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Vitamin B is a group of vitamins found in the body; in all, eight different vitamins are called "vitamin B". It is a water-soluble vitamin.[1]

Vitamin B1 - Thiamine[]

Vitamin B1 is often referred to as thiamine. Lack of thiamine may lead to the disease beri-beri. Also, patients with an excessive consumption of alcohol over an extended period of time, as well as patients suffering from Wernicke's disease or Leigh's disease, suffer from a lack of the vitamin, making supplementation with thiamine a regular element in treatment of these patients. Continued lack of thiamine may cause or aggravate damage to the brain.[2]


Vitamin B1 may be found in whole grain, but is often lost in refinement; thus, flour and other heavily processed products usually contain only little thiamine.[1]. Other sources include natural rice, wheat germ, nuts, potatoes, rolled oats, fruits and vegetables, fish and meat.[3]

Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin[]

Vitamin B2 is often referred to as riboflavin.[4]


Vitamin B2 may be found in milk, but is often lost when processed or spending an extended period of time in storage; thus, some milk products may be depleted of riboflavin.[1] Other sources include lamb's liver, wheat germ, nuts, rolled oats, fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, fish and meat.[3]

Vitamin B3 - Niacin[]

Vitamin B3 is often referred to as niacin.[4]


Vitamin B3 may be found in whole grain, but is often lost in refinement; thus, flour and other heavily processed products usually contain only little niacin.[1] Other sources include fish, peanuts, meagre meats, whole wheat, nuts, fruits and vegetables.[3]

Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic acid[]


Vitamin B5 may be found in wheat germ, bananas, fish, nuts, pig's liver, meat, avocados, fruits and vegetables, berries, eggs and milk.[3]

Vitamin B6 - Pyroxidine[]


Vitamin B6 may be found in beans, wheat sprouts, whole grain, bananas, raw fish and poultry, rolled oats, liver, avocado, fruits and vegetables.[3]

Vitamin B7 - Biotin[]

Vitamin B9 - Folic acid[]

Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin[]

Vitamin B12 is often referred to as either cobalamin, or simply as vitamin B12. The vitamin is essential as it plays a part in the production of new red blood cells, optimal functioning of the nervous system, metabolism of fat as well as the amino acids responsible for forming proteins, and helps fight dementia, as it helps maintain and build nerves.[5]


Vitamin B12 may be found in meat, dairy products, eggs and fish. It is usually not found in plant food, except for minute amounts in certain organically grown vegetables. Certain wheat germs, sea weeds, and algae also contain B12. Through the process of cooking or frying foods, around 10% of cobalamin may be degraded.[3][5]


In Denmark, a daily dose of 2.0 mikrograms is recommended for both men and women; while breast feeding, however, women are recommended a daily intake of 2.6 mikrograms. This low dosage is in great part due to the re-absorbtion and, thus, re-use of the vitamin, which is mainly secreted in the bile and then reabsorbed in the bowels. Also, coli bacteria in the bowel produce a quantity of vitamin B12, which the body can absorb and use.[5]


Insufficient intake of cobalamin may lead to deficiency, in which case one may experience symptoms such as reduced sense of taste and possibly, a red, irritated and "smooth" tongue. Other symptoms may include digestive problems, increased flatulence or changes in the defacation pattern (including diarrhea). The sense of touch may also be dimished, as well as the ability to feel vibrations (e.g. a tuning fork).[5]

Typically, patients will initially complain of fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness and/or heart palpitations. As the condition progresses, patients may experience difficulty walking and impaired sense of balance. Others may present with memory issues, depression or dementia. Long term deficiency may lead to anaemia.[5]

Vegetarians and vegans are especially at risk of low levels of B12, as the vitamin is found only in few non-animalistic sources. Also, a few medical conditions, including alcoholism, pernicious aneamia, tape worm, persisting inflammation of the pancreas, as well as old age and continued use of certain medicinal drugs, might deplete B12 in the body. The vitamin may also be degraded by water, sunlight, estrogen and sleep medication. Children of vegetarian mothers who haven't taken supplements are at risk of stunted growth, irritability, and mental retardation due to inadequate levels of cobalamine.[5]


As cobalamin is hard to absorb from the digestive tract, overdosing on the vitamin is quite difficult. Intravenous intake bypasses this barrier, and might cause an allergic reaction in case of an overdose.[5]

Therapeutic value[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Askew, G. & Paquette, J. (2007) (in english). Secrets of Supplements (1st ed.). PhyteMedia. p. 19-20, 137-138. ISBN 978-0-9784290-0-3. 
  2. Lars Ovesen (July 12th 2011). "Vitamin B1 (thiamin)" (in danish). Retrieved march 15th 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Flytlie, K.T. (2007) (in danish). Vitaminer og mineraler (1st ed.). People'sPress. p. 28. ISBN 978-87-91293-97-9. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Secrets of Supplements
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Martin Kreutzer (january 13th, 2009). "NetDoktor om B12-vitamin" (in danish). Retrieved June 8th, 2015.