B Vitamins – Vitamin B2 B3 and B4
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin as it is better known is a water soluble vitamin and is crucial to the production of energy and is a well known anti-oxidant. As it is water soluble it is not stored in any great amount in the body and therefore a deficiency of the vitamin can be quite common. The best natural sources of the vitamin are milk, liver, kidneys, cheese and leafy green vegetables.
It is believed that this vitamin may help protect the body against cancer, promote growth and assist in the provision of healthy skin and hair. It also helps the body metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrates, aids vision and boosts athletic performance.
The symptoms of deficiency in Vitamin B2 can include:
- Reddening of the tongue
- Eczema of skin and genitals
- Cracked skin and mucus membranes
It is suggested that an increase in intake is necessary during pregnancy, breastfeeding, taking the pill and heavy drinking. It is best taken in normal circumstances as part of a daily vitamin B complex supplement. It has been found to be toxic in very high dosages however minor rare symptoms include itching and burning of the skin.
Vitamin B3 or Niacin as it is better known is another water soluble vitamin and is essential for the synthesis of sex hormones and a healthy nervous system. Niacin is also believed to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of schizophrenia as well as its ability to help purge toxins from the body. Natural sources of the vitamin are liver, lean meat, whole grains, peanuts, eggs and fish.
It is also believed that Niacin may assist in lowering cholesterol and thereby help maintain a healthy heart. It produces energy from sugar, fat and protein and helps to maintain healthy skin, nerves, tongue and aids digestion.
The symptoms of deficiency in Vitamin B3 can include:
Whilst large doses may be used therapeutically this should only be under the close supervision of a healthcare specialist. Indications of toxicity include depression, liver malfunction, flushing and headaches but these should only occur with doses in excess of 120mg. For general supplementation it is recommended that Vitamin B3 is taken as part of a B-complex supplement.
Adenine was at one time referred to as Vitamin B4. However it s no lomger considered a true vitamin or part of the Vitamin B Complex.