Vitamin B.complex is a group of water soluble vitamins, which play a very important role in cellular metabolism in the body. These are important to maintain growth and metabolism of cells in the body.
The normal tone of muscles in the body is dependent on vitamin B. complex which is important for proper functioning of the limbs, eyes and various parts of the body. Texture of the skin is also influenced by vitamin B. complex. This group of vitamins is also important for the functioning of the nerves and enhancing immunity.
Fats, carbohydrates and proteins supply energy to the body and vitamin B.complex helps the body to utilise this fuel.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is important for metabolism of cells in the body and helps in functioning of nervous system. Deficiency of thiamine leads to Beri beri, which is characterized by weakness of muscles and nerves, abnormal sensations in limbs and pain in calf. Swelling over feet and heart failure can occur in severe cases.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) helps in release of energy from various nutrient substances in the body to be used by body. Deficiency of riboflavin leads to cracks around lips, redness and inflammation of tongue, increased sensitivity to light, redness of pharynx, e.t.c.
Vitamin B3 or Niacin serves as a co-enzyme (substance helping main enzymes) in various metabolic activities of the body.. The name niacin describes 2 substances, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Both help in metabolism of cells. Deficiency of niacin causes diarrhea, skin problems and even dementia in severe cases.
‘Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), is yet another vitamin of B.complex. It is involved in the manufacture of about 100 substances in the body including lipids, steroid hormones and hemoglobin. Though its dietary requirement is few, it is destroyed by heat. hence overcooked and overheated foods become deficient in pantothenic acid, which leads to acne, indigestion, red and inflamed tongue , fatigue and asthenia.
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is involved in amino acid synthesis in the body, which helps in synthesis of proteins. It also influences cognitive development, immune function and activity of steroid hormones in the body. Pyridoxine deficiency leads to anemia, burning sensation in feet, depression, unexplained headache and tiredness. Alcohol tends to deplete pyridoxine in the body hence leads to deficiency states.
Vitamin B7 or Biotin plays an important role in energy metabolism in the body. It is widely present in various food substances hence isolated deficiency is rare in adults unless one is malnourished. But it is known to occur in children. Deficiency leads to depression, neuromuscular weakness and fatigue.
Folic acid (vitamin B9), is yet an important component of vitamin B. complex, which has a vital role in making new cells in the body. Research shows that it can retard aging. Due to folic acid deficiency, one can get anemia, heart burn, constipation or diarrhea. In pregnancy, it can cause birth defects, hence folic acid supplements are recommended during pregnancy. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is closely related to folic acid and both are dependent on one another for their action. Deficiency leads to, “bald, red”, tongue, anemia, abnormal sensations in feet and hands. One can have paralysis of limbs in extreme cases.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and cabbage provide vitamin B.complex in abundant amounts. Fruits like banana, strawberries, raisin, water melon, e.t.c. are rich sources of vitamin B. complex. One also obtains vitamin B. complex from mushrooms, milk products like cheese, curds, whole grains, nuts and cereals. Among meat products, liver, pork, ham and halbut fish, among others, provide vitamin B. complex. Vitamin B12 is one component which is available more in meat products.
To avoid digestive troubles, dermatitis, depression and neuromuscular weakness, one should make sure that the diet contains abundant amount of vitamin B. complex. Substances like alcohol and tobacco should be avoided as they tend to damage nerves by depleting vitamin B. complex.