Vitamin B

The B complex vitamins are a group of nutrients that are required by the human body for optimal health. Often found in the same foods, B vitamins are water-soluble and are not stored in the body for too long. These nutrients must be consumed every day to maintain health and prevent anemia and other problems. The B complex vitamins are grouped together because they are often found together in foods and depend on one another to perform.

Vitamin B

Types of Vitamin B

There are nine types of B vitamins that should be consumed daily, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  1. Folic Acid
  2. Thiamine (B1)
  3. Riboflavin (B2)
  4. Niacin (B3)
  5. Biotin
  6. Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  7. Pyridoxine (B6)
  8. Choline
  9. Cobalamin (B12).


  • In general, B vitamins function as co-enzymes, substances that initiate or speed up important reactions such as energy conversion, digestion of nutrients and nerve function.


  • The best food sources of B complex vitamins are whole grains, brewer’s yeast, liver, some beans, peas and nuts.


  • The government established recommended dietary allowances, or RDAs, for each of the B complex vitamins. Intake below this RDA can result in deficiency diseases such as beriberi from a lack of B1.


    • Illness from a deficiency of any of the B vitamins is more likely during fasting or weight loss, and in individuals with gastrointestinal absorption diseases.

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