How to Improve B-Vitamin Absorption

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How to Improve B-Vitamin Absorption (Image: NelliSyr/iStock/GettyImages)

Making sure you are getting all 13 essential vitamins, including the eight B vitamins, goes a long way toward keeping your body fit and your brain active. Most B vitamins are not stored in your body, so it is crucial to get them as part of a healthy diet. While vitamins such as B-12 are most often found in meats, seafood, dairy products and eggs, they are also present in many fruits and vegetables, allowing you to keep your nutrient levels up while you keep fat consumption and calories down. Some B vitamins are not easily absorbed on their own, so you need to pair them with other foods.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency Causes

A lack of B vitamins in your body can cause fatigue, according to the Australian health experts at Better Health Channel. Even though B vitamins do not provide energy, they help support the mechanisms through which energy is extracted from the foods you eat. Other symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency include itchy, dry, flaky or dull skin; muscle aches and weakness; insomnia; irritability; and problems concentrating and performing mental tasks. A B-12 deficiency can cause serious issues, according to Medical News Today. Vitamin B-12 benefits include supporting neurological functions and helping to manufacture DNA, which is needed to create new cells.

Foods Containing Vitamin B

The B vitamins include B-1, or thiamin; B-2, or riboflavin; B-3, or niacin; pantothenic acid; vitamin B-6; biotin, or B-7; folate; and vitamin B-12, according to the United Kingdom's National Health Service. Foods that are high in vitamin B include meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, peas and dried beans, nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables and fruits. Singapore's Healthxchange.sg advises consulting with your health-care provider to ensure you are getting enough B vitamins in your diet. If not, you might want to consider taking a supplement.

Foods That Support Vitamin B Absorption

Most B vitamins are easy for your body to absorb without you having to worry about combining them. But, according to Christina DeBusk at Chiropractic Economics, certain things can inhibit vitamin B absorption. Vitamin B-12 can be inhibited by certain antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, and by acid reflux medicines, ulcer medications and Metformin, which is used to treat diabetes. Fortunately, folate, or folic acid, helps your body absorb vitamin B-12 — so load up on spinach and dark green salads if you must take any of these medications.

While a lack of B vitamins is most often caused by poor diet, you can also deplete your body of biotin in your quest to maintain a low-fat diet. Biotin is necessary for skin health, so not having enough can cause dry, brittle skin and nails and painful cracks at the corners of your mouth. Biotin absorption is inhibited by a substance in egg whites, so if you have been skipping the yolks, you might want to resume eating them.

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