The B Vitamins

Below is a general overview of the main B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin and cyanocobalamin. In general, B vitamins are coenzymes in metabolic pathways. They are all water soluble

Thiamin B1

Functions: Coenzyme in respiration

Sources: Wheat grain and rice husks

Requirements: RDA: 1.5mg

Related diseases: Beri beri: Muscle waste, circulatory failure and paralysis

Riboflavin B2

Functions: Forms coenzyme FAD required in respiration

Sources: Leafy vegetables, fish and eggs.

Requirements: RDA: Men: 1.5 mg Women: 1.1-1.3 mg

Related diseases: Sores on mouth, eyes and skin

Niacin B3, also known as Nicotinamide

Functions: Forms coenzyme NAD in animals, used in respiration. Forms coenzyme NADP in plants, which is used in photosynthesis.

Sources: Meat fish and dairy products

Requirements: 19mg

Related diseases: Pellagra: Diarrhoea, mental disorder and dermatitis

Pantothenic acid B5

Functions: Forms coenzyme A used in respiration

Sources: Most foods, but the best sources are egg white, liver and yeast.

Requirements: 10-20mg

Related diseases: Fatigue, poor motor coordination

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Functions: Forms coenzymes for transamination synthesis of amino acids.

Sources: Most foods

Requirements: RDA: 2.5mg

Related diseases: Kidney stones

Folic acid

Functions: Coenzyme in carbon transfer in nuclei acid metabolism

Sources: Green vegetables, legumes, wholewheat

Requirements: RDA: 400 micro grams, more for pregnant and lactating mothers.

Related diseases: gastrointestinal disorders


Functions: Coenzyme for fat synthesis and glycogen formation

Sources: Legumes, vegetables, meat.

Requirements: RDA: 300 micro grams

Related diseases: Dermatitis, muscle pains and depression

B12: Cyanocobalamin

Functions: Coenzyme in carbon transfer in nucleic acid metabolism

Sources: Meat, eggs, dairy products

Requirements: 3 micrograms

Related diseases: Pernicious anaemia