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  • Overview for Vitamin B
  • Post author
    Beacons Health

Overview for Vitamin B



There are many benefits to Vitamin B. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, nerve function, and cell metabolism. There are 8 different types of Vitamin B:


Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Plays an important role in the breakdown of nutrients for absorption.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Involved in energy production and helps with vision and skin health.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Helps to convert carbohydrates, fats and alcohol into energy. It also involved in cellular processes such as metabolism, signaling and DNA expression.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Helps in the metabolism of food and is also involved in hormone and cholesterol production.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Involved in breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It is also involved in the production of hemoglobin, and supports immune function and brain health.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Needed to make fatty acids, and involved in the breakdown of nutrients.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid):  Needed to produce red blood cells, and helps in the development of the fetal nervous system. It is also involved in the formation of red and white blood cells and proper cell division

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Involved in the neurological function, DNA production and red blood cell development.


Recommended daily intake

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of each Vitamin B varies. The below shows a summary for adult males and females:


RDI for adult females

RDI for adult males

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)


1.2 mg

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)


1.3 mg

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

14mg NE

16 mg NE

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)


5 mg

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin)


1.3 mg

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)


30 mcg

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

400mcg DFE

400 mcg DFE

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)


2.4 mcg

* NE: Niacin Equivalents (NE)

** DPE: Dietary folate equivalents (DFE).


Those who are at risk of having a deficiency in Vitamin B would benefit increasing their Vitamin B intake with a supplement. These include those with gastrointestinal conditions (such as Ulcerative colitis, Inflammatory bowel disease), malabsorption disorders (such as Celiac disease), and those on long-term medications (such as proton-pump inhibitors). In addition, there are some groups of people who are at risk on being deficient on specific Vitamin Bs, namely:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): People with alcohol dependence
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): Pregnant women (due to the higher requirements)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): People with strict vegan diets. As Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal sources (like meat, eggs, seafood and dairy), those who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet are at risk of being deficient in Vitamin B12.


Symptoms of deficiency

With a balanced diet, majority of people should be able to have sufficient Vitamin B. This includes meat, seafood, dairy products and vegetables. However, it is still possible for some to have low Vitamin B levels. Here are some signs that might suggest this:

  • skin rashes
  • cracks around the mouth
  • scaly skin on the lips
  • swollen tongue
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • anemia
  • confusion
  • irritability or depression
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • numbness or tingling sensation


If this deficiency is left for long periods, it might lead to some health complications. Some examples would be:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Beri-beri or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Ariboflavinosis
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Pellagra
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): Fetal tube defects in newborns for pregnant women and anemia
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Anemia


On the other hand, it is unlikely to have too much Vitamin B in an individual. This is because Vitamin B is water-soluble. This means that any excess that is not used by the body is passed out in your urine. Nevertheless, it is advised not to take above the recommended dose of supplements, unless directed by your doctor or healthcare professional.



  • Post author
    Beacons Health