Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Variety Best for B Vitamins

By Alana Sugar, July 20, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
Greek Yogurt Ever wonder why cereal and flour are often "enriched"? I recall my 8th grade home-economics teacher reminding us to use "enriched" flour so we would get the B vitamins we needed. Good point! White flour, on its own, is missing the B vitamins naturally present in whole wheat. While I prefer using whole grain flour whenever possible, the B vitamins that go missing from the refined stuff are critical! In general, they promote health by playing a vital role in how food is converted to energy. They are important for our immune system, blood as well as our nerves, and may help cut our risk of stroke and heart disease. B vitamins are found in a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods. Here's a rundown on the variety of B vitamins along with food sources and recipe ideas using those foods.
  • Tuna KabobsB1 is Thiamine. It affects enzymes that influence our muscles, nerves and heart, so it is critical to the health of our nervous system. Sources include wheat germ, legumes, fish, whole grains and meat. Try these Tuna Kabobs along with whole wheat couscous.
  • B2 is Riboflavin. It helps us metabolize fats and carbohydrates, and performs many of the same functions as Thiamine. Sources include dairy products, eggs and meat, and, to a lesser extent, leafy greens and whole grains. Enjoy Greek Yogurt with Honey Thyme Walnut Crumble.
  • B3 is Niacin. It is important for the health of our skin as well as our nervous and digestive systems. It helps to modulate cholesterol and fat in the blood. For many people, taking large amounts of niacin can causes a "niacin flush" - a harmless, hot flushing feeling. Sources include peanuts, brewer's yeast, fish and meat. You'll also find some in whole grains. These Curry Turkey Burgers are great served on whole wheat buns.
  • B5 is Pantothenic Acid. It is important for growth and development, and is critical for generating energy from carbohydrates and fats. It is helpful in supporting the health of the adrenal glands. Sources include liver, yeast and salmon. Veggies, dairy, eggs, whole grains and meat all have a bit too.
  • B6 is called Pyridoxine. It helps us break down proteins, helps maintain healthy red blood cells, and promotes a healthy nervous and immune system. Almost every system in the body relies on B6 for healthy function. Sources include potatoes, bananas, lentils, liver, turkey and tuna. Try Red Lentils with Garlic and Onions.
  • Vitamin B12 is called Cobalamin. It helps in the production of DNA as well as healthy red blood cells and is critical for proper immune function. B12 also assists in keeping nerve cells healthy and protecting against pernicious anemia. Experts have determined that low levels of B12 are more likely in older people and can cause weakness, fatigue, memory loss and other nervous system problems. It is found in all animal-based foods such as dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry. It may also be added to packaged, fortified cereals. Vegans can be at risk for B12 deficiency and may wish to consider supplementation.
  • Biotin. This vitamin helps make hormones and supports the metabolismCherry Orange Bars of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Getting enough biotin can help your fingernails stay strong! Sources include egg yolks, organ meats, brewer's yeast, oatmeal, soy, mushrooms, bananas and peanuts. Make some Cherry Orange Oatmeal Outdoors Bars.
  • Folic Acid. This vitamin helps us make and maintain our DNA. It is necessary for the production of red blood cells and can help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Getting enough folic acid while young and during childbearing years is imperative for young women as this reduces the risk of having a baby born with a neural tube defect. Folic acid is found in beans, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, beets, wheat germ and meat. These days most cereals, breads and pastas are fortified with folic acid. Enjoy a Roasted Baby Beet and Spinach Salad.
Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, proteins and dairy products helps ensure that you get the B vitamins your body needs; however, there are times when supplements may be helpful:
  • When you don't eat a balanced diet
  • When you are under stress
  • When you are older and your body may need a supplement of B12 or other B vitamins
  • When recommended by your health care practitioner
Always remember to take B vitamins in a balanced complex form unless otherwise indicated. This is because they work synergistically, depending on one another for greatest benefit, and taking one exclusively can cause imbalance in others. Got some thoughts about B vitamins? I would love to hear your comments.
Category: Healthy Eating

 

24 Comments

Comments

Peri says ...
I'm experimenting now with cutting out meat and dairy (vegetarian/vegan). I've read about the B12 deficiency, and it's good to know it's been backed up here as well. Is it necesasry to take a B Complex vitamin on top of your daily multi vitamin?
07/22/2009 7:57:37 AM CDT
sugara says ...
Hi Pert, Whether or not you need to take an additional B-Complex would depend on the levels of B-Vitamins already in your multi. If you make sure to eat a balanced vegen diet with quality whole grains, legumes, a variety of fresh fruits and veggies such as from sources in this blog, you will be getting natural sources of B-Vitamins. However, because the only reliable source of B-12 is animal food, and because vegans are not as likely to eat many processed fortified foods, it is a good idea to supplement. If your multi has a balance of B vitamins, it may be that you only need to supplement with B-12, in which case, about 10 mcg daily is fine. I prefer the sublingual B-12 - it is placed under the tongue and absorbed through the mucosa in the mouth. Thanks for your comment!
07/22/2009 12:01:57 PM CDT
Uncle Ray says ...
Don't forget that it only takes a trace element of B 12 and B's in general to live a healthy life. Don't over do it, it takes a very small amount to get enough.
07/23/2009 3:13:11 PM CDT
Judy says ...
I have been experiencing a mild loss of memory in the last year and was petrified. I thought I was getting dementia at the age of 43. But I now discovered that it may be a B12 deficiency (my doctor has confirmed that). Thus, what foods are naturally rich in vitamin B12?
09/20/2009 12:15:29 AM CDT
J. Cady says ...
I am trying to find a source of high value B1. For some reason my lab values are very low. I have been told 1,000mcg are available, but no one seems to know WHERE.
07/12/2010 11:11:11 AM CDT
vaughnm says ...
@ J. We offer a Whole Foods Brand B1 100 mg (1,000 mcg equals 1 mg), but you'll need to check with your local store to see if they carry it. Thanks!
07/13/2010 11:27:02 AM CDT
Vitamin s says ...
With the right combination of eating healthy, and a daily multi vitamin, as well as supplements you can definitely stave off any possibility of vitamin deficiency. Although multi vitamins and supplements are good, one should never trade eating healthy foods that are plentiful in vitamins and minerals by taking multi vitamins.
07/21/2010 3:05:51 PM CDT
oxygen supplements says ...
B vitamins are found in whole unprocessed foods. Processed carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour tend to have lower B vitamin than their unprocessed counterparts. B vitamins are particularly concentrated in meat such as turkey and tuna, in liver and meat products. (wiki)
02/21/2011 5:15:37 PM CST
calyson says ...
People who are health conscious can enjoy B12 benefits by using them as a food supplement and can maintain their health for long time. These supplements can be taken from the foods, pills or in the form of injections. Vitamin B12 along with other family members of B vitamins can helps to ensure the vital life of the human body. It is very good for healthy and active nervous system and is the best for the growth of DNA cells. It helps to form new red blood cells in the body. Another benefit is to maintain and retain the energy level of the body. Reference: http://www.b12deficiency.org/vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptoms-and-signs/
02/26/2011 4:41:22 AM CST
carole ann says ...
I am on alimta and carboplatin chemo..I am to take 400 mg of folic acid daily but have found am extremely allergic...to the Rite Aid brand anyway..are there others more pure?
11/12/2011 9:31:22 AM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Carole Since you're susceptible to allergic reaction and have other health concerns outside of allergies, I recommend you speak with your health care provider and get their sign-off on any vitamins and a recommendation on what you might be able to take that would not give you an allergic reaction. Once you've spoken to your health care provider, I recommend that you reach out to the specialists in our Whole Body Department at your community's Whole Foods Market. These individuals have the training and experience to recommend the Vitamins that are purest and others meant for separate purposes. Cheers to your health!
11/15/2011 4:51:24 PM CST
Jeanine Anderson says ...
Hello Wholefoods vitamin experts, I m looking for a vitamin that will help with stress. I would appreciate any help... thank you
09/28/2012 10:59:40 PM CDT
diamonds says ...
Would you please recommend a good B12 vitamin and how much to take? I apparently am low in this vitamin, a senior and eat mostly vegetables, fruits and fish with a little chicken. Not sure that I might need to starft with a B12 shot, but will soon find out. I would like to start taking something meanwhile. Thank you for your assistance.
10/17/2012 5:26:06 PM CDT
Heather Cameron says ...
Do you have supplements of Vitamin B5 and Acetyl L-carnitine in your Stoke Newington Store?
11/10/2012 8:24:19 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@HEATHER - Our products vary between store locations and regions. I would encourage you to reach out to the Stoke Newington store directly at (020)72542332 as they will be happy to look in to this for you!
11/14/2012 2:49:16 PM CST
Sally says ...
Can you tell me if the folic acid in Whole Foods brand contains methlfolate?
03/20/2013 1:42:43 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SALLY - I was able to check with our Private Label team and the WFM folic acid does not have methlfolate.
03/22/2013 10:32:45 AM CDT
alicia says ...
what is a good brand for vitamins B with vitamin C 1000 mg
09/28/2013 9:26:53 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ALICIA - Our product selection will vary between stores. Check with your local store and a team member in Whole Body will be able to help you!
09/30/2013 12:24:29 PM CDT
LMH says ...
Does WholeFoods carry any B-complex supplements that contain methylcobalamin vs. rather than what I understand is the more common cyanocobalamin? I understand that the methyl allows for better bio-availability? Thanks!
01/18/2014 5:47:46 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LMH - Since our exact products differ, I would suggest reaching out to your local store directly to see what they have in stock.
01/20/2014 2:14:18 PM CST
Joyce Homenko says ...
I have found that the Super Nutrition formula known as Super Immune Multi Vitamin provides an abundance of vitamins. This particular Whole Foods product has supported me during times when food choices were limited. I would highly recommend it for your continued good health.
03/09/2014 11:59:02 PM CDT
Avriana Askew says ...
Hello does Whole Foods sell the Brewer`s Yeast? I have been searching all over for it, if not what other stores can I purchase it from?
05/28/2014 4:40:19 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@AVRIANA - Our exact products will differ between stores but most of our stores should carry this. Check with your local store to find out exactly what they have in stock!
05/29/2014 10:44:15 AM CDT