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Vitamin B by Paramhansa Yogananda


Vitamins are elements of such vital importance that if any one of them is entirely missing from the diet for a few months the result is very serious. Each vitamin has a separate and distinct mission to perform which cannot be supplied by any other.

Vitamins are not the same as mineral salts but are often confused with them because they are found in the same parts of animals, vegetables, and grains and may be removed at the same time in the milling of grain or in the cooking of vegetables


Vitamins are produced in plants but cannot be made in the human body, and therefore, it is necessary to get them through food. Animals get their supply through eating plants. Vegetarians get them directly from vegetables, fruits, and grains and so do not depend on a second-hand supply from eating liver and other parts of animals.

Vitamin B is found chiefly in the seeds of plants and in the eggs and internal organs of animals. In general, a large amount of foods containing vitamin B is necessary in the diet because each contains such a small amount.

Only two foods, wheat germ and yeast extract, are very rich in vitamin B. Both may be obtained commercially now.

Because of the high vitamin content of germ, bran, and middlings, it is very essential that they should not be separated from flour in milling. The whole grain of wheat, rye, barley, and maize should be used for human food


A deficiency of vitamin B, according to Colonel McCarrison in his book “Deficiency Diseases,” causes “(l) A loss of appetite or a depraved appetite, that is, a craving for unnatural food, (2) Indigestion. (3) Bouts of diarrhea may alternate with constipation. (4) Colitis. (5) Loss of weight, weakness, headache, anemia, unhealthy skin, subnormal temperature, heart trouble.”

Some of the foods containing vitamin B are whole meal flour, whole barley, whole unpolished rice, oatmeal, rye, nuts, eggs, milk, peas, beans, lentils, and yeast. It is also present in small amounts in nearly all fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes and spinach.

Because it is soluble in water, care should be taken to use the water that vegetables are cooked in. Better still, steam your vegetables.

Praecepta Lessons, Volume 3 (1938): Praeceptum #59



If you would build a sound constitution, increase your immunity to disease, and augment your supply of energy; see that you have an abundant supply of vitamins in your daily diet. They are essential food elements, and not medicines, and a chronic deficiency of one or more of them produces many borderline states of ill health, including among a long list scanty, lusterless hair, dryness of skin, lack of energy, and a generally run down condition.

We continue the discussion of vitamin B begun in Praeceptum No. 59.ctx_py_Praecepta_20590

A shortage of this vitamin causes “gastrointestinal troubles, loss of weight, neuritis, breaking down of organic functions, anemia, and in extreme cases, beriberi.” Less defined results are nervousness, poor appetite, constipation, tired feeling and general weakness, and in children a cessation of growth.

There is probably more often a deficiency of vitamin B in the diet than of any other vitamin. Since the body does not store a reserve supply, some foods rich in this vitamin should be included in every meal. An extra supply of vitamin B is very necessary in the diet of expectant and nursing mothers in order to avoid many of the disturbances of pregnancy, and to furnish the required elements for growth and strength to the baby.

The best sources of vitamin B are wheat germ, yeast, egg yolk, peas, beans, lentils, whole grain cereals, bananas, and tomatoes. Many other fruits and green vegetables contain it in lesser amounts. (See longer list in Praeceptum No. 59ctx_py_Praecepta_20590)

All the vitamins are necessary in the normal diet for real health and vigor. It is impossible to get one of them at a time for they do not appear singly in nature. There are always two or more in combination in vegetables, fruits, eggs, etc.

It is possible these days to buy cereals, meals, and flours from which the life-giving elements have not been removed, and which are freshly ground. Look up your nearest Health Food Store and obtain food that you can depend upon.

A very nourishing and health-giving breakfast dish is made of flaked whole wheat (cooked like oatmeal) with uncooked, vitamin-bearing, wheat germ sprinkled over the top like ground nuts. Honey and cream may be added. Both the wheat products are sold by Health Food Stores.

Praecepta Lessons, Volume 3 (1938): Praeceptum #60