Vitamin B Complex is a collection of closely related vital nutrients. Heavy drinking, a junk-food diet, pregnancy, breast-feeding and the Pill can put you at risk of a shortage of B vitamins. They include:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): aids digestion, strengthens nervous system. Sources include: wheat-germ, wholemeal bread, pasta.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): keeps skin, hair and nails strong, aids growth and reproduction, prevents stress. Sources include: brewer's yeast, liver, kidney, milk.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): necessary for a healthy nervous system and brain, eases migraine, boosts energy, stops bad breath. Sources include: poultry, fish, nuts.

Pantothenic acid: helps in manufacture of sex hormones, necessary for a healthy nervous system and growth and development. Sources include: liver, kidney, fish, most vegetables.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): helps in manufacture of red blood cells and antibodies, aids digestion, maintains healthy skin. Sources include: chicken, pork, fish.

Inositol: keeps down cholesterol levels, said to prevent eczema. Sources include: grapefruit, raisins, molasses, cabbage.

Biotin (confusingly referred to as Vitamin H): helps stop hair turning grey, helps prevent baldness, eases muscle aches, treats skin complaints. Sources include: peanuts, dried beans, egg yolk.

Folic acid: helps production of red blood cells, improves efficiency of nervous system. Deficient during pregnancy or breast-feeding when supplements should be taken. Sources include: green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, peas.

Also Bs (though not members of the B complex):

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin): helps in manufacture of red blood cells in bone marrow, necessary to help body metabolise folic acid. Sources include: chicken, beef, pork, cheese.

Vitamin B13 (Orotic Acid): helps metabolise folic acid and Vitamin B12 and may prevent early ageing. Sources include: whey and root vegetables.

Vitamin B15 (Pangamic Acid): an anti-oxidant which helps prolong lifespan of the body's cells, protects against pollution, helps body process alcohol and boosts immune system. Sources include: brown rice, brewer's yeast, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

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