Monday, January 11, 2010

B Complex Vitamins and Their Importance in Health and Disease

There are a large variety of vitamins in the B group, the more important being B1 or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin or nicotinic acid, B6 or pyridoxine, B9 or folic acid, B12 and B5, or pantothenic acid. B vitamins are synergistic. They are more potent together than when used seperately.


Known as anti-beberi, anti-neuritic and anti-ageing vitamin, thiamine plays an important role in the normal functioning of the nervous system, the regulation of carbohydrates and good digestion. It protects heart muscle, stimulates brain action and helps prevent constipation. It has a mild diuretic effect. Valuable sources of this vitamin are wheat germ, yeast, the outer layer of whole grains, cereals, pulses,nuts, peas, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, milk, egg, banana, and apple. The deficiency of thiamine can cause serious impairment of the digestive system and chronic constipation, loss of weight, diabetes, mental depression, nervous exhaustion, and weakness of the heart.

The recommended daily allowance for this vitamin is about two milligrams for adults and 1.2 mg. for children. The need for this vitamin increases during illness, stress and surgery as well as during pregnancy and lactation. When taken in a large quantity, say upto 50 mg., it is beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders, neuritis and other nervous troubles as well as mental depression. For best results, all other vitamins of B group should be administered simultaneously. Prolonged ingestion of large doses of any one of the isolated B complex vitamins may result in high urinary losses of other B-vitamins and lead to deficiencies of these vitamins.


Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, also known as vitamin G, is essential for growth and general health as
also for healthy eyes, skin, nails and hair. It helps eliminate sore mouth, lips and tongue. It also functions with other substances to metabolis carbohydrates, fats, and protein. The main sources of this vitamin are green leafy vegetables, milk, cheese, wheat germ, egg, almonds, sunflower, seeds, citrus fruits and tomatoes. Its deficiency can cause a burning sensation in the legs, lips and tongue, oily skin, premature wrinkles on face and arm and eczema.

The recommended daily allowance for this vitamin is 1.6 to 2.6 mg. for adults and 0.6 to one mg
for children. Its use in larger quantities, say from 25 to 50 mg. is beneficial in the treatment of nutritional cataracts and other eye ailments, digestive disturbances, nervous depression, general debility, and certain types of high blood pressure.


Vitamin B3 or niacin or nicotinic acid is essential for proper circulation, healthy functioning of the
nervous system and proper protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It is essential for synthesis of sex hormones, cartisone, thyroxin and insulin. It is contained in liver, fish, poultry, peanut, whole wheat,green leafy vegetables, dates, figs, prunes and tomato. A deficiency can lead to skin eruptions, frequent stools, mental depression, insomnia, chronic headaches, digestives disorders and anaemia.

The recommended daily allowance is 12 to 20 mg. for adults and 4.8 to 12 mg. for children. Large doses of this vitamin say upto 100 mg. with each meal, preferably together with other B group vitamins, affords relief in case of migraine and high blood pressure caused by nervousness, high cholesterol, and arteriosclerosis.

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