Vitamin Series – The B Vitamins


Posted 1.19.10 | Sarah O'Brien

When you or your child has food allergies, looking at food labels and ingredients is essential. Have you ever looked at an ingredient list of one of your favorite foods and been unsure about some of those “big” words, like cyanobalamin or pyridoxine? What about the nutrient chart, when you see pantotenic acid or niacin listed, ever wondered what those really were? Surprisingly to some, these are all B vitamins. There are actually a total of 8 B vitamins in all which many refer to as the vitamin B complex. The vitamin B complex includes:

  • Thiamine (B1)

  • Riboflavin (B2)

  • Niacin (B3)

  • Pantothenic Acid (B5)

  • Pyridoxine (B6)

  • Biotin (B7)

  • Folic Acid (B9)

  • Cyanobalamin (B12)

As a whole, these 8 vitamins provide overall good health including, the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and eyes. Each B vitaminis also important individually.

  • Niacin (B3) is not only important for healthy skin, it also plays a role in the health of our nervous and digestive systems.
  • Pyridoxine (B6) is needed in the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout our bodies
  • Thiamine (B1) helps breakdown carbohydrates into simple sugars called glucose which gives us energy.
  • Some of the B vitamins like Folic Acid (B9) and Cyanobalamin (B12) also work together to make DNA which is important for all of our cells. Another interesting fact about Cyanobalamin (B12) is that it is stored in our livers, typically enough is stored to sustain a person for several years!

All of the B vitamins are water soluble and will disperse throughout the body. Most B vitamins should be replenished often since any excess is excreted in the urine. The B vitamins can be found in several different foods such as whole grain cereals, rice, meats, fish, fruitslike bananas, potatoes, milk and leafy green vegetables.

Now when you read those ingredient list and nutrient charts you can be armed with a little more knowledge and comfort knowing that these are vitamins and not any hidden allergens you or your little ones may not be able to tolerate. Do you ever wonder about any other “big” words on food labels? Let us know, we’d love to tell you about them!

- Sarah

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.