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There are a total of eight vitamins in B complex and they are considered essential, because they affect the internal mechanisms of our body. B complex vitamins are water soluble and it means that they can’t be stored for a long time in our body. It is important to replenish on a daily basis:
- Vitamin B1: Vitamin B1 or thiamine was first discovered in Japan and it is essential to prevent beriberi. Thiamine is also essential to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy. Thiamine is also essential for normal body growth and it can help people with Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B1 is available in nuts, pinto beans, liver, beef, pork, spinach and green peas.
- Vitamin B2: Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is also essential to break down substances in our body. It is also needed to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Riboflavin can regulate reproductive development and growth, as well ensuring healthy hair, nails and skin. This vitamin is found in fish, cottage cheese, meat, eggs, yogurt, milk and asparagus.
- Vitamin B3: Vitamin B3 or niacin plays an important part in repairing DNA and metabolizing energy. Pellagra may result if we lack sufficient in our body. People who lack niacin may experience weight gain due to slower metabolic rate and it is important for dieters to consume sufficient levels of niacin. Vitamin B3 is available in leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, eggs, milk, fish, chicken and liver.
- Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5 or panthothenic acid also helps our body to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B5 is available in eggs and whole grains.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is actually consisted of three substances, pyridoxine, pyridoxamine and pyridoxal. They are used to metabolize amino acids and help our body to process glycogen into glucose. Vitamin B6 is available in salads, bananas, green beans, fish, chicken and liver.
- Vitamin B7: Vitamin B7 is also known as biotin or vitamin H. It can help our body metabolize leucine and synthesize fatty acids. It should be able to strengthen nails and hair, as well as maintaining ideal blood sugar level. Vitamin B7 should be available from chicken breast, egg yolk, salmon, oyster and liver.
- Vitamin B9: Vitamin B9 or folic acid can help cell growth maintain healthy cells. It is essential for pregnant and nursing women to consume more folic acid than usual. It is available in a variety of food sources, such as vegetables, fruits, peas and beans.
In general, dairy products and fresh meats are best ways to get B complex vitamins. They should be available in many kinds of foods. Folic acid is especially abundant in dark green leafy veggies and it is important to consider that overcooked foods have degraded levels of vitamin B. Instead of boiling vegetables, we should steam them and frozen veggies also have reduced nutrients. Vitamin B is essential and we should obtain it in sufficient amount, whenever possible from the freshest food ingredients available.