The vitamin B group are water soluble vitamins. Nearly everyone agrees that these vitamins are necessary for cell metabolism. They make it possible for our cells to convert nutrients into energy.
Some of these vitamins like folate may reduce the risks of some cancers. However, the research results are mixed. There are also research results that suggest mega-doses of vitamins may actually be harmful. In general, however, “more problems are caused by not getting enough of the B vitamins than by getting too much,” states the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society also says: “While it is best to get vitamins and minerals from foods, supplements may be helpful for some people. If a supplement is taken, the best choice for most people is a balanced multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains no more than 100% of the “Daily Value” of most nutrients. Keep in mind that no supplement can take the place of healthy foods.”
I personally believe obtaining vitamins from natural food sources is the best choice. You get the vitamins in a form that our bodies have evolved to use most effectively, and foods won’t give you an unnecessary and possibly harmful overdose of these chemicals.
The Colorado State University confirmed this belief by stating: “Despite the popularity of supplements, many individuals are capable of obtaining all of the required vitamins and minerals through a healthy diet alone. In fact, those who consume a multi-vitamin or multi-mineral on a daily basis may be at risk for excessive intake, or toxicity of certain nutrients.”
What are the best natural food sources of the Vitamin B Group?
Seeds and nuts provide the best source of the vitamin B complex. From providing the most vitamin B’s to the least are ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, pistachios, walnuts and almonds. Surprisingly, pumpkin seeds contain little vitamins, but are loaded with minerals.
The best source for thiamine (B1) are ground flax seeds. Almonds provide the most riboflavin (B2). Peanuts provide the most niacin (B3). Sunflower seeds are full of pantothenic acid (B5). Pyridoxine (B6) is best obtained from pistachios. The best provider of folic acid are sunflower seeds. Walnuts, of course, are the big provider of omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 is obtained from animal sources like eggs, milk and ocean fish like sardines, herring, salmon and tuna.
There are a few instances when a supplement is best:
- If your diet is extremely vitamin poor
- If you are over 50, B12 and vitamin D3 supplements are helpful
- And pregnant women may need supplements of folic acid and iron.
In general, it’s best to get your vitamins from natural foods. If you do take a supplement, limit your exposure to 100% of the daily recommended dosages. The vitamin B complex is necessary for cellular metabolism in converting nutrients into energy. Most of the vitamin B group can be obtained from seeds and nuts. Vitamin B12, however, is obtained from animal sources.
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