Vitamin B

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Scientists thought that what they originally called 'water-soluble (SAHL-you-bull) B' was one vitamin. They later learned it actually consists of eight separate substances: vitamin B-1, or thiamine (THIGH-uh-mun); Vitamin B-2, or riboflavin (rib-uh-FLAY-vun); Vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine (pir-uh-DOC-seen); Vitamin B-12; Vitamin B-3, or pantothenic (pan-tuh-THEN-ic) acid; Vitamin B-7, or biotin (BYE-uh-tun); and folate (FOE-late), which is also called folacin (FOE-luh-sun) and folic (FOE-lick) acid. In general, the B-complex vitamins, as they're known, are important for metabolizing (muh-TAB-uh-lye-zing) foods and breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids to provide energy and heat for the body. They're also required to produce D-N-A, the essential building block of life, so without them, animal species couldn't reproduce, and life would be impossible. There are many health problems that can result from a deficiency in B vitamins. Some of the best food sources of B-complex vitamins include brewer's yeast, dried chick-peas, egg whites, soy products, green vegetables, brown rice and other whole grains. Cooking sometimes destroys Vitamin B in foods. Stress also causes Vitamin B depletion in the body. For more information about Vitamin B's benefits and what can result from not having enough, contact a healthcare professional.
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