Healthy Moods: Vitamin B for a Happier You

Faryal Panhwar Jan 13 2015

If you have been around pregnant women, you might know about their regular folic acid intake. Folate or folic acid is just one of the eight B vitamins that make up the Vitamin B complex. The special mention is due to its sturdy connection with a decrease in birth defects in children.

What are B vitamins?

Just like Vitamin A, C, D and E, B Vitamins are a class of vitamins. Apart from the differences in their structure and function from the other vitamins, B vitamins are composed of eight sub-groups – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12 and lastly folic acid. Generally, substances containing all eight are referred to as “Vitamin B complex”

Benefits of B Vitamins

The B Vitamins are critical to all things related to the human brain: memory, learning, mood, and even migraines. Their ability to enhance brain power and nervous system sets their place well among other basic nutrients.

Earlier it was thought that B vitamins and folate are only relevant in relation to anemia.  Over the years, their function became more vivid. It has been discovered that B vitamins and folate carry out their function of optimizing nervous system by being involved with the maintenance of healthy function of nerves.

Folic acid is vital for the metabolism of homocysteine, and B12 for methylmalonic acid. The buildup of either of the two in the blood can lead to nervous impairment and can eventually be the basis of Alzhemier’s disease. B12 and Folate are of particular importance during aging. With aging, there is an increase in the levels of homocysteine and methylmalonic acid in the elderly. Our bodies consequently need more of the B Vitamins and Folate to metabolize the two.

Moreover, B vitamins – if taken in adequate amount – can also quell anxiety, help through depression, make PMS less severe, and give energy boosts! Some B Vitamins help make neurotransmitters like serotonin, a chemical that regulates our mood.

The next time you feel irritated during PMS, know that B Vitamins will be there to rescue you!

Folate are extremely vital for pregnant women during their first trimester of pregnancy. Lack of Folate leads to birth defects in children such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

Foods Containing B Vitamins and folate

It is difficult to find all components of B Vitamins in one particular chow. B Vitamins are widely distributed throughout the food supply.

A simple way to remember which foods are high in folate is to remember that the word folate has the same root as foliage. Fruits, spinach, turnips and all leafy greens make grand sources of folate. Folate is also found generously in pasta and rice.

Eggs are crammed with B Vitamin, especially biotin. There’s very little eggs don’t have. Name any nutrient, and eggs will always have the spotlight. The next time you are feeling down, have some boiled eggs. If you are waiting for any magic to help your grades, it’s in the eggs.

Apart from animal sources, which are the only natural supply of B Vitamins, they are also available in fortified cereals and soy products to satisfy your daily minimum dose of B Vitamins.

What happens if you’re deficient in B vitamin and Folate?

One common consequence of lack of adequate B vitamins and folate is anemia. The deficiency causes the red blood cells to become bigger and hinders normal function. It can lead to easy fatigability, muscle weakness, depression and create problems with memory and understanding.

Faryal Panhwar

Faryal Panhwar:

Faryal is currently a second year M.B.B.S student at Ziauddin University. She is an active participate in the Model UN where her passion for debate has received her several delegate awards. Seeking to discover the writer in herself Faryal is now working as a freelance writer for HTV.