The B vitamin family is made up of 8 vitamins, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3, (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin). They all play an essential role in the healthy functioning of your body and research has shown that they can also help alleviate period pain and some of the other aspects that can be associated with your period, like tiredness. Since B vitamins are found in many foods, by following a well-rounded diet you should be able to consume enough to get a lot of the benefits.
Foods Rich in B Vitamins
Salmon is high in several B vitamins. A 100-gram cooked serving contains 50% of your RDI of B3, B6 and B12.
Leafy greens, especially spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, cabbage, beet greens and watercress are some of nature’s best sources of B9.
Eggs are a great source of B7, with a single egg containing 25% of your RDI.
Cow’s milk is high in B2, as well as a source of other B vitamins.
Legumes like edamame, chickpeas, lentils and black beans are rich in B9, with an 85g serving containing 30%-60% of your RDI.
Meat such as chicken, beef and pork are rich sources of all B vitamins.
Nuts and seeds such as macadamia, pistachio and sunflower are rich in B1 and B5. Nutritional yeast is an excellent vegetarian source of all B vitamins, with 2 tablespoons reaching your daily RDI for B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12.
It’s always best to get your vitamins and minerals from foods sources however, some people find it difficult to meet all their nutritional needs from food alone on a daily basis. Some people who eat a diet free from animal products can sometimes struggle to meet their RDIs. There are many complex B vitamin supplements available to buy if you and your healthcare provider think you might be deficient. As always, check the labels carefully as they vary widely in their strength, dosage recommendations and cost.
Recommended dosage for relieving period pain:
Research varies on the best dose of each of the B vitamins to relieve period pain, but most put the amount at around 150mgs of B1, B2 and B3, 400mcgs of B12 and 250mcg of B12 per day.
There are very few safety risks associated with meeting your B vitamin needs through the food you are eating. B vitamins are water soluble, which means that whatever your body doesn’t use will be excreted in your urine. However, you can still experience some negative side effects if you take excess B vitamins through supplementation. This can include flushed skin and tingling in your hands and feet. Very, very large amounts of B vitamins can cause damage to the liver and nervous system. As always, discuss taking supplements with your healthcare provider or pharmacist especially if you are taking other medications or have other health issues.