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The Prediabetes Nutritionist

B vitamins are essential for midlife women - the best sources

B Vitamins are Essential for Midlife Women (The Best Sources)

Our nutritional needs change as we enter midlife, and we must be mindful of the vitamins and minerals we consume. One group of vitamins that is often overlooked but plays a crucial role in women’s health during this phase is the B vitamins.

B vitamins are vital for processing carbohydrates and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. They also support the nervous system and reduce homocysteine levels, a protein that can increase the risk of various health conditions such as stroke, osteoporosis, bone fractures, and cognitive decline [1-3].

The B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacinamide (B3), folate (B9), biotin (B7), cobalamin (B12), pyridoxine (B6), and pantothenic acid (B5). While most B vitamin deficiencies are rare, cobalamin and folate deficiencies are common in women, and older adults are at a higher risk of developing B vitamin deficiencies [1].

  • Signs of B vitamin deficiency include
  • Anaemia
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss.

Sources of B Vitamins

The best sources of B vitmains

To get enough B vitamins, we should consume a balanced diet that includes whole grains, leafy green vegetables, dairy, eggs, meats, fish, nuts, and seeds. Here are some examples of the B vitamin content in common foods per serving:

  • Thiamin: pork chops (3 oz) – 0.5-0.9 mg; black beans (1/2 cup) – 0.2 mg
  • Riboflavin: beef liver (3 oz) – 3.5 mg; low-fat milk (1 cup) – 0.4-0.5 mg
  • Niacin: chicken breast (3 oz) – 10 mg; peanut butter(3 oz) – 4.5 mg
  • Folate: boiled spinach (1/2 cup) – 131 mcg; fortified breakfast cereal (1 serving) – 100-400 mcg
  • Biotin: cooked egg (1 large) – 10-20 mcg; almonds (1 oz) – 1.5-6 mcg
  • Cobalamin: beef liver (3 oz) – 58 mcg; fortified breakfast cereal (1 serving) – 1.5-6 mcg
  • Pyridoxine: roasted chicken breast (3 oz) – 0.5-0.6 mg; baked potato with skin (1 medium) – 0.4-0.6 mg
  • Pantothenic acid: cooked shiitake mushrooms (1/2 cup) – 1.3-1.4 mg; (3 oz) – 0.6-1.2 mg

The recommended daily intake of B vitamins for adults is as follows:

  • Thiamin: 1.1-1.2 mg
  • Riboflavin: 1.1-1.3 mg
  • Niacin: 14-16 mg
  • Folate: 400 mcg (600 mcg for pregnant women)
  • Biotin: 30 mcg
  • Cobalamin: 2.4 mcg
  • Pyridoxine: 1.3-1.7 mg
  • Pantothenic acid: 5 mg

Sample day of eating

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms (vitamins B2, B3, B6 & B12)
Snack: Greek yoghurt with mixed berries (vitamins B2 and B12)
Lunch: Grilled salmon salad with mixed greens, black beans, avocado and cherry tomatoes (Vitamins B1, B6 and B12)
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast, baked potato with skin and steamed broccoli (vitamins B3, B5 and B6)

If you’re unsure about getting enough B vitamins, consult your physician. They can arrange blood tests to determine if you need supplements to boost your intake.

In summary, B vitamins are essential for women’s health in midlife. They play a vital role in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, supporting the nervous system, and reducing the risk of various health conditions. If necessary, eating a balanced diet and taking supplements can help ensure you’re getting enough B vitamins.


  • Cheng, D., Kong, H., Peng, W., Yang, H., Lu, H., Huang, C., & Jiang, Y (2016) B vitamin supplementation improves cognitive function in the middle-aged and elderly with hyperhomocysteinemia (2016). Nutritional Neuroscience, 19(10: 461-466.
  • Odai, T., Terauchi, M., Suzuki, R., Kato, K., Hirose, A., & Miyasaka. N (2020) Depressive symptoms in middle-aged and elderly women are associated with a low intake of vitamin B6: a cross-sectional study.

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