B Vitamins and Their Main Functions
B vitamins are vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. As they are water-soluble vitamins, they need to be replenished regularly because the excess are excreted in urine. Food sources of B vitamins are beef liver, red meat, fish, poultry, fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables.
B complex is referred to as the energy vitamins and stress fighters as they are involved in cellular energy metabolism, Krebs cycle and pentose pathway. The B vitamins act as cofactors in converting carbohydrates into glucose which the body burns to produce energy. Lack of B vitamins leads to weakness and fatigue.
The B vitamins help maintain healthy nerve cells and proper neurological functioning. Insufficient B vitamin intake can lead to neurological symptoms such as numbness and tingling of arms and legs, difficulty walking, confusion, memory loss, depression and dementia. Vitamin B9 or folic acid is necessary for proper cell division of nerve cells and lack of folic acid may lead to abnormal development of neural tube.
Red blood cell production
Folic acid works closely with vitamin B12 or cobalamin to help bone marrow produce healthy red blood cells. Lack of enough folic acid leads to folic acid deficiency anemia and deficiency in B12 causes pernicious anemia.