How Complex is B-complex?

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page

What is it? Do you need it? Why do you need it? How can you get it?

Vitamins are classified depending upon their solubility. There are broadly two types:

Fat Soluble Vitamins: These are the vitamins which are stored in adipose tissues and hence called fat soluble. These are Vit A, D, E and K.

Water Soluble Vitamins: This group of vitamins are soluble in water and hence whatever is not by the body passes through urine and hence we need to take them regularly in our diet. These are Vit B and C.

In this blog, we would discuss in detail all the eight types of Vit B.

BVitamins is a group of vitamins found in a wide range of food and hence most of us are unlikely to suffer from a chronic deficiency of it. But as it’s water soluble and not stored in the body, we need to take them regularly.

Certain medical conditions, ageing, dietary choices might cause some of us to take supplements as they increase our bodies need for B vitamins.

First, let’s get to know more about B complex to understand its supplements and if you need them or not.

What is the B Complex?

There are eight types of B vitamins and a supplement that contains all of these nutrients is called as B-Complex.

Let’s take a look at all the eight B vitamins, their functions, and source.

B1 (Thiamin):This converts carbohydrates to energy. It is needed for glucose metabolism. It is also important for heart, nerve and muscle function.

The richest sources of Thiamin includes whole grains, sunflower seeds, outer layers and germ of cereals, beef, pork, nuts, pulses, cauliflower, oranges, eggs, and potatoes.

Washing, processing, heating and pasteurisation (milk) of food can reduce the thiamine content. Throwing cooking water would also drain some thiamine as it is soluble in water.

Deficiency of thiamin is rare but insufficient absorption or over exceretion might cause it in some of us. Its deficiency might cause anorexia, confusion, short term memory loss.

Beriberi is the most common disease caused by deficiency of this vitamin.

Whole Wheat and Grains: Excellent Source of Thiamin (Vit B1)

B2 (riboflavin):Vit B2 plays instrumental role in breaking down of protein, carbohydrates, and also acts as an antioxidant. It is needed to keep your skin, liver, muscles and eyes healthy.

Eggs, milk,almonds, organ meats (liver and kidney), green vegetables, and mushrooms etc are good sources of riboflavin.

It’s deficiency is rare but in case you have it, you might have deficiency of other vitamins as well.

Vegeterian atheltes who don’t take even milk, egg, cheese are likely to have deficiency of ribolflavin.

Exercise produces stress in the metabolic pathways that use riboflavin. Hence, veg atheletes might need to consult a sports dietician for avoiding this potential problem.

Green Vegetables: Excellent Source of B3 and Other Vitamins and Minerals

B3 (niacin):Niacin is converted into another metabolic active form by most of cells in the human body, called NAD. NAD helps in catalysing reactions for over 400 enzyems in the body. Niacin is intrumental in DNA production and repair, cellular signaling, and metabolism etc.

Chicken, tuna, lentils, whole wheat, peanuts, avacado, sweet potatoes, brown rice, mushrooms and grean peas are good sources of niacin.

Severe deficiency of niacin might cause Pellegra. In pellegra, upon exposure to sun, skin experiences brown discolouration and pigmented rashes.

Taking higher doses (from natural source) doesn’t cause much harm as it is excreted through urine.

Patient Exhibiting Pallegra Symptoms

B5 (pantothenic acid):Pantothenic comes from a Greek word pantothen, which means from all sides and as Vit B5 found in plenty of food sources hence it is named Pantothenic acid (coming from everywhere).

It’s a relatively lesser known vitamin because it’s deficiency is extremely rare. It’s deficiency might make you more sensitive to insulin, nausea, tiredness, apathy etc.

Like most vitamins it helps in synthesis and metabolism of fat, protein and coenzyme A. It helps in keeping the digestive system healthy and in absorption of other vitamins.

Meat from wide range of animals like pork, chicken, turkey etc, dairy products, legumes, tomatoes, avacado, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage etc are good sources for Vit B5.

Legumes: Excellent Source of Numerous Vitamins and Minerals including B Vitamins

B6 (pyridoxine):Pyridoxine plays key role in amino acid metabolism, and red blood cell production. It is involved with brain and immune system development of infants and during pregnancy. It also performs important role in over 100 enzyme reactions.

Just like most B vitamins deficiency of pyridoxine is also rare but groups of people are likely to have its deficiency. Like, people with improper functioning kidneys, alcohol dependence, and autoimmunce disorders.

Its symptoms might include, anemia, itchy rashes, swollen tongue, weak immune system, and confusion etc.

Best sources of pyridoxine include chickpeas, banana, beef, organ meat, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, cheese, watermelon, tofu, spinach etc.

Potatoes (Starchy Vegetables: Excellent source of B3, B6 and B7)

B7 (biotin): Vit B7 also known as coenzyme R , Vit H and biotin is used for metabolism of carbohydrate and fat. It also regulates gene expression. Biotin helps in for normal growth and development, embryonic growth and maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Its deficiency is rare just like other B vitamins but in case present can cause skin problems and hair loss.

Yeast, whole wheat, potatoes, broccoli, eggs, sunflower seeds, yoghurt, spinach, milk etc are good sources of biotin.

Just like most water soluble vitamins its high doses (from natural food) are also harmless as it is excreted via urine.

Biotin Spacefill 3-D Model

B9 (folate): Folate is needed to make DNA and other genetic material in the body. It helps in division of cell. Folic Acid is a form of folate that is found in fortified food and supplements.

It’s deficiency is also rare but certain groups are more likely to have it. For example, people with poor digestion and a particular genetic mutation which makes it harder to convert folate (dietory) to supplemental folic acid.

Its deficiency might cause anaemia, hearing loss, memory loss, tiredness, shortness of breathe etc.

Liver, oranges, green leafy vegetables, banana, papaya, nuts, beans, legumes, beets and egss are excellent sources of Folate.

Ball stick model of Folic Acid

B12 (cobalamin): Cobalamin is vital for neurological functioning of human body. It is probably the most recognised of all the B vitamins. Cobalamin also helps in DNA production and Red Blood Cell development.

Vitamin B12 is absorbed in our bodies in two steps.

1. First, HCL in the stomach separates cobalamin from the protein to which it is attached in food.

2. Then, Cobalamin combines with a protein called intrinsic factor made by the stomach. After that it’s absored by the body.

A medical condition called pernicious anemia, doesn’t let stomach make make intrinsic factor. Hence, people suffering from this medical condition have trouble absorbing B12 causing its deficiency. Although, most people get enough supply of B12 and its deficiency is rare. But if present it might cause, weakness, constipation, weight loss, loss of apetite etc.

Milk,cheese, yoghurt, eggs, beef liver, fish and other animal products contain B12 .

B12 isn’t found in plant based sources as per current knowledge, although some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods supplements that use B12 sourced from bacteria culture.

Some companies are claiming to derive some formulations from certain plant sprouts in recent times. We are researching on that. As soon as we have more information and solid evidence, we would share it with you in an upcoming blog.

Vitamin-B12-Co-centre-3D-balls: Source Wikimedia

Other than B12, all other B vitamins can be managed from veg sources. If you’re vegetarian then for B12, you can eat dairy products like milk, curd, cheese and fortified breakfast cereals for keeping up with the need of B12 in your body.

It is evident that most of us can maintain healthy levels of all B vitamins that make B complex by eating a healthy balanced diet as they are found in abundance in a wide range of plant and food items.

Hence, most of us don’t need any supplements of the B complex. Excess dosage of these B vitamins from natural food doesn’t cause any harm.

But excess of any of these B vitamins from supplements might interfere with other drugs and medication and biological processes.

That’s why it is advised that you take a balanced diet and rely on natural sources of food for B vitamins.

An exception might be made in case one has a chronic medical condition. For that one must consult a physician before taking any supplements.

Eating different seasonal fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, milk, curd, cereals, grains, oil seeds, and nuts etc regularly one can easily manage not just B vitamins but almost all nutrients for our body.

Hope, now you can see, B complex is not that complex. 🙂

Happy, and healthy eating to all.

Please let’s know your feedback and if there is anything you would like us to write about.


Did You Know, The Capsule That You Eat Is Made Up Of Slaughtered Cows/Pigs And Other Animals?

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page

Yes, the capsules that you take as medication/supplement are made by skins and bones of mass slaughtered animals like cows/pigs/sheep etc.

Surprised? Well, don’t be. This is a not so known dark reality and a lot of people who are strict vegetarians are against any kind of animal cruelty contribute to it almost everyday.

How these capsules are made?

The capsules that are used in pharmaceutical, health and wellness industry for encapsulating different type of medicines, drugs, supplements etc are made up of a jelly like substance, called GELATIN.

Some people consume GELATIN in other forms directly/indirectly for weight loss, bone diseases and other medical condition being completely unaware of the fact that they are consuming skin and bones of slaughtered animals.

Gelatin is also used in sweets and other food items. A lot of candies, jellies, gummy candies are made by prolonger boiling of bones, cartilages of slaughtered animals. It is also used in a lot of cosmetics that we use everyday.

What the hell is GELATIN?

Gelatin is a protein that is produced after partial hydrolysis of collagen. Collagen is obtained from different body parts of mass slaughtered animals like cows, ox, sheep, pigs, etc. The skin, bones, ligaments, cartilages and bones of these mass slaughtered animals are used to make the Gelatin, which in turn is used to make the capsules that almost all of us use every now and then in our daily lives but never knew.

If most of us had any idea then probably we won’t take them and look for alternatives which are more animal and nature friendly.

In the upcoming blogs we would bring to you more on this topic like alternatives of Gelatin, government’s policy to tackle this and what can you do to refrain from these capsules without hurting your needs and well being.

Mahua Flower Based Wines

The Mahua drink is reportedly so delicious that Felix Padel, a visiting professor of anthropology at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) is of the opinion that ‘scotch and wine could face a tough competition in India if local varieties like mahua… are made available in their unadulterated form.’  This popularity and love for the Mahua among enthusiasts hints to the potential of business around the Mahua tree, that can help:

i. increase incomes of tribals;

ii. popularize Mahua drinks among and give legal access to the general public;

iii. set quality standards for Mahua beverage, and;

iv. combat deforestation.

~ By Natalia P Hule :

The idea that wines based out of Mahua flowers could be a viable business opportunity, a potential to have a wine rooted in India compete with wines around the world, increase sustainable income for tribals, and combat deforestation at the same time — is surely an exciting one.

A perfect case for a social-entrepreneurship business that i am interested in launching.

In my quick googling i found papers published on the topic of wine-making with Mahua, specifically this one titled “Mahua Wine Preparation: Effect of Location of variety, temperature of fermentation and additives on the Physico-Chemical and Sensory Qualities” by Dr. Neelima Garg.

In her conclusion, Natalia P Hule, points out that:

…the Govt. of India is trying to promote “Wines of India” and Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority has been entrusted to develop a strategy. The suggestion for large scale commercial production of tribal Mahua wine, under the auspices of a Farmer Producer Company, finds resonance with the policy of the Government of India with regards to wine. The implementation of this idea needs further elaboration without a doubt. Currently, FPCs are not known to do big business in India. FPCs for local brews like Mahua liquor, rice beer, guava wines, etc can change this scenario. If successful, the tribal belt will see great growth of income and our traditional brews will make it to the tables of the well-heeled.

Leaving wine-making to a government body or to FPCs is not a viable answer to achieve either of the the objectives of “promoting Wines of India” or use Mahua wines as a means to promote tribal income generation. In my free-markets worldview, and just as is the case with rural education being transformed by small privately run schools, if Mahua wines have to achieve their potential the it has to be led by several privately run businesses.

Earthy Wisdom – Women organic farmers of eastern UP show the way

With her one-acre farm, Ramrati and her husband Rambahal are able to sustain their 12-member family throughout the year and earn a monthly income.

————————With her one-acre farm, Ramrati and her husband Rambahal are able to sustain their 12-member family throughout the year and earn a monthly income.


With her one-acre farm, Ramrati and her husband Rambahal are able to sustain their 12-member family throughout the year and earn a monthly income.

At a time of widespread concerns about the crisis situation faced by an increasing number of farmers, the remarkable achievements of some women organic farmers have appeared like a ray of hope in Gorakhpur district of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Prabhavati Devi is one such farmer based in Dudhai village (Sardarnagar block). Along with her husband Suryabhan she owns one and a half acres of land. It is a very small farm, but this family utilised it in such a well-planned way that this small piece of land provides nutritious food to the 10 member family all through the year, apart from earning them a steady cash income all through the year. In addition, the cost of cultivation is kept very low. The quality of grain, vegetables and other produce is very good as no chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used. Hence the vegetables grown here have many eager buyers.

Another interesting aspect of this family is that while all members make their contribution, the leadership role of Prabhadevi is clearly and easily accepted. This became obvious from the way in which she provided us all the details and guided us in the farm at the time of our visit. Prabhavati, 53, follows the ‘food first’ approach by trying to meet as many of her family’s food needs from the small farm. So not only her family’s grain (rice, wheat, maize) and vegetables (over 20) but also many pulses, oilseeds and spices are grown on this small field. Every nook and corner is utilised in a judicious way to grow some food crop or the other. The way in which one plant can support another crop – for example by providing shade – is kept in mind while growing various diverse crops. Fruit trees like mango, banana, jack fruit, bel, papaya, mulberry, lemon and pomegranates also have a place in the farm. Medicinal plants like tulsi and jwarankura have a place of honour in the fields.

All this is nice, but obviously Prabhavati cannot ignore the cash needs of her family. So, various crops are planned in such a way that beyond the family’s needs, a cycle of vegetables, fruits and other crops for the market is ensured. Prabhavati has also leased a small plot on sharecropping basis to grow groundnuts for the market.

When an attempt was made to count all the crops grown by her on the small farm, more than 50 crops could be counted. Fuel wood and small timber needs were also met by the bamboo grown. In addition there were three buffaloes and four goats. Last but not the least important component of Prabhavati’s success is how she makes judicious use of local resources to provide her farm inputs and does not purchase any fertilizers or pesticides from the market. She and her family prepare their own compost. Here also they improvise – when they could not easily buy cement for the composting tank, they made do with branches and bamboos from their own field. To prepare pest-repellants, Prabhavati uses neem and dhatura plants as well as cow’s urine. Her main cash expense is on diesel for the borewell.

Prabhavati inherited a field of low fertility, but her farming methods have improved the fertility of soil. This was achieved at a time when elsewhere complains of nutrient depletion of soil are common. Prabhavati has also trained other women in organic farming practices, something she has gained knowledge about after nearly 13 years of such farming.

The pattern of successful organic farming followed by Ramrati in Sarpathan village (Compereganj block) is somewhat similar. Using her one-acre farm in a very careful way, Ramrati and her husband Rambahal are able to provide nutritious, wholesome food to their 12-member family throughout the year, and in addition earn a monthly average income of Rs. 3000.

Ramrati, like Prabhavati, clearly plays a leadership role in the farm. She also uses innovative ways for getting her banana (and other fruit) crop market-ready so that the use of harmful chemicals can be avoided. In recent years, Ramrati has emerged as a much-in-demand master-trainer of sustainable mixed farming.

Similarly, Dhaneshwari and Sonpati of Avadhpur village, Shanti Devi of Dudhai village as well as other women farmers of this area have rich experiences of low-cot, environment-friendly highly diverse and productive farming. What is common to all these women is that they were all contacted some years back by Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG).

They attribute their exposure to alternative farming practices and their subsequent success largely to the guidance they received from the organization. But as the director of GEAG, Shiraj Wazih says, “We just provided some training, ultimately it is their own dedication, hard work, earthy wisdom and on-the-work innovativeness which gave these good results.”

Dearth of ideas on roof-top solar for Delhi govt

In many countries it is now possible to feed electricity from solar roof top systems into the grid. What that means is you put up a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on your roof and when it produces more electricity than you need you can sell it to your utility for a fixed price. The consumer becomes a producer and one can actually make money instead of paying the electricity bills. This mechanism is called ‘net-metering’.

In the end of last year the Ministry for Renewable Energy (MNRE) asked theCentral Electricity Authority (CEA) to work out a protocol for how to adopt net-metering in India (

However, the Delhi state government recently seems to have given up on the plans for roof-top solar feeding power to the grid ( The idea was to have 1 MW of solar systems up on roof-tops of buildings in the capital but part of the plan has been scrapped for fears that people with solar PV systems may run diesel or gas generators instead to feed power into the grid and profit from any difference.

The risk of some installers trying to get undue gains from the policy is something that must be kept in mind but by admitting defeat it seems as if the Delhi Government is just out of ideas. If the risk is production from alternate sources such as diesel, then there must be other ways to address the weakness.


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NextDrop – Getting Reliable Information on Water Availability

NextDrop provides households with accurate and timely information about local piped water delivery, over cell phones already widely in use in India. This information comes from water utility employees who call our interactive voice response system when they open valves to distribute water. These reports are used to generate real-time water availability updates and notifications 30-60 minutes in advance of water delivery. In addition, NextDrop uses crowd-sourcing to verify the accuracy of utility reports and create a feedback loop, introducing much needed visibility for engineers in the water utility.