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B Group Vitamins

B Group Vitamins


The B group vitamins are a collection of 8 vitamins that are important for helping your body use energy from food, make red blood cells, and maintain healthy skin, vision and function of your brain and nervous system. As most of these vitamins cannot be stored in your body, it is important to include plenty of B vitamin containing foods in your diet.



Eating a variety of foods from each food group including grains, fruits and vegetables, meat or alternatives and dairy will help you meet your B vitamin needs. As these vitamins are water soluble they can be easily lost in cooking water. Riboflavin and folate can also be lost through exposure to UV light. Some of the key facts about B vitamins are as follows:


Thiamine (vitamin B1)
You may be at risk of deficiency if you drink excessive alcohol, vomit regularly or have a very poor diet. Symptoms may include confusion, irritability, fatigue and muscle weakness.


Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Riboflavin deficiency is rare but you may be at risk if you drink excessive alcohol or do not drink milk or milk products. Symptoms may include a swollen tongue, sore and cracked lips, inflamed eyelids and light sensitivity.


Niacin (vitamin B3)
A severe niacin deficiency is called pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra may include dementia, diarrhoea and dermatitis. Niacin deficiency is common in people who drink excessive alcohol or eat a diet based almost exclusively on corn.


Panthothenic acid (vitamin B5)
Deficiency of panthothenic acid is rare, however symptoms may include fatigue, sleeplessness, nausea, vomiting and cramping.


Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
Deficiency is rare, however symptoms may include dermatitis, anaemia, convulsions, depression and confusion.


Biotin (vitamin B7)
Deficiency is rare but may result from overconsumption of raw egg whites as they contain a protein that inhibits biotin absorption. Symptoms may include skin rash, hair loss and depression.


Folate (vitamin B9)
Folate is particularly important for supporting early foetal development. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should include plenty of folate rich foods in your diet such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds and lentils, meat, citrus fruits and fortified grains. Symptoms of deficiency can include depression, fatigue, weakness, irritability and palpitations.


Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
As vitamin B12 is only founds in animal sources such as meats, milk, cheese and eggs, you may be at risk of deficiency if you follow a vegan diet. Symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, depression and damage to the nervous system.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel

National Health and Medical Research Council

Stewart R., Griffith Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (2nd edition)



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