eat: Adults need 2.4 micrograms of cobalamin, which you can exceed by a landslide by eating claims and liver.

Other foods to eat: You can also eat tuna, sirloin beef, ham, eggs, and milk.


As you can see, there are tons of vitamin B complex benefits. Unfortunately, there are also a few vitamin B complex side effects. 

For instance, niacin (vitamin B3) can spike your blood sugars and lead to vomiting or liver damage, while excessive pyridoxine (vitamin B6) can cause nerve damage and painful skin issues. 

Additional vitamin B complex side effects can include skin irritations, excessive thirst, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and anemia.

Based on the health benefits, you can see that you need a healthy dose of vitamin B complex in your life every day, preferably in the morning to maximize the benefit throughout the day – just don’t overdo it.

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