We have always been taught to eat healthy and to have a well-rounded diet rich with vitamins and nutrients. Nutritionists have always recommended complete and balanced meals – ones that have the right proportion of meat for protein, rice or grain for carbohydrate, and vegetable for fibre. These food items also supplement the body with various much-needed nutrients.
In some cases, however, our diets are not enough to provide us with vitamins and nutrients. This may result in vitamin deficiency which, if left unchecked or supplemented, may cause complications or even illnesses.
One vitamin block that we need to keep an eye out for is Vitamin B. It is a complex set of vitamins with eight elements namely Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. Vitamin B’s primary function is keeping the nerves healthy. To say that this set of vitamins is important is an understatement.
To ensure that we get our daily allowance of vitamin B, we need to have variety in the food we eat.
This can be a challenge to many millennials who are unable to prepare healthy food due to budget or time constraints. In most cases, store-bought, preservative-laden food end up on their plates which are generally unhealthy and pack little to no nutritional value.
Now that Vitamin b deficiency is on the table, let’s look at the effects of being deficient in each of the eight Vitamin b’s:
- Vitamin B1 or Thiamin plays an important in the normal function of the nervous system. It processes energy from the food we take. Not having enough of this vitamin in our system is rare as it is naturally present in most foods we eat. However, people who abuse alcohol may experience vitamin B1 deficiency and feel sluggishness or tiredness. Apart from its primary role, it also has neurological benefits.It is also worth noting that diseases such as Beri-beri and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome result from being vitamin B1 deficient. These two diseases are closely-related.
- Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin has similar functions to Vitamin B1 in terms of processing energy from the food we take. By working as an antioxidant, it aids in fighting free radicals in the body. Advanced aging and higher chances of developing heart diseases are among the effects of having low antioxidants in the body.
- Vitamin B3 or Niacin functions in aiding proper digestion and promoting healthy appetite. A lack of vitamin B3 may cause digestive issues such as abdominal cramps and nausea. It is important to maintain our Niacin levels because it is essential in keeping our cholesterol level balanced.
- Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid can be found in small traces in every food group. So we rarely suffer from Vitamin B5 deficiency. However, in some cases, lacking this vitamin in our body may affect how we break down fat and carbs in food for energy. As a study* has previously shown this also promotes healthy skin. Not having enough of this in our body may result in premature skin aging and having skin spots.
- Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is a key player in regulating our mood and sleep patterns. Being deficient in this vitamin may affect how our body produces serotonin, melatonin, and the stress hormone- norepinephrine. This also regulates the levels of the heart disease-associated protein, homocysteine, a common amino acid in the blood.
- Vitamin B7 or Biotin is being referred to as the ‘beauty vitamin’. Lacking this certain vitamin may affect healthy production of hair, skin, and nails. It is also plays a big role in pregnancy. Deficiency of this vitamin negatively affects fertility and growth of babies inside the mother’s womb.
- Vitamin B9 or Folate is known to help in neutralizing depression and preventing memory loss. Persistent deficiency of this vitamin may produce various complications – from mood problems to diarrhea or anemia. Vitamin B9 deficiency in pregnant women may affect the growth of the unborn baby.
- Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin produces cellular energy. It is a key player in DNA synthesis and proper functioning of the nervous system and red blood cell formation. Vitamin B12 deficiency may result to mental confusion in some adults. It can also cause anemia. In some severe cases, vitamin B12 deficiency may result to psychological conditions such as dementia and depression.Some immediate effects of vitamin B12 deficiency are nerve sensations, fatigue, weakness, irritability, and tingling in the feet and hands.
Vitamin B deficiency should not be a problem for as long as we get a complete diet of meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Moreover, it is important to consult your doctor first before taking medication because symptoms related to Vitamin b deficiency can be mistaken for the symptoms of other illnesses.
In the event that we require higher levels of vitamin b in our system, we can boost our diet with Vitamin B-Complex supplements from drugstores. These are usually packed with the recommended levels of vitamin B1, B6, and B12, that generally are good for nerve and overall health. Accomplish more in your daily life, supplement your diet with Vitamin B for an all-out lifestyle!