Some basics on Vitamin B

I thought it'd be nice to post a bit about some commonly discussed vitamins. Let's start with Vitamin B! First about water soluble vitamins - (this sited from my "understanding nutriton" book by Whitney)

  • Absorption: Directly into the blood
  • Transport: Travel freely
  • Storage: kidneys detect and remove excess in urine
  • toxicity: possible to reach toxic levels when consumed from supplements
  • Requirements: They are needed in frequent doses (some every 1 to 3 days)

There are many different B vitamins: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, B6, Folate, and B12.

B vitamins don't directly GIVE energy, despite how they're frequently marketed - they are part of what forms coenzymes which assist  enzymes. These together release energy from carbs, proteins and fats. An enzyme aids and catalyzes (speeds up) chemical reactions. The coenzyme is kind of a little piece that snaps into the enzyme. All enzymes are proteins and have different shapes to attach to different substances. Without the coenzyme the enzyme wouldn't be the right shape to attach to whatever it's supposed to attach to. If you think enzymes are interesting here's more about them. 

Thiamin (B1):

  • Sources: whole grain, fortified or enriched grains; pork
  • Functions: a coenzyme used in energy metabolism
  • Easily destroyed by heat

Riboflavin (B2):

  • Sources: milk products; whole grain, fortified or enriched grains; liver
  • Functions: Part of coenzymes used in energy metabolism
  • Easily destroyed by UV light and irradiation (which is why milk is stored in cardboard which is opaque)

Niacin (B3):

  • Sources: Milk; eggs; meat/poultry/fish; whole grains; nuts; all foods containing protein
  • Functions: coenzymes in energy metabolism


  • Sources: widespread in foods; liver, eggs yolks, soybeans, fish, whole grains. Also your GI bacteria produces a bit
  • Functions: coenzyme used in energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acids metabolism

Pantothenic Acid:

  • Sources: widespread: Chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, tomatoes, liver, egg yolk, broccoli, whole grains
  • Functions: part of coenzyme A which is used in energy metabolism
  • Easily destroyed by food processing


  • Sources: meats, fish, poultry; starchy veggies/legumes; noncitrus fruits; liver; soy
  • Functions: coenzymes used in amino acid and fatty acid metabolism; helps make red blood cells and serotonin
  • Easily destroyed by heat


  • Sources: Fortified grains, leafy green veggies, legumes, seeds, liver
  • Part of coenzymes used in DNA synthesis (apart of new cell formation)
  • Easily destroyed by heat and oxygen

Vitamin B12:

  • Sources: foods of animal origin, fortified cereals
  • part of coenzymes used in new cell synthesis; helps to maintain nerve cells; helps break down some fatty and amino acids