Depression: the facts

Mental illnesses are states of mind that affect mood, feeling, thinking, and behavior. They may be long-lasting (chronic), occasional, or they can affect the ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. This article is going to cover one specific mental illness, depression. Depression is a widespread mental disorder that affects more than 264 million individuals of all ages worldwide. It is the leading cause of worldwide disability and a major purveyor to the burden of disease overall. Because of the enormity of depression, it is important to know about depression: the facts.

What is Depression?

Depression is a form of mental illness that is a mood disorder. It causes a perpetual feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Additionally called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how one feels, thinks and, behaves, and can lead to a range of emotional and physical problems.

What Causes Depression?

Several factors can increase the chance of depression, including the following:

Substance abuse – Nearly 30% of individuals with substance abuse issues additionally have major or clinical depression. Even if drugs or alcohol temporarily makes one feel better, they will ultimately aggravate depression.

Death or a loss – Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, even if by natural means, can increase the risk of depression.

Abuse – Previous sexual, physical, or emotional abuse may increase the susceptibility to clinical depression later in life.

Certain medications – Certain drugs, for example, isotretinoin (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase the risk of depression.

Conflict – Depression in an individual who has a biological susceptibility to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with friends or family members.

Genetics – A family history of depression can increase the risk. It is commonly thought that depression is a complex trait, which means that there are probably many different genes that each exerts minor effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk. The genetics of depression, as with most psychiatric disorders, are not as simple or straightforward as in solely genetic diseases such as Huntington’s chorea
or cystic fibrosis.

Key events – Even positive events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married may advance to depression. This can also include moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. Nevertheless, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a “normal” response to stressful life events.

Serious illnesses – On occasion depression can co-exist with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.

Additional personal problems – Problems such as social isolation because of other mental illnesses or being ostracized from a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.

Types, Symptoms, and Treatment of Depression

Everybody feels down from time to time, but should an individual feels that way most of the time and it affects their daily life, chances are he or she may have clinical depression.

There are several different types of depression. Events in one’s life can cause some, and chemical changes in the brain can cause others. Therefore, it takes a specialist to determine which type of depression an individual may have and the best course of treatment.

Major Depression (major depressive disorder) – An individual who feels depressed most of the time for a majority, or all of the days of the week may have this type.

Some other symptoms might include:

  • Being tired and without energy
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Feeling on edge and disturbed, or else very lethargic and sluggish physically or mentally
  • Lack of attention or pleasure in activities
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Problems going to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
  • Weight loss or gain

A physician may diagnose a patient with major depression if the individual has five (5) or more of these symptoms on most days for 2 weeks or longer. At least one among the symptoms must be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.

Treatment for major depression:

Meeting with a therapist can be of assistance. One can also meet with a mental health specialist who will assist in finding ways to manage the depression. Medications known as antidepressants can also be helpful.

When medication and therapy are not working, other options the physician may suggest are:

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

ECT makes use of electrical pulses, TMS uses a unique type of magnet, and VNS makes use of an implanted device. All are designed to accelerate particular areas of brain activity. This assists the parts of the brain that control one’s mood to work better.

Dysthymia (mild, chronic depression) – Dysthymia is less critical and doesn’t have as many symptoms as major depression. On the other hand, the symptoms can linger for a longer period of time, often two years or Depression: the facts - Dysthymialonger. Individuals who suffer from dysthymia can additionally experience periods of major depression–sometimes known as double depression. In modern diagnostic classification systems, dysthymia and chronic depression are now both mentioned to as clinical depression disorder.

The symptoms of dysthymia are the same as major depression but fewer in number and not as intense. They include the following:

  • Being physically restless or rundown in a way that is noticeable by others
  • Exhaustion or loss of energy almost daily
  • Feelings of despair or insignificance or excessive guilt almost every day
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
  • Loss of enjoyment in once pleasurable things
  • A major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
  • Difficulty with attentiveness or making decisions almost daily
  • Frequent thinking of death or suicide, a suicide plan, or suicide attempt
  • Sadness or down mood a majority of the day or almost daily

Treatment for Dysthymia

Although dysthymia is a serious illness, it is very treatable. As with any chronic illness, early detection and medical treatment may reduce the extent and duration of symptoms and in addition reduce the likelihood of developing an episode of major depression.

To treat dysthymia, physicians may use psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications such as antidepressants, or a mixture of these therapies. Frequently, dysthymia can be taken care of by a primary care physician.

Although Dysthymia is not as disabling as major depression, it can keep an individual from feeling their best and functioning optimally. Dysthymia can begin in childhood or adulthood and seems to be more common in women. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 1.5% of adult Americans are affected by dysthymia.

Atypical Depression – Atypical depression is a subtype. It can be an “identifier” for either major depression or dysthymic disorder. Individuals with atypical depression have usually experienced depression initially at an early age, during their teenage years.Depression: the facts - Atypical

Despite its name, atypical depression is extremely widespread. It is compared with “melancholic” depression, another subtype of depression that involves symptoms of insomnia (as opposed to oversleeping), loss of appetite (as opposed to increased appetite), a comparative lack of mood reactiveness to environmental circumstances, and a strikingly diminished ability to feel pleasure.

One of the main characteristics of atypical depression that differentiates it from melancholic depression is mood reactivity. In other words, the individual with atypical depression will see their mood improve if something positive occurs. On the other hand, with melancholic depression, positive changes will seldom yield a change in mood. Additionally, diagnostic standards call for at least two of the following symptoms to accompany the mood reactivity:

  • Having a feeling of being weighed down, paralyzed, or “leaden”
  • Having a more intense reaction or increased sensitivity to rejection, resulting in problems with social and work relationships
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
  • Sleeping too much (hypersomnia)

A physician will investigate physical causes for any of these symptoms. This would include a physical exam and diagnostic tests to look for a different issue such as hypothyroidism. With that condition, having low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to indicators that include depression and weight gain.

Treatment for atypical depression

Physicians are most likely to recommend psychotherapy (talk therapy) and/or medications for atypical depression, depending on the seriousness of the symptoms. There are various types of psychotherapy and medications available for treatment. An individual may be directed to a specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other licensed mental health professional for treatment.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) – Postpartum depression (PPD) is a complicated combination of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some females after giving birth to a child. According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of major depression that commences within 4 weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is established not only on the length of time between delivery and commencement but also on the seriousness of the depression.Depression: the - postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes that happen when having a baby. The term describes a range of physical and emotional changes that many new mothers experience. PPD can be treated with medication and counseling.

The chemical changes involve a rapid drop in hormones after delivery. The actual link between this drop and depression is not clear. However, what is known is that the amounts of estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, intensify ten times over during pregnancy. Then, they drop severely after delivery. By three (3) days after giving birth, the levels of these hormones drop back to what they were before pregnancy.

In addition to these chemical changes, the social and psychological changes involved with having a baby create an increased risk of depression.

Most new mothers encounter the “baby blues” after delivery. Approximately 1 out of every 10 of these women will develop a more acute and longer-lasting depression post-delivery. About 1 in 1,000 women will develop a more severe condition called postpartum psychosis.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can be hard to detect. Because Scores of women have these symptoms following childbirth:

  • Appetite changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Frequent mood changes

With PPD, these are also accompanied by other symptoms of major depression, which are not typical after childbirth, and may include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Thoughts of hurting someone else

New symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) rarely occur during the postpartum period (about 1%-3% of women). When they do occur, the obsessions are generally related to concerns about the baby’s health or irrational fears of harming the baby. Panic disorder can also occur. A woman can have these conditions and depression at the same time.

Treatment for postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is treated differently depending on the type and intensity of a patient’s symptoms. Treatment options include anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and involvement in a support group for emotional support and education. For extreme cases, intravenous infusion of a new medication called brexanolone (Zulresso) can be prescribed.

In the case of postpartum psychosis, drugs used to treat psychosis are usually added. Hospital admission is also frequently necessary.

If a woman is breastfeeding, medication can be a solution for depression, anxiety, or even psychosis. Under a doctor’s supervision, many women take medication while breastfeeding. This is a decision to be made between the patient and her doctor.

Untreated postpartum depression can be dangerous for new moms and their children. A new mom should seek professional help when:

  • Feelings of extremely anxiousness, scared, and panicked most of the day
  • Not able to cope with everyday situations
  • Symptoms persist beyond 2 weeks
  • Thoughts of harming herself or her baby
  • Unable to function normally

Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression is a form of major affective disorder, or mood disorder, defined by manic or hypomanic episodes (changes from one’s normal mood accompanied by high-energy states).

Bipolar disorder is a grave condition. Mania often involves sleeplessness, sometimes for days, together with hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose Depression: the facts - Bipolar-Depressiondelusions, or paranoid rage. Also, depressive periods can be more harmful and harder to treat than in individuals who never have manias or hypomanias.

The seriousness of mood incidents can range from vastly mild to extreme, and they can happen slowly or suddenly within a period of days to weeks. When discrete mood incidents happen four (4) or more times per year, the succession is called rapid cycling. Rapid cycling should not be confused with very frequent moment-to-moment changes in mood, which can occasionally happen in individuals with bipolar disorder or other conditions such as borderline personality disorder.

Along with manic or depressive episodes, individuals with bipolar disorder may have disturbances in thinking. They may additionally have distortions of perception and impairment in social functioning.

The clinical depression symptoms seen with bipolar disorder are identical to those seen in major depressive disorder and include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Lack of attention or enjoyment in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Fatigue, decreased energy, being “slowed down”
  • Lasting physical symptoms that will not respond to treatment, like headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
  • Persistently sad, anxious, or “empty” moods
  • Decreased desire for food and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts

The signs of mania in bipolar disorder include:

  • A reduced desire for sleep
    due to high energy
  • Disconnected and very fast (racing) thoughts
  • Grandiose beliefs
  • Inappropriate elation or euphoria
  • Inappropriate irritability
  • Inappropriate social behavior
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Increased talking speed or volume
  • Markedly increased energy
  • Poor judgment and risk taking

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Treatment for bipolar disorder may involve the use of mood stabilizers such as lithium. Selected anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines may additionally be used to calm mood. Occasionally antidepressants are given in combination with mood stabilizers to give a boost to the depressed mood, although antidepressants are frequently not as effective as some mood stabilizers or specific atypical antipsychotics for treating depression in bipolar disorder.

Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder—SAD) – Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that occurs annually at the same time. An uncommon form of seasonal depression, known as summer depression, begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. In general, the seasonal affective disorder commences in fall or winter and terminates in spring or early summer.Depression: the facts - Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]

While the specific triggers of SAD are not known, some scientists believe that certain hormones produced deep in the brain trigger attitude-related changes at certain times of the year. Experts believe that SAD may be linked to these hormonal changes. One (1) of several theories is that reduced sunlight during the fall and winter seasons leads to the brain generating less serotonin, a chemical linked to the brain pathways that control mood. When nerve cell pathways in the brain that regulate mood do not perform normally, the result can be feelings of depression, along with symptoms of fatigue and weight gain.  For more information serotonin, please read the article, Serotonin: the facts on this website.

SAD usually begins in young adulthood and is more widespread in women than men. Some individuals with SAD have mild symptoms and feel out of sorts or irritable. On the other hand, others have worse symptoms that interfere with relationships and work.

Due to the fact that not enough daylight during wintertime is related to SAD, it’s less often found in countries where there’s plenty of sunshine year-round.

Individuals with SAD have many of the normal warning signs of depression that include:

Winter Symptoms

  • Less energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Greater appetite
  • Increased desire to be alone
  • Greater need for sleep
  • Weight gain

Summer Symptoms

  • Less appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss

Treatment for SAD

There are diverse treatments, depending on the seriousness of symptoms. Also, if an individual has another type of depression or bipolar disorder, the treatment may be different.

Conventional antidepressants are frequently employed to treat seasonal depression. Bupropion XL is presently the only medication that is FDA-approved explicitly to prevent major depressive episodes in people with SAD.

Many physicians advise that people with SAD get outside early in the morning to get more light that is natural. If this is not possible for the reason of the dark winter months, antidepressant medications or light therapy (phototherapy) may help.

Psychotic Depression – Psychotic depression is another subtype of major depression that takes place when a severe depressive illness includes some form of psychosis (a condition that causes one to lose touch with reality).

The psychosis can be hallucinations (such as someone hearing a voice Depression: the facts - Psychotic Depressiontelling them that they are worthless and no good), delusions, or some other break with reality. They may also have strange and illogical ideas. Psychotic depression affects roughly one (1) out of every four (4) individuals admitted to the hospital for depression.

Usual symptoms for patients who have psychotic depression include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Hypochondria
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Physical immobility

Treatment for psychotic depression

Generally, treatment for psychotic depression occurs in a hospital setting. This allows the patient to have close monitoring by mental health professionals. Different meds are used to steady the person’s mood, usually including combinations of antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.

Antipsychotic drugs affect the neurotransmitters that permit communication between nerve cells in areas of the brain that control our ability to comprehend and manage information regarding the world around us. There are numerous antipsychotic, or neuroleptic, medications used regularly today. Each drug has distinctive side effects and may differ in its clinical efficiency profile. However, these drugs are better tolerated than the antipsychotics of the past.

Treatment for psychotic depression is very successful. Individuals are generally able to recover, usually within several months. However, continual medical follow-up may be needed. If the medications are unsuccessful in ending the psychosis and depression, occasionally electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used. It is crucial for the patient to work closely with the physician to find the most effectual drugs with the least amount of side effects, because psychotic depression is quite serious, and the risk of suicide is great also.

Treatment-Resistant Depression – Regrettably, depression treatments do not work always. As much as two-thirds of individuals with depression are not helped by the initial antidepressant they try. Up to a third, do not respond to many attempts at treatment.

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can leave one feeling despondent and disheartened. Months or even years can go by with no relief. In addition, after considering the effort it took to get help, it can be demoralizing with no sign of getting better.

However, there is hope. It is simply an issue of finding the right approach. This can include different drugs, therapy, and other treatments.

It is important to note that untreated clinical depression is a critical problem. Left untreated depression increases the chance of dangerous behaviors like drug or alcohol addiction. It can also ruin relationships, cause problems at one’s place of work, and make it challenging to overcome serious illnesses.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, you or they must get help as soon as possible.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!




All about Vitamin B

When it comes to vitamins, vitamin B is high on the spectrum. This is mainly because it covers a broad range of bodily functions. So let us take a look at this as we cover all about vitamin B.

What is Vitamin B?

Vitamin B is actually a class of vitamins. B vitamins are a class of vitamins that are water-soluble and play important roles in cell metabolism. Even though these vitamins share like names, they are chemically distinct but often reside in the same foods. This is the reason why dietary supplements containing all eight are referred to as vitamin B complex.

The Benefits of B Vitamins

B vitamins play a crucial role in sustaining good health and well-being. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a straight impact on an individual’s energy level, brain function, and cell metabolism. Vitamin B complex aids in the prevention of infections and helps support or promote cell health.

A Look at the B Vitamins

Let’s take an in-depth look into the B vitamins:

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B12
  • Folic acid

B1 (Thiamine) – Thiamin helps to change glucose into energy and has a role in nerve function.

Thiamin deficiency

Thiamin deficiency is generally found in countries where the dietary basic is white rice. Deficiencies in Western culture are usually caused by extreme alcohol intake and/or a very poor diet. Symptoms include – irritability, confusion, poor arm or leg (or both) coordination, fatigue, lethargy, and, muscle weakness.

A condition known as Beriberi is caused by thiamin deficiency and affects the cardiovascular, muscular, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. It can be recognized as ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ beriberi. ‘Dry’ beriberi affects the nervous symptom while ‘wet’ beriberi affects the circulatory system.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (aka ‘wet brain’) is an additional thiamin-deficiency disease linked to alcohol excess and a thiamin-deficient diet. Alcohol reduces thiamin absorption within the gut and increases its secretion from the kidneys.

B2 (Riboflavin) – Riboflavin is principally involved in energy building and helps vision and skin health.

Riboflavin deficiency (ariboflavinosis)

Riboflavin deficiency (or ariboflavinosis) is rare and is generally seen along with other B-group vitamin deficiencies. Individuals at risk include those who drink extreme amounts of alcohol and those who do not use milk or milk products.

Niacin (B3) – Niacin is vital for the body to convert carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol into energy. It helps sustain good skin health and maintains the nervous and digestive systems. Unlike other B-group vitamins, niacin is very durable against heat, and little is lost in cooking.

Niacin deficiency (pellagra)

Individuals who drink large amounts of alcohol or live on a diet almost exclusively based on corn are most at risk of pellagra. Other causes are linked with digestive problems where the body does not absorb niacin proficiently.

The main symptoms of pellagra are commonly referred to as the 3 D’s – dementia, diarrhea, and dermatitis. Pellagra can lead to death if not treated.

It is important to note that large doses of niacin produce a drug-like effect on the nervous system and, on blood fats. While favorable changes in blood fats are seen, side effects include – itching, nausea, flushing, and potential liver damage.

Pantothenic acid (B5) – Pantothenic acid is required to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and alcohol as well as produce steroid hormones and red blood cells.

Pantothenic acid deficiency

Because pantothenic acid is found in such a wide variety of foods, a deficiency is extremely rare.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – Pyridoxine is required for the formation of red blood cells, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and certain brain All About Vitamin B - B6chemicals. It powers brain processes and development, steroid hormone activity, and immune function.

Pyridoxine deficiency – Pyridoxine deficiency is rare. Individuals who drink extreme amounts of alcohol, women (especially those on the contraceptive pill), the elderly, and individuals with thyroid disease are the most at risk.

Excessive Pyridoxine intake can lead to Pyridoxine toxicity and is mostly due to supplementation, which can lead to injurious levels in the body that can damage the nerves.

Biotin (B7) – Biotin is required for fat synthesis, energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, and glycogen synthesis. High biotin intake can contribute to increased blood cholesterol levels.Vitamin B - B7

Biotin deficiency – Biotin shortage is extremely rare – it is widely dispersed in foods and only required in minute amounts. However, over-consumption of raw egg whites over a period of several months could generate deficiency because a protein in the egg white inhibits biotin absorption.

Folate or folic acid (B9) – Folate or folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) which is used broadly in dietary supplements and food fortification) is necessary to form red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. It helps the growth of the foetal nervous system, as well as DNA synthesis and cell growth. Females of childbearing age require a diet rich in folate for this Vitamin B - B9very reason.

If planning a pregnancy or in the first trimester of pregnancy, an individual should visit their doctor to make sure they are getting enough folate. This is essential to reduce the risks of neural tube defects such as spinal bifida in the child.

Although folic acid is generally considered to be non-toxic, excessive intakes above 1,000 mcg per day over a long period can lead to irritability, depression, and, intestinal dysfunction. The main risk with excessive folate intake is that it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, so it’s best to consume these two vitamins within the recommended amounts. B12 is next.

Cyanocobalamin (B12) – Last but not least, Cyanocobalamin aids in constructing and maintaining the myelin surrounding nerve cells, mental ability, red blood cell formation, and the breaking down of some fatty acids and amino acids to produce energy. Vitamin B12 has an intimate Vitamin B - B12relationship with folate, as they both depend on the other to function properly.

Vitamin B12 deficiency – Because vitamin B12 is exclusively found in foods from animal sources, people following strict vegan diets, and also breastfed babies of vegan mothers, tend to be most commonly affected.

Absorption of B12 from the gut also tends to decrease with age; therefore, the elderly are another group of the population who are more in danger of deficiency.

Although each one of these vitamins has unique functions, they collectively help the body generate energy and make important molecules within the cells.

Where to Find B Vitamins


Vitamin B - Foods
The B vitamins are found in a host of foods!

With the exception of B12, the body cannot store B vitamins for long periods, so we need to replenish them regularly through food.

A host of foods provides B vitamins; however, to be considered high in a specific vitamin, a food must have a minimum of 20% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) per serving. Alternatively, a food that contains 10–19% of the RDI is well-thought-out to be a good source.

Below are some healthy foods high in one or more B vitamins.

Salmon – This highly nutritious fish is high in several B vitamins. Also, salmon is known to be a low-mercury fish that’s additionally high in beneficial omega-3 fats, and also in protein and selenium.

Salmon is rich in riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, as well as a great source of thiamine and pantothenic acid.

Leafy Greens – A number of leafy greens stand out for their folate (B9) content. These are among the very best vegetable sources of folate. They include Spinach (raw and cooked), collards, and turnip greens, romaine lettuce (raw).

It is important to mention that some folate is eliminated by heat during the cooking process, and quantity can be transferred to the cooking water also. Therefore, to reduce folate loss during cooking, it’s best to steam the greens until partway between tender and crisp.

Liver and Other Organ Meats
Though not especially popular, organ meats — especially liver — are packed full with B vitamins. This is true whether they are from beef, pork, lamb, or chicken.

Eggs – One large egg contains 33% of the RDI for biotin spread between the yolk and white. Eggs are one among the highest sources of biotin —the liver only contains more.

Eggs additionally have smaller amounts of other B vitamins. One large (50-gram) cooked egg contains Riboflavin (B2): 15% of the RDI, Pantothenic acid (B5): 7% of the RDI, Biotin (B7): 33% of the RDI, Folate (B9): 5% of the RDI, Cobalamin (B12): 9% of the RDI.

For individuals who don’t eat eggs, meat, or other animal products, they can meet their biotin needs by consuming foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which all contain small quantities of biotin.

Milk – One 8-ounce cup (240 ml) of milk provides 26% of the RDI for riboflavin, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins.

As with other animal foods, milk also is a very good source of B12, supplying 18% of the RDI per 1-cup (240-ml) serving.

Beef – Beef can make a big contribution to our B vitamin intake. Beef contains high amounts of B3, B6, and B12. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving supplies about a third of the RDI for each of these vitamins, in addition to smaller amounts of other B vitamins.

Oysters, Clams, and Mussels – Oysters, clams, and mussels are an all-star source of B12 and an excellent source of riboflavin. They additionally supply smaller amounts of thiamine, niacin, and folate.

These shellfish are additionally rich in protein and several minerals, including iron, zinc, selenium, and manganese. They are also a good source of omega-3 fats as well.

Legumes – Legumes (beans) are most notable for their high folate content. They additionally provide small amounts of other B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and, B6. For pregnant women, folate is a B vitamin that is important for reducing the risk of certain birth defects. This is true of most legumes such as pinto beans, black beans, and lentils.

Other legumes include chickpeas, edamame, (green soybeans), green peas, kidney beans, roasted soy nuts.

There is a synthetic form of folate called folic acid.

Chicken and Turkey (fowl) – Chicken and turkey are most noteworthy for their niacin and pyridoxine content. White meat — like the breast — supplies more of those two vitamins than darker meat — like the thigh.

It is important to mention that the majority of the B vitamins are within the meat, not the skin.

Yogurt – Yogurt is known for its riboflavin and B12 content. Though nutrition varies by brand, a serving of yogurt
averages a substantial amount of these valuable nutrients but non-dairy yogurt alternatives aren’t good sources of these vitamins unless they’re fortified. It is advisable to limit the intake of sugar-sweetened yogurt as they contain 3–4 teaspoons of added sugars per 2/3-cup serving.

Nutritional and Brewer’s Yeast – Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are inactive, meaning they cannot be used to make bread. Rather, they are used to boost the flavor and nutrient profile of products.

These yeasts naturally have B vitamins and are frequently fortified with them as well, particularly nutritional yeast. If nutrients are added, they are listed in the ingredients on the label.

Vegetarians and vegans generally use nutritional yeast, because it is fortified with B12, which is difficult to obtain if an individual doesn’t consume animal products.

Pork – Like other common meats, pork is packed full of several B vitamins. It is particularly known for its high amount of thiamine, of which beef contains little.

In order for pork to be a healthy choice, it is best to choose loin cuts that are much lower in fat and calories than shoulder cuts, spareribs, and bacon.

Trout – Trout is a freshwater fish that is closely related to salmon and is high in several B vitamins. Trout is high in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12.

Also, trout is an excellent source of protein, rich in omega-3 fats and low in mercury.

Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are one of the best plant resources of pantothenic acid. This B vitamin got its name from the Greek word “pantos,” which means “everywhere.” This is because it is found in most plant and animal foods but usually only in small amounts.

Surprisingly, 1 ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds carries 20% of the RDI for pantothenic acid. Sunflower seeds are additionally a good source of niacin, folate, and B6.

Sunflower seed butter, common among individuals with nut allergies, is a superior source of pantothenic acid also.


For those who are unable to maintain a healthy diet for one reason or another, they can go the supplementation route. Supplements are a Vitamin B - Supplementsconvenient way to ensure an individual that they are taking in an ample supply of nutrition, including B vitamins.

To see what is available at a reputable online vitamin source, you may click here.

Vitamin B Deficiencies and Symptoms

For overall good health, which includes a sound mind and body, B vitamins play a crucial role.

Vitamin B1
deficiency is unusual, and also vitamin B2 deficiency is very unusual, in the United States.

This is because many foods, such as milk and whole-grain cereals, are equipped with these vitamins.

It can however become an issue with individuals that misuse alcohol, presenting symptoms such as confusion and cracks along the sides of the Vitamin B - Deficiencymouth.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency is very unusual in the United States. A lack of niacin can cause digestive issues, such as nausea and abdominal cramps. Severe deficiency may also cause mental confusion.

Severe deficiency can result in a condition called pellagra, with symptoms such as:

  • a bright red tongue
  • aggressive, paranoid, or suicidal behavior
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • hallucinations
  • skin that is rough and turns red or brown in the sun
  • vomiting

Vitamin B6 shortage of this key B vitamin can be the cause for an individual to experience flaky, oily rashes on their upper body or face.

Vitamin B9 (folic-folic acid) deficiency is unusual in the United States, but it does appear.

Low levels of vitamin B9 can result in the following symptoms:

  • changes in skin, hair, or fingernail color
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • heart palpitations
  • irritability
  • megaloblastic anemia, that causes weakness
  • open sores in the mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble concentrating

Pregnant females with a B9 deficiency could result in their infants being born with neural tube defects.

However, excessive supplemental folic acid during pregnancy may lead to an infant developing neurological problems.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to disruption in the nervous and circulatory systems.

Additionally, deficiencies can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition where the bone marrow generates large abnormally shaped red blood cells that do not work properly.

Psychological conditions such as dementia, paranoia, depression, and behavioral changes can result from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Neurological damage sometimes cannot be reversed.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause the following symptoms:

  • balance problems
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • numbness and tingling within the hands and feet
  • poor memory
  • soreness of the mouth or tongue
  • tiredness or fatigue
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Vitamin B12 deficiencies affect between 1.5 and 15% of the population in America.

The B vitamins play a crucial role in our health and quality of life. Therefore it behooves us to be sure we are consuming ample amounts this and all of the necessary vitamins and minerals from both food and supplements.

For more information on supplements, see the article, Dietary Supplements: The Facts on this website.

Feel free to leave any questions, comments and concerns below.

Good health!!





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