What Are Common B Vitamins?

B vitamins appear to be crucial in the body. These vitamins may assist in metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. They also seem to be involved in both DNA and RNA synthesis and repair. B vitamins appear to support an individual's nervous system as well as their skin. They may even promote healthy muscle tone. Unfortunately, it seems to be possible to experience a deficiency in B vitamins. A lack of B vitamins may trigger symptoms such as constipation, confusion, fatigue, weakness, and weight loss. Some individuals may experience memory issues and mouth sores as well.

B vitamin supplements appear to be a common part of vegan and vegetarian diets. Individuals may need a B-complex tablet, vitamin B12 supplement, or perhaps biotin pills. Some patients may require injections of B vitamins too, including vitamin B12 injections. Vitamin B supplements may help with other things as well, including biotin for hair growth. However, patients may want to understand the various B vitamins first.


The body appears to need biotin, also called vitamin B7 or H, to help it break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Research indicates that it may help reduce insulin resistance. Foods with high amounts of biotin seem to include sweet potatoes, nutritional years, egg yolks, and avocados. Others may be salmon, almonds, and sunflower seeds. These food sources appear to explain why biotin deficiencies are considered rare in those following a Western diet. Experts claim that the average Western diet seems to include thirty-five to seventy micrograms of biotin daily. Current guidelines appear to put thirty micrograms as a sufficient daily intake for adults. However, breastfeeding women may need thirty-five micrograms each day.

It appears that certain groups may be more at risk of a biotin deficiency than others. This seems to include patients on some seizure medications and those who drink high amounts of alcohol regularly. Symptoms of low biotin may include skin lesions and the loss of hair. However, a severe lack of biotin appears to trigger various neurological issues. Individuals who think they may not be getting enough biotin should talk to their doctor. They can order a blood test to check. If needed, they may recommend a safe dose for a biotin supplement.

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Folate, vitamin B9, may also be referred to as folic acid. This vitamin seems to be significant in the formation of red blood cells. It should support the healthy function of an individual's adrenal glands. Folate also appears to help maintain brain and nervous system health. This vitamin seems to be particularly important for pregnant women. In the early stages of pregnancy, it may help reduce the risk of congenital disabilities. The recommendations seem to be four hundred micrograms daily for adults, and between four to eight hundred micrograms for pregnant women. Good food sources of folate appear to include peas, oranges, beans, and nuts. Other examples seem to be bananas, lemons, strawberries, and dark green vegetables. Individuals may also be able to consume folate in fortified foods, such as cereal.

Individuals with celiac disease appear to be at an increased risk of a folate deficiency. Thus, they may want to talk to their doctor about folate supplements. Evidence indicates that folate may help reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and depression. However, folic acid supplements may trigger certain side effects. Examples appear to include appetite loss, sleep issues, and nausea. Others may be irritability and confusion. In addition, these supplements may cause interactions with some medications. As a result, individuals may wish to review their current medications with a doctor before taking these supplements. Adjusted medication doses may be needed.

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Pantothenic Acid 

Pantothenic acid is also commonly called vitamin B5. Like other B vitamins, it appears to help the body use fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It seems to be considered essential. Common sources appear to be animal products, including dairy, eggs, and meat. Plant sources may include legumes, cereal, grains, and some vegetables. Individuals with low vitamin B5 may need to take supplements.

This vitamin appears to be a common part of beauty products and supplements, as it may help improve nail, skin, and hair health. It seems that topical vitamin B5 may improve an individual's acne. It may also reduce nail breakage. The recommended dose for healthy adults appears to be five micrograms daily. In most cases, doctors seem to recommend getting pantothenic acid through food instead of supplements. This vitamin does not appear to interact with any medications. However, patients may still want to review their current medications and supplements with their doctor first.

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Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, seems to help the body convert food into energy. Good food sources appear to include peanuts, potatoes, passionfruit, and mushrooms. Fourteen daily milligrams of niacin seems to be the recommended amount for women aged nineteen and older. Men in this age group appear to need sixteen milligrams a day. This vitamin may increase an individual's high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is considered the healthy kind. Supplements of this vitamin may be prescribed for patients who cannot take statins for high cholesterol. However, they do not appear to reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Some individuals may not be able to take niacin supplements safely. These groups seem to include those with severe liver disease, stomach ulcers, and pregnant women.

It seems that the standard doses of niacin supplements are between one to three thousand milligrams daily. Side effects appear to include diarrhea, nausea, and a rapid heartbeat. Two others may be pain in the abdomen and dizziness. Some diabetes patients may find that these supplements make blood glucose control more difficult. The supplements may increase the risk of gout as well. These side effects appear to be common when the daily dose is between two to six thousand milligrams. Vitamin B3 supplements may cause interactions with some medications and supplements. Two examples seem to be zinc and diabetes medications. Thus, individuals may want to review their current medications with a doctor first.

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Cyanocobalamin appears to be a synthetic version of vitamin B12. Patients may receive it as an oral tablet, liquid, or injection if they have low vitamin B12. Those at a higher risk of this deficiency seem to include anemia and cancer patients. Malnutrition may also be a leading risk factor. Injections may not be safe for some patients, such as those with Leber's disease or cobalt allergies. Individuals who want to take this medication may want to review their medical history with a doctor first. Potential issues may include a history of heart disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, and gout.

Supplements and injections of this vitamin may trigger certain side effects. Examples may include itching, upset stomach, joint pain, and diarrhea. Others seem to be dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Injections of cyanocobalamin may include pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site. Some individuals may experience a fever or swelling over more of their body. Patients should be monitored on this B vitamin, and they may want to report any side effects promptly.

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Emily Fowler