The Benefits of B Vitamins and Natural Sources of vitamin B

The benefits of B vitamins are great:

-- Ease Stress
-- Treat anxiety and depression
-- Aid memory
-- Relieve PMS
-- Reduce heart-disease risk

The 11 members of what's known as the vitamin B complex are critical nutrients for all things mind-related: mood, memory, even migraines can benefit from the B's. In the right amounts, the B's can quell anxiety, lift depression, ease PMS, and boost your energy. And getting them couldn't be easier.

The B vitamins are a chemically related family of nutrients that work as a team. Their mood-boosting and other health benefits (see chart below) result from intricate behind-the-scenes work in the body.

Some B vitamins help cells burn fats and glucose for energy. Others help make neurotransmitters like serotonin. And some B's assist with the production and repair of DNA.

Many of us don't get enough B's; according to the USDA, deficiencies in folic acid, B12, and B6 are especially common. Ensuring that your diet contains plenty of B-rich foods -- dark-green vegetables, protein from animal sources, and whole grains -- is critical.

But if your stress level is high or your mood feels off-kilter, or if your diet is low in B's, you'll benefit from the higher amounts found in supplements.

Breaking down the B's
The dosage ranges shown in the chart below are commonly used for prevention and treatment of specific conditions. Be sure to consult a physician if you're interested in taking B's for medicinal use.

Thiamine (B1)
Requirements increase with diets high in carbs and sugars
10-100 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
Higher doses shown to reduce migraine headaches
10-400 mg

Niacinamide (B3)
Helps increase energy; needed for DNA repair; niacin form can cause flushing
50-100 mg

Pyridoxine (B6)
Needed for neurotransmitters, such as serotonin; may relieve PMS
10-50 mg

Pantothenic acid
Speeds wound healing; high doses of panethine form can reduce cholesterol levels
10-100 mg

Folic acid (B9)
Lowers risk of heart disease, stroke, and birth defects; colon-cancer prevention
400-800 mcg

Cyanocobalamin (B12)
May improve memory and reverse mental fogginess
20-1,000 mcg

High dosages, combined with chromium, improve blood-sugar control
30-100 mcg

Needed for normal brain and memory function
50-200 mg

Helpful for depression and anxiety attacks
50-200 mg

Para-amino benzoic acid (PABA)
One of the few nutrients beneficial in scleroderma, a connective-tissue disease
30-100 mg

Natural Sources of B12

  • Beef Liver
  • yogurt
  • organic eggs
  • fish
  • clams
  • blackstrap molasses
  • milk products
  • sardines
  • oysters
  • lamb
  • tongue (if you have the stomach for it)
  • Nuts-rich in complete b complex
  • pecans
  • brazil
  • almond
  • walnut
  • filberts