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B Vitamins- the energy vitamins

Posted by Eamonn Brady on


There are eight B vitamins. Most of the B vitamins help release energy from food. I will discuss other individual benefits in this article.


Vitamin B1 or thiamine helps to regulate mental functions and nerve growth and memory. Thiamine can be found in whole grains, beans, oranges, peas, peanut butter, pork, liver and fish. A deficiency of vitamin B1 is common among people who abuse alcohol. Heavy smokers or people who consume too many carbohydrates have a greater need for vitamin B1.

Vitamin B2 is also called riboflavin. It helps produce many of the body’s hormones and helps growth and development. It can be found in dairy products, green leafy vegetables, avocados, meat, beans and nuts. Shortage can cause cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, and skin lesions.

Vitamin B3 is also called niacin and helps produce hormones, remove toxins and lower cholesterol. Niacin can be found in dairy products, meat, chicken, fish, beans, peas, nuts and peanut butter.

Vitamin B5 is also called pantothenic acid. It helps break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates from food to give the body energy. It is found in liver, fish, chicken, beans and whole grains. Deficiency can cause fatigue, headaches, nausea, tingling in the hands, depression, personality changes and cardiac instability.

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. It can help prevent heart disease and reduce depression. We get Pyridoxine by eating fish, chicken, potatoes, bananas, peas, beans, and avocados. Signs of vitamin B6 deficiency include dermatitis, sore tongue, depression, confusion, and convulsions.

Vitamin B7 is also called biotin. It helps produce energy from foods. Biotin is found in liver, salmon, clams, eggs, milk, peanut butter and bananas. Deficiency symptoms include dermatitis, depression, hair loss, anemia, and nausea. Long-term use of anti epilepsy medications and antibiotics may lead to biotin deficiency.

Vitamin B9 is more commonly called folic acid and helps cells grow and divide properly, prevents birth defects and prevents heart disease. We get folic acid by eating dark green leafy veggies, avocados, beets, orange juice, beans and liver. Women planning to conceive should take folic acid 400mcg daily prior to conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin) breaks down proteins, carbohydrates and fats to give energy. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous systemcentral nervous system. It also helps prevent heart disease and combats depression. You can get cobalamin by eating eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken, fish and meat. People who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet and do not consume eggs or dairy products may require vitamin B12 supplements. Low levels of B12 can cause anemia, numbness or tingling in the arms and legs, weakness, and loss of balance. For people who are deficient in vitamin B12, their GP may prescribe monthly cobalamin 1000mcg injections.

Whelehans Tonic

Whelehans Tonic contains 100% of the recommended daily allowance of iron. We put a flavour in our tonic to mask the bitter taste that iron has and is generally very well tolerated. It has the additional benefit that it contains all the B vitamins, including vitamin B12. Whelehans Children’s Tonic also contains iron and B vitamins which can also be lacking in kids who are fussy eaters. 

Disclaimer: Supplements are not a substitute for a balance diet

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Find us on Facebook.

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