Overview Of B Vitamins

May 25, 2023

The body uses B-vitamins, which are water-soluble, to metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. In addition, they are important for DNA and RNA synthesis and repair. These vitamins support the health of the skin and the nervous system. They are also beneficial in promoting healthy muscle tone. Symptoms of a B vitamin deficiency include fatigue, weakness, confusion, weight loss, and constipation. Mouth sores may be present, and memory problems could occur as well.

Vegans and vegetarians often need to take B vitamin supplements, since these vitamins are often found in meat and dairy. Common options include a B-complex tablet, biotin pills, as well as a vitamin B12 supplement. There are also injections of B vitamins out there, such as vitamin B12 injections. In addition to correcting a deficiency, patients may take vitamin B supplements for other reasons, such as biotin for hair growth. However, patients must understand the different B vitamins first.


The body uses biotin, which is also referred to as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Research suggests that the vitamin may reduce insulin resistance. Avocados, egg yolks, nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast, sunflower seeds, almonds, sweet potatoes, and salmon all contain high levels of biotin. Biotin deficiencies are rare in individuals who follow a Western diet. Researchers estimate that the standard diet in the Western world includes thirty-five to seventy micrograms of biotin per day. According to current guidelines, thirty micrograms is considered to be an adequate daily intake for healthy adults. Individuals who are breastfeeding are advised to consume thirty-five micrograms daily.

Patients who use certain anti-seizure medicines are more likely to have a biotin deficiency, as are those who regularly drink significant quantities of alcohol. Individuals with low biotin could experience hair loss and skin lesions, and severe deficiencies may result in neurological issues. Patients who suspect that they may have a biotin deficiency should see their doctor for an evaluation. They can check the patient's biotin levels and recommend a safe dose for a supplement.


Folate, also called vitamin B9 or folic acid, plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells. It supports healthy adrenal function. This vitamin is important for maintaining the health of the brain and nervous system. Pregnant women need to ensure that they have adequate folate intake during the early stages of pregnancy to lower the risk of congenital disabilities. Beans, nuts, peas, and dark green vegetables are particularly rich in folate. Other ideal food sources include oranges, lemons, strawberries, and bananas. Folate is added to many breakfast cereals and fortified foods. Adults are advised to consume four hundred micrograms of folate each day. Pregnant women need to consume four to eight hundred micrograms per day.

Celiac disease patients are at an increased risk of folate deficiency, so they should speak with their doctor about appropriate supplementation. Research suggests that folate may help reduce the risk of depression and some types of cancer. Individuals who take folic acid supplements could experience nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, confusion, or irritability. The supplements may interact with certain medications. Thus, patients who are considering them should always ask their doctor first. They may need to adjust the doses of other medications.

Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid helps the body use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. This is also called vitamin B5. It is considered an essential nutrient, and it is found in most animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy. In addition, vitamin B5 can be easily obtained from plant sources, including cereals, grains, vegetables, and legumes. Patients may be prescribed supplements if they have low pantothenic acid.

This vitamin is used in cosmetics to improve skin, hair, and nail health. Topical application of vitamin B5 may reduce acne lesions, and it may decrease the risk of nail breakage. Healthy adults are advised to consume five micrograms of pantothenic acid each day. If at all possible, doctors recommend that this amount is obtained through food instead of supplements. This vitamin is not known to interact with any medications. However, patients who are taking supplements should let their doctor know about all of the medicines they use.


The body produces niacin, which is also called vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid. It is used to convert food into energy. Mushrooms, potatoes, peanuts, and passionfruit are ideal dietary sources of niacin. Healthy females who are nineteen and older are advised to consume fourteen milligrams of niacin each day. Healthy males in this age group are advised to have a daily intake of sixteen milligrams. Research shows that niacin can increase levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is the healthy type. Niacin supplements may be prescribed for patients with high cholesterol who cannot take statins. However, unlike statins, niacin supplements have not been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Pregnant women should not take these supplements. They are also not safe for individuals with stomach ulcers or severe liver disease.

Generally, niacin supplements are prescribed at doses between one to three thousand milligrams per day. Patients who take prescription niacin could experience side effects such as a rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Prescription niacin may make blood glucose control more difficult for diabetes patients. In addition, it may increase the risk of gout. These side effects are most likely with daily doses of two to six thousand milligrams. Niacin supplements can interact with certain medications and supplements, such as anticoagulants, diabetes medications, and zinc. Thus, patients should speak to their doctor about their current medications before taking niacin supplements.


Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of vitamin B12. It is prescribed as a liquid, oral tablet, or injection for individuals with low vitamin B12. Patients with cancer, malnutrition, or pernicious anemia are at an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies. Patients with cobalt allergies or Leber's disease should not have vitamin B12 injections. Patients should let their doctor know about any history of heart disease, gout, diabetes, bleeding disorders, iron deficiencies, or ulcerative colitis if they are considering this medication. This is to ensure it is safe for them to take.

Potential side effects of vitamin B12 supplements or injections include diarrhea, nausea, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, itching, and upset stomach. When cyanocobalamin is given by injection, patients could notice injection site pain, redness, or swelling. This medicine can cause a fever and a feeling of swelling that spreads over the entire body. Patients will be closely monitored during treatment. They should let their doctor know if they experience any side effects.

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