The Eight B vitamins and why you need them all

Foods containing B vitamins

There's not just one Vitamin B, there are no less than eight B vitamins that we need to get from our diet that are crucial to our health, hormones and general wellbeing.

B vitamins are vital for energy, mood, detoxification, hormone transport, brain function, and so much more!

Here's a guide to what they are, what health benefits they offer and where to get them in your food. And also what form to look for in your supplements.

You can watch the video below or listen to the podcast (episode 89).

What are the different B vitamins?

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine is needed to convert carbohydrates to energy. You will definitely need this one if you're low in energy.

Best food sources; vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, oats

Best supplement form; Thiamin Mononitrate or Thiamin Hydrochloride

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin helps to metabolise carbs and essential fatty acids into energy sources and has a vital role to play in liver detoxification and immune health. Can also be helpful for headaches/migraines, acne and muscle cramps.

Best food sources; green leafy veg, chicken, fish, soy, natural yoghurt, eggs

Best supplement form; Riboflavin or Riboflavin-5-phosphate

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Another one for energy production but also vital for your thyroid, blood sugar, mood, nerve function and cell membranes. Can also help to lower cholesterol (check with your Dr before taking it for that).

Best food sources; meat, fish, brown rice, peanuts, seeds, almonds, seaweed

Best supplement form; Nicotinamide (non flushing)

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid is vital for the production of adrenal hormones, especially important for those under a lot of stress. Also needed for the production of your sex hormones.

Best food sources; avocados, mushrooms, soy, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, kale, brown rice, eggs, poultry, sweet potatoes, natural yoghurt

Best supplement form; Calcium Pantothenate

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

B6 is your building block for protein and DNA. Great for mood as it stimulates serotonin, and essential role in detoxification of steroid hormones such as oestrogen (helps to reduce risk of oestrogen driven cancers). Key roles in brain health and immune function too!

Best food sources; spinach, walnuts, eggs, fish, poultry, beans, potatoes, bananas, chick peas

Best supplement form; Pyridoxine HCL or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

As well as metabolising your carbs, protein and fats into energy, biotin has also been shown to help with blood sugar balance and your skin, hair and nails.

Best food sources; vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, oats

Best supplement form; Biotin

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid or Folate)

Folate is critical for detoxification pathways, breaking down homocysteine which can cause inflammation. Also really vital for mood and protecting the foetus in pregnancy.

Best food sources; asparagus, dark leafy greens, bananas, beans, peas, peanuts, citrus fruits.

Best supplement form; 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or Calcium-L-Methylfolate

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is critical for energy production, nerve function and brain health. Deficiency can cause fatigue, dizzy spells, muscle weakness, low mood, confusion, loss of appetite.

Best food sources; animal products (dairy, fish, meat, eggs). Vegans or vegetarians should get tested to identify any deficiencies

Best supplement form; Methylcobalamin

Do you need to supplement your B vitamins?

You might want to consider supplementing with B vitamins if;

  • your diet is vegan or vegetarian
  • you don't eat many of the above foods
  • you're over 40
  • you're stressed
  • you drink alcohol
  • you have low energy, brain fog, anxiety, bad periods, mood issues, muscle weakness/cramps, dizziness or PMS
  • you have any kind of digestive issues
  • you have poor methylation (we can test for this)
  • you have a family history of B12 or other B vitamin deficiencies
  • you're pregnant

You can choose a good B complex formula but I prefer to take a good quality multivitamin with all the required B vitamins, and all the other vitamins and minerals you need.

Make sure you look for the active forms of the B vitamins listed above, as these will give you the best results.

Do contact us if you'd like any help with testing or 1-1 support.

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