Vitamin B Ask Me!

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Vitamin B is an essential vitamin and micronutrient that cannot be produced in the body. In addition to being found in whole grains, legumes, meats, and fish, it is commercially synthesized and sold as a dietary supplement and medication. Vitamin B is vital for several metabolic processes, such as the breakdown of glucose and amino acids. 

Prior to the discovery of vitamins, diseases caused by malnutrition were rampant. Research into vitamins traces back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when physicians and biochemists wanted to understand the causes of often fatal diseases such as beriberi. The researchers discovered that animals fed machine-purified protein, fat, and carbohydrates was not enough, and that those given unprocessed food fared much better. After biochemists began isolating these components in food, the race to synthesize vitamins began in the 1930s, which led to the discovery of not only different vitamins such as A and B, but also variants such as B6 and B12. 


Lindblom, K. (n.d.). Celebrating the history of B vitamin research with ACS. ACS Axial.

Thiamine. (2023) MedLinePlus.

Catalog ID AM0040