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Vitamins for Energy - Health Benefits of B-Vitamins

B-complex vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that help the body convert carbohydrates into energy.  They also have several other important health benefits and are an important part of any balanced diet. 

Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamine.  It can be found in foods such as oranges, kidney beans, whole-grain cereals, raisins, pork and liver.  This vitamin helps the cardiovascular system and nervous system work properly.  It also helps the muscles function efficiently and keeps the body's mucous membranes healthy. 

Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin.  It can be found in foods like red meat, broccoli, almonds, dairy products, spinach and asparagus.  In addition to helping the body convert glucose into energy, riboflavin is important for the growth of healthy body tissues.  Fortified cereals can also be a good source of this B vitamin. 

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin.  This vitamin can be found in foods like tuna, mangoes, fortified cereals, chicken, liver, peanuts, oatmeal and whole-grain cereals.  One of the most important benefits of niacin is that it has been shown to increase levels of good cholesterol in the blood.  It also has some use in controlling the glucose levels of people with diabetes. 

Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid.  This vitamin can be found in poultry, peanuts, egg yolks, red meat, cauliflower, whole grains, corn and tomatoes.  Vitamin B5 has several important benefits.  It helps to maintain the digestive system in good working order.  It can help to reduce cholesterol levels and help the body use the hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands that sit at the tops of the kidneys.  Vitamin B5 also helps the body manufacture red blood cells and can help wounds heal more quickly. 

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine.  This vitamin is found in salmon, cooked spinach, potatoes, hazelnuts, poultry and bananas.  This vitamin helps the body produce niacin, which is also an essential nutrient.  It is also essential for controlling steroid hormones and producing red blood cells in the bone marrow.  Vitamin B6 can also help improve mood and improve the immune system's response to infection. 

Vitamin B7 is also known as biotin, which can be found in mushrooms, egg yolks, peanuts, organ meats, bananas and soy.  This vitamin helps to speed up reactions in the cells of the body.  It also has value as a tool for improving the condition of the hair and nails.  Hair loss and brittle nails can show improvement when a person adds biotin to a healthful diet. 

Vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid.  This vitamin can be found in lentils, spinach, citrus fruits, dried peas, dried beans, broccoli, fortified breads and fortified cereals.  This is an important vitamin because it can protect against neural tube defects in a developing fetus.  Women who plan to get pregnant are advised to take folic acid several months before attempting to conceive.  This vitamin can also protect against heart disease, reduce the risk of colon cancer and protect against other forms of cancer. 

Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin.  This vitamin can be found in dairy products, eggs, poultry and seafood.  This vitamin is essential for maintaining normal energy levels.  Some studies have shown that a lack of B12 can even increase the risk for dementia, depression and some types of cancer.  Vitamin B12 is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer and can also improve mood and memory.