What Are the Health Benefits of B Complex Vitamins?

Vitamins and nutrients from a balanced diet are essential to your overall health and wellbeing. B complex vitamins are comprised of 8 B vitamins that help your body to make energy from the food you eat and form red blood cells. B complex vitamins consist of B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). All of these B vitamins play an essential role in your body’s performance and can be found in many fruits, nuts, vegetables, and meats.

Here’s a brief overview of the role each B vitamin plays and what foods you can find them in.

B1 – makes new cells

Food sources: peanuts, beans, spinach, kale

B2 – works as an antioxidant

Food sources: almonds, wild rice, milk, yogurt, eggs, Brussels sprouts, and spinach

B3 – boosts the good cholesterol

Food sources: yeast, red meat, milk, eggs, beans and green vegetables

B5 – breaks down fats and carbs

Food sources: avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat, and legumes

B6 – helps regulate levels of the amino acid associated with heart disease

Food sources: chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and carrots

B7 – known as the “beauty vitamin” for helping promote healthy skin, hair, and nails and can also help regulate blood glucose levels for diabetics

Food sources: barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks and nuts

B9 – can help with depression and memory loss as well as support the growth of a baby for pregnant women

Food sources: dark leafy greens, asparagus, beets, salmon, root vegetables, and beans

B12 – helps to produce red blood cells and helps iron create hemoglobin

Food sources: fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef, and pork

Since all of these vitamins are found in foods we eat every day, most people do not have a strong need to supplement B complex vitamins. However, if you are experiencing a deficiency of any of these vitamins, here are some common symptoms:

  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Skin disorders
  • Swelling of the mouth and throat, cracked or swollen lips
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness and tingling in fingers and toes

As mentioned above, a balanced diet should help ensure you are getting enough B complex vitamins but some people may be more prone to deficiency. If you are over 50, suffer from celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or other digestive disorders, you may have a deficiency in B complex vitamins. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider if you think you may be suffering from a deficiency that’s affecting your overall health.