Vitamin B was once thought to be one vitamin, and is now known to be many different vitamins or substances which are all a little different in their composition and function. You may have heard of them under their different names such as Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), Folic Acid (B9), Cobalamin (B12). There are several other important B vitamins as well, but these are the ones that most people have heard of.
Two important things to understand about the B vitamins are:
1. Processed foods end up having the B vitamin content reduced – sometimes to a very great extent – this is why white flour, cereals and other processed foods are “fortified” with the B vitamins – putting back nutrition that was there in the unprocessed form.
2. Some of the B vitamins do not have good plant sources – this means that if you have a largely vegetarian or vegan diet, you will need supplementation of some of the B vitamins.
You can take the individual B vitamins, but I recommend that you find a good Vitamin B Complex and use that to cover the spectrum of different B vitamins. There are many good formulas available that contain a balanced mixture of the various B vitamins so that you cover all of your nutritional needs.
Everyone needs the B vitamins as a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and you will probably best cover all basis with a good B complex formula – whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or whatever approach you take to your diet.
Questions or comments about this post? I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below.