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B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins with some general similarities.  They play an essential role in the synthesis of red blood cells and cell metabolism, but are each unique with special functions in the body. Most of these vitamins cannot be stored by the body and should be taken in the diet regularly. They are eight B vitamins:

  • B-1 ( thiamine )
  • B-2 ( riboflavin )
  • B-3 ( niacin )
  • B-5 ( pantothenic acid )
  • B-6 ( pyridoxine )
  • B-7 ( biotin )
  • B-9 ( folic acid )
  • B-12 ( cobalamin )

Together they are called vitamin B complexes, and are all co-factors for enzymatic reactions—provide essential catalytic functions to complete the metabolic process. Like vitamins, they are also essential for life and must be eaten in food sources because they cannot be produced in the human body.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)


Vitamin B1 (thiamine) functions as a co-enzyme to synthesize amino acids and sugar; it helps the body metabolize fats and produce energy. They are found in lean meats, nuts, and seeds, whole grains. The daily recommended intake of Vitamin B1 for adults is 1.5 milligrams (mg).

A person with a thiamin deficiency may experience the following symptoms:

  • Little or no appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Memory problems or confusion
  • Loss of muscle mass,
  • Poor reflexes
  • ,Heart problems
Side effects of too much vitamin B1 include:
  • Rapid swelling of the skin.
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Skin discoloration.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is an antioxidant.  Vitamin B2  (riboflavin) protects the body’s cells from free radicals. It helps the body break down fats. It is used in energy production.  Vitamin B2  is needed for growth and development.They are found in organ meats, fortified breakfast cereals, mushrooms,  oatmeal , yogurt and milk,  almonds , organ meats, fortified grain products,  eggs , seafood, quinoa.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is 1.5 mg per day for an adult.

Older women, women with eating disorders, pregnant and breastfeeding women, or a person who has an endocrine disorder, such as thyroid problems, are at a greater risk of developing a vitamin B2 deficiency.

A person who is deficient in vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may experience:

  • Hair loss
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Skin disorders
  • Swollen, cracked lips
  • Swelling of the mouth and throat
  • Sores at the corners of the mouth

Having a severe vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency can lead to cataracts and anemia. In addition, during pregnancy, riboflavin deficiency can create a higher risk of certain birth defects.

Side effects of too much vitamin B2

The main risk of high vitamin B-2 is liver damage. However, high riboflavin or riboflavin toxicity is rare. To eat naturally high amounts of riboflavin, you will have to eat almost impossible amounts of food.

vitamin B-3(Niacin)

vitamin B-3 (Niacin) is essential to energy production, nervous system function, and enzymatic reactions. A body converts niacin into a coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). They help in metabolic processes in the body’s cells, communication among cells, expression of DNA in cells, and changing the energy in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into a form the body can use.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B3 (Niacin) is 20 mg per day for an adult.

They are found in nuts, legumes, grains, meat, poultry, fish, turkey, seafood, beef, rice, fortified grain products, peanuts, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. A person who is deficient in vitamin B3 (Niacin) may experience pellagra, which may cause:  depression ,  fatigue ,  headache , vomiting,  diarrhea , or  constipation , a bright red tongue, and brown discoloration on skin exposed to sunlight.

If left untreated, pellagra can lead to severe memory problems, behavioral changes, and suicidal behavior. It can also cause extreme loss of appetite or death

Side effects of too much vitamin B3

When more than 3 grams of niacin is taken in a day, more severe side effects can occur. These include liver problems, gout, digestive ulcers, vision loss, high blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, and other serious problems.

vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic acid)

Vitamin B5 is a precursor of co-enzyme A. It helps in producing hormones and neurotransmitters and in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Pantothenic acid is found in meat, vegetables, grains, eggs, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, chicken, avocados, seafood, potatoes, yogurt, beef, broccoli, chickpeas, fortified grain products.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) is 5 mg per day for an adult.

A person who is deficient in vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) may experience:

  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • A lack of appetite
  • Restlessness and poor sleep
  • Numbness and burning of the hands and feet
Side effects of too much vitamin B5

Very high doses of vitamin B5 may cause diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, dehydration, edema, joint pain, calcification in blood vessels, or depression.

Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, is vital for macronutrient metabolism, immune function, and neurotransmitter production. The body needs vitamin B-6 for immune function, brain development, amino acid metabolism, and to help break down carbohydrates and fats. Vitamin B-6 is found in pork, beef, pistachios, bananas, and potatoes, chickpeas, organ meats, seafood, chicken, potatoes, turkey, bananas, beef, marinara sauce, cottage cheese

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg per day for an adult.

A person deficient in vitamin B6 may experience confusion, depression, anemia, swollen tongue, cracks at corners of the mouth, scaling on the lips, and a weakened immune system.

Side effects of too much vitamin B6

Symptoms of too much vitamin B-6 include extreme sensitivity to sunlight, painful skin rashes, nausea, and irritation.

Vitamin B-7 (Biotin)

Vitamin B7 (biotin) is a cofactor for many enzymatic reactions vital to metabolism, and a regulator of gene expression. The body needs biotin for the regulation of DNA, breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Vitamin B7 is found in organ meats, eggs, seafood, pork, beef, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, almonds, spinach.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B7 is 30 mcg per day for an adult.

A person who is deficient in vitamin B7 (Biotin) may experience: thinning of the hair, brittle nails, depression, fatigue, and a scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Side effects of too much vitamin B7 (Biotin)

If you ingest too many biotin supplements, it can cause problems. Side effects may include indigestion, skin rash, difficulty releasing insulin, and kidney problems.

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid, and the natural form of vitamin B-9 is called folate.   Folate  is essential for the metabolism of vitamins and amino acids, proper cell division, and DNA synthesis, RNA, red blood cells, proteins, and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B9 (Folate) is found in organ meats, egg, nuts, spinach, beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, avocados, mustard greens, wheat germ, orange juices

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B9 is 1000 mcg per day for an adult, 400 mcg per day for people over 14, 600 mcg for pregnant women, and 500 mcg for lactating women.  A person who is deficient in vitamin B9 (Folate) may experience: headache, weakness, irritability, skin, hair, or nail changes, skin, hair, or nail changes, heart palpitations

Side effects of too much vitamin B9 (Folate)

Symptoms of ingesting too much vitamin B-9 (Folate) include diarrhea, nausea, gas, abdominal cramps, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, stomach upset, behavior changes, skin reactions, seizures, excitability, and other side effects.

Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin B-12 is sometimes called a “cobalamin” because it contains a mineral called cobalt. Vitamin B-12 is essential for DNA synthesis, fat and protein metabolism, creating new red blood cells, brain and neurological function, metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Vitamin B-12 is found in clams, beef liver, salmon, beef, milk, yogurt, dairy products, eggs, chicken

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B-12 is 2.4 mcg per day for an adult.

 A person who is deficient in vitamin B9 (Folate) may experience fatigue, constipation, depression, memory problems, weight loss, loss of appetite, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet.

Side effects of too much vitamin B-12

Symptoms of ingesting/ supplementing too much vitamin B-12 include acne and rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and pus-filled bumps on the face.

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