Vitamins are required by the body to maintain optimal metabolism and homeostasis. Vitamins are needed in infinitesimal amounts and hence are called micronutrients. Body depends on vitamins, minerals, and trace elements for its proper functioning. Organisms do not make vitamins within the body. Therefore, vitamins need to be taken exogenously. We can get vitamins from diet or multivitamin tablets like Becosule capsule. A total of thirteen vitamins are currently recognized. This excludes trace elements, minerals and amino acids needed by the body in macro and micro amounts. Vitamins are divided into groups of water-soluble or fat soluble. Vitamin B12 which is a part of the B complex vitamins which are all water soluble.
Vitamin B Complex
B complex vitamin is a set of eight vitamins that includes vitamin B12 in it.
The following is the list of B complex vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 or thiamine
- Vitamin B2 or riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 or niacin or nicotinic acid
- Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, pyridoxal or pyridoxamine
- Vitamin B7 or biotin
- Vitamin B9 or folic acid
- Vitamin B12 or cobalamins such as cyanocobalamin or methyl-cobalamin
B complex vitamins are chemically different from each other, but all can dissolve in water and occur together in some foods.
Being water soluble prevents toxicity or excess accumulation of these vitamins as they can be easily eliminated from the body when in excess.
Becosule capsules are nutritional supplement tablets that contain all the B complex vitamins including Vit B 12 and some other vitamins too.
The ingredients of Becosule capsule are:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 10 mg
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 10 mg
- Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) 100 mg
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCI) 3 mg
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin) 100 mcg
- Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) 1.5 mg
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) 15 mcg
- Vitamin C ascorbic acid 150 mg
- Calcium pantothenate 50
Role of Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B 12 belongs to the family of vitamin B complexes.
It contains cobalt and thus called cyanocobalamin.
It has a complex chemical structure with a corrin ring and the cobalt metal ion in the center of that ring.
Vitamin B 12 is necessary for the development and functioning of the central nervous system. It is also involved in the synthesis of red blood cells.
Several cellular pathways like synthesis of DNA, metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids depend on vitamin B12.
Role of other B Complex Vitamins
Vit B1, B2, B3, B5 are involved in ATP production (energy) by acting as co-factors with enzymes carrying out the Electron Transport Chain.
Vit B2 also helps perform redox reactions.
Vit B1 also plays a role in alcohol and glucose metabolism.
Vit B6 assists enzymes involved in decarboxylation, transamination (transfer of amino groups) and glycogen phosphorylase.
Vit B7 is an important factor for lipid, protein and fat metabolism.
Folic acid is an extremely necessary co-enzyme along with Vit B12 for cell division, neural tube development, and red blood cells production.
Methionine synthase is an enzyme which transfers methionine group and requires folic acid during the reaction.
Plant sources of B complex vitamins
B complex vitamins can be found in fresh fruits, roots, peppers, whole grains, green leafy vegetables.
Examples of plant foods are nuts, bananas, kale, potatoes, molasses, etc.
Though grain cereals are a rich source of vitamin B complex, processed grain cereals have a lower content compared to unprocessed grains.
Fortified flour is enriched with folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine to counteract the loss of B complex vitamins due to processing.
As B complex vitamins are richly present in animal products compared to plant especially Vit B 12, vegetarians often have B complex deficiencies. Nutritional yeast is a good source to combat the deficiency.
Animal sources of B complex vitamins
Eggs, dairy products, and certain meats are very rich sources of B complex vitamins.
Examples of animal foods are milk, yogurt, turkey, fish, oysters, etc.
Beers naturally contain B complex vitamin, but it is still not considered a good source because of low bioavailability.
Absorption of Vit B1, B2, B3, B7, and folic acid is inhibited by ethanol, and this chemistry causes B complex deficiency in alcoholics.
Sources of Vitamin B12
There are no plant sources of vitamin B12. This makes b12 deficiency in vegetarians very common.
Our body requires 2.4 mcg of B12 per day.
Animal products such as milk and all dairy products, red meat, liver, fish, shellfish, etc. contain vitamin B12.
As Vit B12 is not present in plant sources, cereals, soy items, nutritional yeast, bars of energy can be fortified with Vit B12 for a vegetarian diet.
Becosule capsule is generally prescribed to vegetarians and others with low B complex vitamins as it is composed of the entire family of B complex vitamins.
Deficiency of B Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B1deficiency can manifest as either wet Beri Beri or dry Beri Beri.
Dry beriberi is B1 deficiency manifesting in the central nervous system. There are symmetrical muscle wasting and polyneuritis.
Wet beriberi is B1 deficiency affecting the heart.
Dilated cardiomyopathy which is high output cardiac failure, oedema which is a collection of water in the body cells are the symptoms of wet beriberi.
In alcoholics, there can be Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which has a classic triad of symptoms- ataxia (unbalanced gait), ophthalmoplegia (eye gaze affected) and confusion.
Vitamin B2 deficiency can cause fissures at the corners of the mouth and corneal vascularisation.
Vitamin B3 deficiency a rash around the collar bones called casal necklace, diarrhea, and dementia with hallucinations. Vit B3 deficiency disease is called pellagra.
Vit B5 and Vit B7 will cause alopecia, dermatitis if found to be deficient.
Vit B6 deficiency will cause sideroblastic anemia.
Folic acid deficiency causes macrocytic megaloblastic anemia in which the RBC’s are larger than normal because enough DNA is not synthesized for them to divide.
Folic acid deficiency is usually seen in alcoholic and pregnancy.
It is important to give folic acid to women who are planning to conceive and who are pregnant to avoid neural tube defects in the fetus.
Recommended Daily Allowance
Thiamine and Riboflavin
RDA for women aged 19 and above is 1.1 mg/day, and Males aged 14 and above require 1.2 mg/day.
RDA for females and males aged 14 and older is 14 mg/day and 16 mg/day, respectively. Pantothenic acid
RDA is 5 mg/day for everyone aged 14 and older.
RDA for people in the age group of 19 to 50 years need 1.3 mg daily.
RDA for men above 50 years is 1.7 mg and a much higher amount of 5.1 mg in women of similar age.
RDA for both genders above age 14 is 2.4 mcg, and children between 9 to 13 years require a lower dose of 1.8 mcg per day.
RDA of 400 mcg per day is required for ages older than 14. Requirement increases and becomes vital during pregnancy to prevent congenital disabilities of the CNS like spina bifida.
Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Vit B12 deficiency is dangerous as it causes myelin degeneration. Myelin is a coating of the nerve fibers.
This can cause subacute combined degeneration which manifests as weakness and tingling of the limbs.
Burning sensation in the feet is a common complaint.
As B12 is responsible for the synthesis of RBC’s, its lack causes decreased the number of RBC’s which are large, and this is called megaloblastic, macrocytic anemia.
Becosule capsule can be started in such patients to be taken once or twice every day for six months or more depending on the advice of the doctor.
B Complex Vitamins Vs. Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B complex is a set of eight different vitamins all of which are water soluble and essential for the body whereas Vit B12 is a single vitamin belonging to the family of Vit B complex.
- B complex is absorbed in the jejunum, and Vit B12 is absorbed in the ileum.
- B complex does not require assistance for absorption, but B12 requires the presence of an intrinsic factor in the stomach for its absorption.
Deficiency of intrinsic factor can indirectly lead to B12 deficiency causing pernicious anemia.
- B complex is rich in plant sources compared to B12 which can be found only in animal sources.
- General cellular metabolism requires B complex vitamins, but B12 is specifically required for the proper functioning of the nervous system and red blood cells.
- Supplements of Vit B complex will contain all eight B vitamins of the family, but Vit B12 supplements will have only a single Vit B12.
There can be foods fortified with either B complex or only B12.
There are also tablets like Becosule capsule available which contain all eight B
complex vitamins and can be taken to avoid or treat deficiency.
Vit B12 is also available in the injection form for severe deficiency and nasal spray.
Usually, the toxicity of Vit B complex is rare as they are water soluble vitamins and will be eliminated in the urine if found in excess in the body.
But temporary symptoms due to toxicity are listed below:
- Nausea, insomnia, or restlessness are the symptoms of excessive intake of Vit B complex.
- Rashes resembling acne or spinal lesions may be seen on over-consumption of Vit B12 supplements.
Primary keyword: Becosule capsules
LSI keywords: vitamin B complex, vitamin B12, supplements, deficiency, vegetarian, RDA.