Learn the Basics of the B Vitamin Family

There are eight B vitamins and six chemical substances which form the B complex of vitamins. Although each performs a different function in the body, they all work together to maintain good health.

When trying to lose weight you should be aware that a decrease in food consumption in order to lower daily calories, may also mean a low nutrient intake. You need to make sure you’re getting sufficient nutrients through a balanced diet. All the vitamins and minerals are important, but the B complex vitamins will help produce energy for exercise, and exercising is a must if you want to lose weight effectively.

The B vitamin complex consists of:

  • Thiamine (B1)
    It is important for healthy skin, eyes and hair. It also affects the way in which our nervous system functions and is considered to be an “anti-stress” vitamin.
  • Riboflavin (B2)
    It aids in metabolism of energy and the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
  • Niacin (B3)
    It is an essential nutrient for the body’s nervous and digestive systems.
  • Pantothenic acid (B5)
    Vitamin B5 is required to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. High quantities can be found in whole grains, legumes, eggs, meat, yogurt, avocado, and royal jelly.
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
    Pyridoxine B6 performs a variety of functions, including the formation of antibodies and red blood cells, the maintenance of healthy body tissue, skin and nerves, and hormone production.
  • Biotin (B7)
    It is vital for the production of fatty acids, cell growth, and the metabolism of amino acids and fats.
  • Folic acid (B9)
    Folic acid and folate are essential to nucleotide biosynthesis, remethylation of homocysteine and numerous other bodily functions.
  • Cobalamine (B12)
    It is an important ingredient in the formation of blood and in the maintenance of a healthy nervous system.

The chemical substances are:

  • Choline
  • Inositol
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid)
  • Pangamic acid (B15)
  • Laetrile (B17)
  • Orotic acid

A well-balanced diet should provide us with all the B vitamins we need, but as these vitamins are water-soluble our bodies do not retain them so we require daily supplies either from foods or supplements.

Many of the B complex vitamins are easily destroyed or lost through the cooking process. Try to use as little water as possible when cooking vegetables and reserve the liquid for use in soups, sauces and gravy!

One good source of all the B vitamins is brewer’s yeast. It contains virtually all the B vitamins, as well as many other nutrients. This supplement, which can be obtained from health shops, is great for boosting energy levels. Dieters can stir powdered brewer’s yeast into drinks about half hour before eating as it may help to take the edge off appetite.

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