Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Function:

  • Help protect cells from oxygen damage.
  • Support cellular energy production.
  • Maintain your supply of other B vitamins.
  • Necessary for carbohydrate, fat & protein metabolism.
  • Aids in the formation of antibodies and red blood cells.
  • Maintains cell respiration.
  • Necessary for the maintenance of good vision, skin, nails & hair.
  • Alleviates eye fatigue; promotes general health.

Sources:

  • Almonds, asparagus, barley grass, brewer’s yeast, calf’s liver, cheese, chicken, eggs, green leafy vegetables, liver, meat, milk products, mushrooms, organ meats, peppermint leaves, Senna leaves, spinach, spirulina, Wheat germ.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is an orange-yellow crystal. B2 is stable to heat, acid, and oxidation. It is, however, sensitive to light, especially ultraviolet light, as in sunlight. So foods containing even moderate amounts of riboflavin (for example, milk) need to be protected from sunlight. Only a little of the B2 in foods is lost in the cooking water.

Riboflavin acts as an intermediary in the transfer of electrons in numerous essential oxidation-reduction reactions and participates in many metabolic reactions of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Riboflavin is necessary for cell respiration. It works with enzymes in the utilization of cell oxygen. Riboflavin is easily absorbed through the walls of the small intestine where it is carried by the blood to the tissues of the body, used, and then excess is excreted in the urine. Riboflavin coenzymes are essential for the conversion of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and folic acid into their coenzyme forms and for the transformation of tryptophan into niacin. Riboflavin is not stored in great quantity, thus must be supplied regularly. Riboflavin is necessary for the maintenance of good vision, skin, nails, and hair. It helps to prevent cancer and helps release energy from food. Riboflavin also helps maintain healthy respiratory, the nervous system, digestive and circulatory mucous membrane linings. Riboflavin promotes normal growth and development.

Excess B2 is eliminated in the urine, which can give it a yellow-green fluorescent glow, commonly seen after taking B complex supplements. Riboflavin is not stored in the body, except for a small quantity in the liver and kidneys, so it is needed regularly in the diet.

It is required by the body to use oxygen and the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Riboflavin is further needed to activate vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), helps to create niacin and assists the adrenal gland. It may be used for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth. It eases watery eye fatigue and may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. Vitamin B2 is required for the health of the mucus membranes in the digestive tract and helps with the absorption of iron and vitamin B6. Although it is needed for periods of rapid growth, it is also needed when protein intake is high, and is most beneficial to the skin, hair and nails.

A shortage of this vitamin may manifest itself as cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, and skin lesions. Dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slow mental responses have also been reported. Burning feet can also be indicative of a shortage.

The limited capacity to absorb orally administered riboflavin precludes its potential for harm. Riboflavin intake of many times the RDA is without demonstrable toxicity. A normal yellow discoloration of the urine is seen with an increased intake of this vitamin but it is normal and harmless.

Extra might be needed when consuming alcohol, antibiotics, and birth control pills or doing strenuous exercise. If you are under a lot of stress or on a calorie-restricted diet, this vitamin could also be of use.

Organ meats, nuts, cheese, eggs, milk and lean meat are great sources of riboflavin, but is also available in good quantities in green leafy vegetables, fish, legumes, whole grains, and yogurt.

Source: orthomolecular.org

B1 (Thiamin)

Function:

  • Maintain your energy supplies.
  • Essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system, muscles and heart.
  • Support proper heart function.
  • Aids in the digestion of carbohydrates.
  • Stabilizes appetite.
  • Promotes growth & good muscle tone.

Sources:

  • Food sources include asparagus, beef kidney, beef liver, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, brussel sprouts, dried legumes, eggplant, garbanzo beans, gotu kola, green peas, kidney beans, lamb, milk, mushrooms, navy beans, nuts, pork, poultry, rice bran, rye, salmon, soybeans, spinach, spirulina, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, tuna, wheat germ, whole grain cereals, yeast.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine or thiamin) supports the nervous system and mental attitude. Its odor and flavor are similar to yeast. Thiamine can be destroyed by the cooking process, especially by boiling or moist heat, but less by dry heat, such as baking.

Thiamine is essential for carbohydrate metabolism through its coenzyme functions. Coenzymes are “helper molecules” which activate enzymes, the proteins that control the thousands of biochemical processes occurring in the body. The thiamine-coenzyme, thiamine pyrophosphate or TPP, is the key for several reactions in the breakdown of glucose to energy. TPP acts as coenzyme in oxidative decarboxylation and transketolase reactions. Thiamine also plays a role in the conduction of nerve impulses and in aerobic metabolism. Older people absorb thiamine less efficiently.

Thiamine is lost in cooking and is depleted by use of sugar, coffee, tannin from black teas, nicotine, and alcohol, so it is necessary to insure that intake of thiamine is an optimal level.

Like other B vitamins, thiamine is needed in regularly. Excess thiamine is eliminated in the urine and sweat.

Thiamin is also a miraculous nutrient. Somebody suffering from beriberi, scarcely able to lift his/her head from the pillow, will respond quickly from injected thiamin. The person will be on his/her feet within a matter of hours.

Thiamin may enhance circulation, helps with blood formation and the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also required for the health of the nervous system and is used in the biosynthesis of a number of cell constituents, including the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is used in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid, and therefore plays a part in digestion.

It is also great for the brain and may help with depression and assist with memory and learning. In children it is required for growth and has shown some indication to assist in arthritis, cataracts, as well as infertility.

A deficiency will result in beriberi, and minor deficiencies may be indicated with extreme fatigue, irritability, constipation, edema and an enlarged liver. Forgetfulness, gastrointestinal disturbances, heart changes, irritability, labored breathing and loss of appetite may also be experienced. With too little thiamin around a person may also experience nervousness, numbness of the hands and feet, pain and sensitivity, poor coordination, tingling sensations, weak and sore muscles, general weakness and severe weight loss.

When taking alcohol, antacids and birth control pills or if you have hormone replacement therapy, you need to look at your thiamin intake. People suffering from depression or anxiety and those passing large volumes of urine, or suffering from an infection may all require more thiamine.

Sunflower seeds, peanuts, wheat bran, beef liver, pork, seafood, eggyolk and beans all contain good amounts of thiamin.

It is thought that thiamin can be useful for motion sickness in air and sea travel, and that this vitamin also repels insects when excreted through the skin.

Source: orthomolecular.org

Read more about B1 (thiamin).

Beta-carotene

Function:

  • Protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.
  • Provide a source of vitamin A.
  • Enhance the functioning of your immune system.
  • Help your reproductive system function properly.

Sources:

  • Food sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme.

Vitamin A

Function:

  • Fat-soluble vitamin (also known as retinol or preformed Vitamin A when derived from carotenoids)
  • Supports activities of the immune system
  • Essential for vision, adequate growth, and tissue differentiation
  • Helps fight off viral infections
  • Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, found in yellow, orange and red colored fruits and vegetables are converted by the body into vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A has excellent antioxidant properties, stimulates the production of mucous, and is absorbed by the body 3-5 hours after ingestion
  • Can cause side effects when taken in excessive amounts in supplement form.

Sources:

  • Found predominantly in animal food sources
  • Barley grass, butter, cabbage, carotenoids (plant origins, converted to A by the body), carrot root, egg yolk, fish, gotu kola, liver, spirulina, whole milk.

Learn more about vitamin A.

Carotenoid

Function:

  • Protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals
  • Provide a source of vitamin A
  • Enhance the functioning of your immune system
  • Help your reproductive system function properly
  • One of the most widespread groups of naturally occurring pigments.
  • Include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.

Sources:

  • Food sources include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, papaya, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
  • To maximize the availability of the carotenoids, foods should be eaten raw or steamed cooked.

Learn more about carotenoids.