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A Quick Look at B Vitamins – Part 2


B vitamins are an important part of your daily vitamin intake. They are used in the conversion of food to energy and a lot of your fatigue may be related to a deficiency in B vitamins and magnesium.


In part 1 we looked at B1, B2, B3 and pantothenic acid. We will now look at the last three B vitamins and their roles, sources and RDAs.



Pyridoxine (B6)

B6 is especially useful in processing proteins and carbohydrates to release their energy potential. It is also instrumental in the forming of haemoglobin which will increase your blood’s ability to carry oxygen. B6 is another common B vitamin and can be found in pork, poultry, fish, bread, whole cereals, eggs, vegetables, soya beans, peanuts, milk, potatoes and some breakfast cereals. The RDA for men is 1.4mg and 1.2mg for women. As with the other B vitamins, B6 needs to be taken on a daily basis as it cannot be stored in the body. A daily intake of more than 200mg of B6 can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs over time. Fortunately this side effect is reversible and should stop as soon as you stop taking the supplement.


Folic Acid

Folic acid, also known as folate, is important for the formation of healthy red blood cells and can reduce the risk of spina bifida in unborn babies. It is this last benefit which makes it an important part of all prenatal supplements. Folate can be found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, liver, spinach, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and fortified breakfast cereals. The RDA for adults is 0.2mg per day though pregnant women should take double the RDA until the twelfth week. Those with a family history of spina bifida should increase that dose to at least 5mg per day.


Vitamin B12

B12 is instrumental in the making of red blood cells and in keeping your nervous system healthy. It is also important in releasing energy from the food we eat and is necessary for the processing of folic acid. It can be found in meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified cereals. An adult requires approximately 0.0015mg of B12 per day. Vegans should take care to ensure that they get enough of this vitamin as it is not naturally found in vegetables.