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Vitamin B Breakdown

Updated: Jun 21

Hello and welcome to this exciting breakdown of Vitamin B! Living a vegan lifestyle is an incredible thing, however its important to tap into the power of this incredible group of vitamins in order to ensure you're feeling your best and can live your healthiest life.

This group of vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12. The reason for the break in the sequence of numbers is that some substances originally identified as B vitamins are no longer considered essential for the body.

The B vitamins play a role in energy production, nervous system function, and immunity. They have been found to be essential to health that B vitamins are commonly added to processed grains. As with most nutrients, consuming a variety of foods from all food groups will help ensure that the body receives a healthy supply of B vitamins.

Vitamin B12: The Energetic Sidekick You Need

Starting with a crucial one in a vegan lifestyle, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps support the formation of red blood cells and DNA, promotes proper nerve development, and plays a role in energy production. Since it's primarily found in animal products, us vegans need to be mindful of getting enough B12 through fortified foods or supplements. Think of it as your secret weapon against fighting fatigue, ensuring you stay energized in your quest to save the world, one plant-based meal at a time!

RDA for adults: 2.4 mcg per day.

B1: The Triumph Caused by Thiamin!

Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for metabolizing carbohydrates into energy, regulating nerve impulses, and the proper functioning of the heart and muscles. Also called thiamin, this vitamin can be found in abundance in legumes, seeds, and whole grains. Enriched foods, such as breads and cereals, are also high in thiamin. Although fruits and vegetables contain only a small amount of thiamin, they can be good sources of thiamin when they are plentiful on your plate!

1 cup of green peas: 0.4 mg

1/4 cup of sunflower seeds: 0.4 mg

1/4 cup of oats: 0.3 mg

1/4 cup of kidney beans: 0.2 mg

1/4 cup of brown rice: 0.2 mg

RDA for adults: 1.1-1.2 mg per day.

Riboflavin: The Illuminating Visionary

Also known as B2, is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for energy production, growth, red cell production, healthy eyesight, and promotes glowing skin. and the activation of vitamin B6. Nuts and green leafy vegetables are among the best plant-based dietary sources or riboflavin. Additional sources include foods such as breads and grains that have been enriched with riboflavin.

1/4 cup of almonds: 0.35 mg

3 oz oat bran bagel: 0.3 mg

1 medium banana: 0.1 mg

1 cup of spinach: 0.1 mg

RDA for adults: 1.1-1.3 mg per day.

B3: The Necessary Niacin

Vitamin B3 also known as Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for skin, nerve, and digestive system functions. Niacin performs a major role in energy production and keeps the nervous system running smoothly! Dietary sources rich in niacin include legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Niacin is also found in green leafy vegetables and enriched grain products.

1/4 cup of peanuts: 4.4 mg

1 cup of green peas: 3.0 mg

1 cup of mushrooms, sliced: 2.5 mg

1/4 cup of barley: 2.3 mg

1/4 cup of pine nuts: 1.4 mg

RDA for adults: 14 mg to 16 mg per day.

Pantothenic Acid: Don't Stress With This Vitamin!

Also known as vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for producing hormones and metabolizing carbohydrates and lipids. Sometimes called the "antistress" vitamin due to the role it plays in manufacturing stress-reducing hormones in the adrenal glands. It also helps the body manufacture red blood cells and synthesize cholesterol.

Pantothenic acid is found in a wide variety of plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Seeds also contain some pantothenic acid.

1 cup of avocado, cubed: 2.1 mg

1 cup of corn: 1.2 mg

1/4 cup of chickpeas: 0.8 mg

1/4 cup of wheat germ: 0.65 mg

RDA for adults: 5 mg per day.

Vitamin B6: The Brain Booster

A water-soluble vitamin necessary for metabolic functions, nervous system and immune system functions, and the formation of hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. The vitamin plays a crucial role in cognitive development, helping to enhance memory and concentration. Get your dose of B6 from plant-powered sources like chickpeas, avocados, bananas, sunflower seeds, and whole and enriched grains.

1 cup of avocado: 0.4 mg

1 medium banana: 0.4 mg

1 medium sweet potato: 0.3 mg

1/4 cup of pistachios: 0.5 mg

1/4 cup of brown rice: 0.25 mg

1/4 cup of lentils: 0.25 mg

1 cup of cauliflower: 0.2 mg

RDA for adults aged 19 through 50 is 1.3 mg of vitamins B6 per day. Research indicates needs increase slightly after 50.

Biotin: Grow with B7!

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin made in small amounts by the body that is necessary for energy production, the synthesis of fatty acids, proper nervous system functions, and healthy skin, hair, and nails. Some of the best plant-based sources of biotin include peanuts, almonds and swiss chard.

1/4 cup of peanuts: 26.3 mcg

1/4 cup of almonds: 24.2 mcg

1 cup of swiss chard: 10.5 mcg

1/4 cup of walnuts: 4.8 mcg

1 banana: 3.1 mcg

RDA for adults: 30 mcg per day.

B9: The Cell-Regenerating Hero

Also known as Folate, is a water-soluble vitamin that supports red blood cell production, the nervous system, and the formation of DNA. DNA is the genetic building blocks of the body. Folate also promotes healthy blood circulation by preventing a buildup of the amino acid homocysteine.

Beans, Leafy green veggies, and enriched grains are among some of the best ways to obtain this super nutrient. Embrace the power of B9 and let your cells regenerate with plant-based vitality!

1/4 cup of pinto beans: 253 mcg

1/4 cup of Lentils: 230 mcg

1/4 cup of white beans: 196 mcg

1 cup Beets: 148 mcg

1 cup of orange juice: 74.4 mcg

1 cup romain lettuce (shredded): 63.9 mcg

1 cup of spinach: 58.2 mcg

1 flour tortilla: 47.8 mcg

RDA for adults: 400 mcg per day.


By ensuring you get a variety of plant-powered sources like fortified foods, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and leafy greens, you can assure that you will meet many of the B vitamin requirements as many of these sources overlap across the board within the groups of B vitamins. Make sure to look for a vegan supplement for B12 as this will be a crucial part to completing you vitamin B puzzle!

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