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Vitamins & minerals health centre

B vitamins overview

There are many different types of vitamin B in our food and taken by some people as supplements. The different types of vitamin B do important work in the body.

B vitamins include:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a type of B vitamin that is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates in order to release energy for growth, and to help keep nerves and muscles healthy.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 ( riboflavin) is a B vitamin that helps the body release energy from metabolism of carbohydrates. It is essential for normal growth and cell repair including red blood cells and maintaining healthy skin, eyes and nervous system. Riboflavin changes tryptophan into niacin ( vitamin B3). It also helps protect cells from oxidative stress and helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinic acid, plays an important role in metabolism, helping the body release energy from dietary carbohydrate. Vitamin B3 also helps the body use protein and fats effectively. It’s essential for a healthy circulation and digestive system.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 ( pyridoxine) allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates and is essential for haemoglobin in the blood. It is involved in the regulation of mental function and mood as well as in the metabolism of homocysteine, high levels of which are a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Folic acid (folate)

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that’s key for cell growth and metabolism. Folate is the natural substance in whole foods. Folic acid is the synthetic version in supplements and fortified products.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays a role in making DNA. Vitamin B12 also helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 29, 2015

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