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General Nutrition and Diet Facts

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Vitamin B Benefits

 

All B vitamins occur together in foods. A food may contain more of one of the B vitamins and less of others but they work together as a team. B vitamins help to utilize the nutrients from the carbohydrates, fats and proteins. B Vitamins are water-soluble and leave the body quickly. B-12 is the exception. B-12 is stored in the liver, which, in the healthy individual, contains enough for 3 to 5 years. It helps work on the following activities:
Promotes normal growth and development .
Treats some types of nerve damage.
Treats pernicious anemia.
Helps mental and nervous conditions.
Improves resistance to infection and disease.
Increases appetite.
Promotes growth.
Improves memory.
Increases energy.

B1 - Thiamine

Definition :
One of the B vitamins, a group of water-soluble vitamins that participate in many of the chemical reactions in the body. Thiamine is important in the production of energy.

Food sources:
Thiamine (vitamin B1) is found in fortified breads, cereals, pasta, whole grains (especially wheat germ), lean meats (especially pork), fish, dried beans, peas, and soybeans. Dairy products and milk, fruits, and vegetables are not very high in thiamine, but when consumed in a large amounts they become a significant source.

Functions:
Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system.

Recommendations:
Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that the Food and Nutrition Board judged to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of almost all healthy persons. The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Side effects:
A deficiency of thiamine can cause weakness, fatigue, and nerve damage. A total absence of thiamine can cause the disease called beriberi, which is very rare in the United States. There is no known toxicity to thiamine.

B2 - Riboflavin

Definition:
A water-soluble vitamin required by the body for health, growth and reproduction; one of the B-complex vitamins.

Food sources:
Lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and milk provide riboflavin in the diet. Breads and cereals are often fortified with riboflavin. Because riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light, foods with riboflavin should not be stored in glass containers that are exposed to light.

Functions:
Riboflavin (B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and red cell production, and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Recommendations:
Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that the Food and Nutrition Board judges to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of almost all healthy people. The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Side effects:
Deficiency of riboflavin is not common in the U.S. because this vitamin is plentiful in the food supply. Deficiency symptoms include dry and cracked skin and eyes that are sensitive to bright light. There is no known toxicity to riboflavin. Because riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, excess amounts are excreted.

Niacin

Definition:
A water-soluble vitamin required by the body for health, growth and reproduction; part of the vitamin B complex.

Food sources:
Niacin (also known as vitamin B3) is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs. Legumes and enriched breads and cereals also supply some niacin.

Functions:
Niacin assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy.

Recommendations:
Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that the Food and Nutrition Board judges to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of most healthy persons. The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Side effects:
A deficiency of niacin causes pellagra. The symptoms include inflamed skin, digestive problems, and mental impairment. Large doses of niacin can cause liver damage, peptic ulcers, and skin rashes. It can be used as a treatment for elevated total cholesterol levels, but should only be used with medical supervision.

B-6 Pyridoxine

Definition:
A water-soluble vitamin; part of the vitamin B complex.

Food sources:
Vitamin B-6 is found in beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals.

Functions:
Vitamin B-6 plays a role in the synthesis of antibodies in the immune system. It helps maintain normal brain function and acts in the formation of red blood cells. It is also required for the chemical reactions of proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more the need for vitamin B6.

Recommendations:
The average diet supplies adequate quantities of vitamin B6.

Side effects:
Large doses of vitamin B6 can cause neurological disorders and numbness.

B-9 Folacin

Definition:
A water-soluble vitamin of the B-complex group.

Food sources:
Beans and legumes citrus fruits and juices wheat bran and other whole grains dark green leafy vegetables poultry, pork, shellfish liver

Functions:
Folacin acts as a coenzyme (with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C) in the breakdown (metabolism) of proteins and in the synthesis of new proteins. It is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA (which controls heredity), as well as tissue growth and cell function. It also increases the appetite and stimulates the formation of digestive acids. Synthetic folacin supplements may be used in the treatment of disorders associated with folacin deficiency and may also be part of the recommended treatment for certain menstrual problems and leg ulcers.

Recommendations :
Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that, on the basis of scientific knowledge, the Food and Nutrition Board judges to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy persons.
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.
Pregnant women often require additional supplementation as prescribed by the health care provider. Adequate folacin is important to women in their childbearing years because it has been shown to prevent some kinds of birth defects, including neural tube defects. Women in this age group should make an effort to consume foods that are good sources of this vitamin. Recent studies suggest that women who receive supplements of folacin before conception may reduce the risk for neural tube defects by 50%. Women who plan to become pregnant may want to discuss taking a multivitamin with their health care provider.

Side effects:
Folacin deficiency may cause poor growth, graying hair, inflammation of the tongue (glossitis), mouth ulcers, peptic ulcer, and diarrhea. It may also result in hemolytic and megaloblastic anemias.
Doses of folacin that greatly exceed the RDA may obscure a serious condition called pernicious anemia.

B-12

Definition :
A water-soluble vitamin; part of the vitamin B complex.

Food sources:
Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, and milk and milk products.

Functions:
Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.
Vitamin B-12 activates amino acids during protein formation. It is needed for metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and proper digestion. It also aids in the longevity of cells and formation of new ones.

Recommendations:
Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients.
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.
Since all of the vitamin B12 comes from animal products, people following a vegetarian diet and not consuming eggs and dairy products may require B12 supplements. There are some non-animal sources of B12 but because they are highly variable they are not reliable.

 


 
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