For those that may not know, there is more than one vitamin B. In fact, there are several B vitamins that make up a vitamin super group known as the vitamin B complex. The special vitamins that make up this group are: • Vitamin B1 – thiamine • Vitamin B2 – riboflavin • Vitamin B3 – niacin or niacinamide • Vitamin B5 – pantothenic acid • Vitamin B6 – pyridoxine • Vitamin B7 – biotin • Vitamin B9 – folic acid
• Vitamin B12 – various cobalamins The B complex are important to the body because together they: • support and increase the rate of metabolism • maintain healthy skin, hair, and muscle tone, • enhance immune and nervous system function • Promote cell growth and division • Reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer Now that you know the importance of the B complex, it is just as important to know that people don’t often get the necessary daily amount, especially vegetarians. B vitamins are found in whole, unprocessed foods although most are found in meat products. Not to worry vegetarians, there are ways to avoid eating meat and still retain the necessary amount of vitamin B. This involves eating whole grains, potatoes, bananas, and lentils, to name a few. While alternative sources of vitamin B are available, it is a growing concern amongst vegans that they aren’t getting the proper amount of vitamin B12. This particular B vitamin isn’t found in plants but can be easily obtained through fortified breakfast cereals including Multi-Grain Cheerios©. Nowadays, a lot of people get their daily intake of B complex through dietary supplements. Be forewarned though, a lot of energy drinks do claim to have massive amounts of vitamin B and, as with anything, can be harmful if too much is ingested. The best way to make sure you get the proper amount of B complex is to plan out your diet. Start with a strong breakfast, being sure to add fruits and vegetables throughout the day, and ending with a hearty meal. Careful monitoring of your vitamin B intake can result in a much healthier life.