Be Informed!


We are all aware of the fact that vitamins and minerals are essential for our optimal wellbeing and for the proper functioning of our physical activities.  As a matter of fact, a lack in a certain type of vitamin or minerals can actually pose a health risk and may lead to myriad of conditions which affects our body. In this article, we wish to highlight some of the symptoms that you might notice if you lack the good ol’ vitamin B. In general, there are 8 types of B vitamins.

Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies functioning at its best. These nutrients help convert our food into fuel, thus allowing us to stay energized throughout our daily routine. All B vitamins are water soluble, meaning that the body does not store them. In today’s article, we will look at the importance of vitamins B1 and B2.

Vitamin B1 - Thiamine

Vitamin B1, which is also known as thiamine or thiamin, is one of 8 B vitamins. Vitamin B1 aids the body in making healthy new cells. It’s often called an anti-stress vitamin because of its ability to protect the immune system. When carbo-loading (either if you want to prepare for a marathon or simply because you love pizza), this vitamin is necessary to help break down these simple carbohydrates. The body needs thiamine to form ATP or Adenosine TriPhosphate which is used by each and every cell of the body for energy. In addition, Vitamin B1 helps boost the immune system and strengthen the body when it is exposed to stressful conditions.

What does a deficiency result in?

It is kind of rare to have a deficiency in Vitamin B1 – alcoholics, people with anorexia, people who undergo dialysis can be deficient.

People having thiamine deficiency could find it difficult to digest carbohydrates. This results in a compound called pyruvic acid to increase its buildup in the blood, resulting in loss of mental alertness, heart damage and difficulty in breathing.These are symptoms of a disease called Beriberi. Although this disease is not seen in people from the developed world, it is good to know about it. Symptoms of beriberi include:

  • Confusion

  • Swelling, burning or tingling sensation in hands and feet

  • Inability to control eye movemebts

  • Breathing difficulty due to presence of fluid in lungs


Although not proved, preliminary research evidence indicates that thiamine, together with other nutrients, can possibly reduce the risk of development of cataract. Those who consume a diet rich in protein and vitamins A, B1 B2, B3 are not as likely to develop cataract. Taking in other nutrients such as Vitamins C, B complex, E can protect the lenses of our eyes from cataract development. However, further research is necessary.


Decreased amounts of thiamine in the blood is said to be seen in people with depression.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of thiamine include headaches, nausea fatigue, irritability and depression. Most of the foods that we consume contain small amounts of thiamine.

What are the foods rich in Vitamin B1?

Large amounts of thiamine can be found in pork, beef and poultry while peanuts, kale legumes and nuts are also good sources of vitamin B1.

B2 -Riboflavin

Riboflavin is a vitamin that is needed for growth and overall good health. It aids the body in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats for the production of energy, and it allows oxygen to be used by the body. Free radicals are known to damage the cells and DNA, and may also contribute to aging. Moreover, it plays a role in the development of certain health conditions, such as heart diseases and cancer. Antioxidants, such as riboflavin, can fight free radicals and may reduce or even play a role in helping to prevent some of the damage they cause. An individual who practices a healthy diet would generally get enough vitamin B2.

A few diseases that could be prevented or treated with riboflavin supplementation include anaemia, neonatal jaundice, anorexia, cognitive function, cataract, migraines and depression.

What happens when there is a lack of Vitamin B2 in the body?

As such there will not be any major problems apart from the presenting symptoms. It is better to not have any deficiency of essential vitamins at any point of time, right?

Who is more susceptible to this deficiency?

The elderly or alcoholics may face a deficiency in vitamin B2.

What might be the symptoms of this deficiency?

Some of the symptoms include fatigue, digestive problems, sores in the corners of the mouth, swollen magenta-colored tongue, slowed growth, swelling and sore throats. The resulting deficiency is called Ariboflavinosis.

What happens when there is an excess intake of Vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2 as mentioned earlier is a water-soluble vitamin. Excess amount of riboflavin is usually excreted in the urine – don’t be shocked to see your urine a bright yellow colour when you consume vitamin B complex supplements. Fun fact – the bright fluorescent yellow like colour is due to the presence of the “Flavin” component in riboflavin which exudes fluorescent colour. This is temporary and can be seen for about 12 hours after taking the supplements.

However, extremely high doses may put you at  risk of kidney stones. Some other effects that could occur due to high dosage of Vitamin B2 include itching, sensitivity to light, numbness, prickling or burning sensations.


So, what kinds of foods are rich in Vitamin B2?

It is best to consume riboflavin rich foods in order to do away with the deficiency. Riboflavin is found in eggs, soybeans, mushroom, meats, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, nuts and dairy products.


In conclusion, supplements are not really necessary as vitamin B1 and B2 can be found in an array of many delicious foods that are already readily available all around us. All we have to do as masters of our own body is to ensure that we practice a wholesome diet of fruit, vegetables meats and grains to get ourselves the right dose of vitamin B.

Apart from these symptoms, a simple blood test can help you find out if you have a B Vitamin deficiency. All you need to do is click here

by Kevin

An average 22 year old with an unquenchable thirst for adventure and new experiences. Living life as it comes :) View all articles by Kevin.


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