Vitamin B

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B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that play a very crucial role in producing the energy required for the body to function properly. There are eight different B vitamins, and these help in the metabolism of the body as well as make molecules that are very important for cells.

These eight vitamins are collectively called the Vitamin B complex.

Despite sharing a common name, all eight B vitamins are chemically different from each other. Unprocessed carbohydrates and meat are some significant sources of vitamin b complex. 

In addition, each Vitamin acts as a cofactor or coenzyme in some vital metabolic processes. Some of them also work as precursors for other enzymes.

Rack Your Brains: What do you think is the chemical name of vitamin B? Or does each Vitamin B have its specific scientific name? Ask your teacher to find out.

Types of Vitamin B

As mentioned above, all B vitamins act as cofactors for enzymes and play a vital role in catalysing metabolic processes. These are essential to life and must be consumed through food.

Based on their chemical nature, B vitamins are categorised into eight types.

  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamine

Thiamine is necessary to make use of the energy derived from metabolising the food we eat. Also, it helps regulate the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B food sources such as red meat, lentils, broccoli, sunflower seeds, and grains contain Vitamin B1 or thiamine.

  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin

It helps produce cellular energy and is found in broccoli, salmon, spinach, milk and eggs.

  • Vitamin B3 or Niacin

Niacin aids in the production of cellular energy as well as maintaining cardiovascular health. Vitamin B3 can be consumed by eating meat, fish, poultry, peanuts and lentils.

  • Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid is widely found in plant and animal products such as egg yolk, soya beans, cashew nuts, peanuts, brown rice, broccoli and soy milk. It helps produce cellular energy.

  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 plays a huge role in the functioning of the red blood cells and the nervous system. It is essential to maintain the levels of glycogen and amino acids in the body. Some sources of Vitamin B6 are sesame seeds, chicken, avocados and beans.

Pop Quiz 1

1. Which of these are sources of Vitamin B?

  1. Broccoli

  2. Cashew nuts

  3. Soy milk

  4. All of the above

  • Vitamin B7 or Biotin

Biotin helps regulate the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It also helps in the growth of hair, nails and skin. It is found in oranges and soybeans.

  • Vitamin B9 or Folate

Folate plays a critical role in the proper development of the foetal nervous system. Foods such as cereals and bread are rich sources of Vitamin B9.

  • Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin

Cobalamin is essential for the production of RBCs and the proper functioning of the nervous system. Likewise, it also helps to produce cellular energy. Eggs, beef, milk and chicken contain cobalamin.

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Figure : Vitamin B Classification

Had fun learning the various types of vitamins? Do you think you can identify them now? Test yourself with the following quiz.

Pop Quiz 2

1. Which of these is a Vitamin B Scientific Name?

  1. Riboflavin

  2. Haemoglobin

  3. Hemocyanin

  4. Nicotine

Some Sources of Vitamin B

Besides Vitamin B12, our body does not store the rest of the vitamins for an extended period of time, so these have to be replenished regularly through a balanced diet. Here are some foods that are very high in B vitamins.

a. Green Vegetables

Not only do leafy greens contain high amounts of folate or B9, but they are also good sources of iron. So, eating these, especially raw, is necessary for human body. Notably, they are the highest sources of folate.

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Figure : Spinach

b. Salmon

Besides containing thiamine, salmon fish also contains high levels of riboflavin, niacin and cobalamin, among others. It is a low-mercury fish and is abundant in useful omega-three fatty acids.

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Figure : Baked Salmon

c. Eggs

A single egg contains almost 33% of biotin, which is a staggeringly large amount. Likewise, eggs are also very rich sources of riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folate, second only to liver or organ meat.

Learning all about vitamins and their various types is fun. To know more about these life-giving nutrients, tune into the Vedantu app and watch live demo classes for free! You should also go through our course materials to ace you Biology exams.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Vitamin B Complex?

Ans. Vitamin B complex is the collective name of eight vitamins.

2. What are the Sources of Vitamin B?

Ans. Some rich sources of Vitamin B are salmon fish, eggs, milk, leafy vegetables and meat.

3. Who Discovered Vitamin B?

Ans.  Many scientists are credited with the discovery of the B vitamins, but the most famous of them all was Paul Gyorgy who discovered pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 in the year 1934. Others include Margaret Averil Boas and Dean Burk.

4. Which Food is Rich in Vitamin B?

Ans. Vitamin B is found in several food items such as salmon, liver or organ meat, spinach and lentils.