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ProVen Glossary

Have you come across a term or phrase that you don’t understand? Welcome to our Probiotics Glossary – designed to help explain the long list of jargon associated with the gut in general and probiotics in particular.
Vaginal thrush

Thrush is a common yeast infection that affects both men and women. Vaginal thrush is a yeast infection, known as Candida albicans, which has overgrown in the vagina and surrounding area. Symptoms of vaginal thrush include mild to severe itching and soreness in and around the vagina.

Vaginal microbiome

The vaginal microbiome is the bacteria that reside in the vagina. These bacteria form part of the overall human microbiome and help to support the health of the vagina, preventing pathogenic bacteria from causing infection in this area of the body. Lactobacillus is the main species of bacteria found in the vagina of healthy women.


Vegan/veganism is a term used to describe a person or the practice of following a plant-based diet, free of animal flesh or animal-derived ingredients.


A virus is the smallest type of infectious microbe that exists, being about 1/100th of the size of an average bacteria cell. A virus can only replicate itself inside the living cells of an organism (animal, plant, or bacteria). Examples of viruses include the norovirus and Ebola.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1: Thiamine – This vitamin supports energy metabolism, specifically that of carbohydrates. It also plays a role in muscle contraction and nerve connectivity. Thiamine deficiency can cause a number of diseases that include beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, optic neuropathy and Leigh disease. Thiamine is found in beef, liver, dried milk, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin – Riboflavin is an essential component of two major coenzymes, flavin mononucleotide (FMN; also known as riboflavin-5′-phosphate) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). These coenzymes play major roles in energy production; cellular function, growth, and development; and metabolism of fats, drugs, and steroids. Riboflavin deficiency symptoms and signs include a sore throat, lesions of the lips and mucosa of the mouth, glossitis, conjunctivitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and normochromic-normocytic anaemia. Riboflavin is found in eggs, nuts, dairy products, meat, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, Brussels sprouts, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms, soybeans, green leafy vegetables and whole-grain and enriched cereals and bread.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3: Niacin, Niacinamide, or Nicotinamide – As with other B vitamins, niacin plays a role in energy metabolism. More than 400 enzymes require NAD to catalyse reactions in the body. NAD is converted into another active form, the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), in all tissues except skeletal muscle. NAD is also required for enzymes involved in critical cellular functions, such as the maintenance of genome integrity, control of gene expression, and cellular communication. NADP, in contrast, enables anabolic reactions, such as the synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids, and plays a critical role in maintaining cellular antioxidant function. Vitamin B3 deficiency presents as inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, fatigue, and memory loss, known as pellagra.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid – Responsible for fatty acid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism and the primary factor for coenzyme A synthesis (CoA). Hair, skin, eyes, digestive tract, and the nervous system all depend on the presence of Vitamin B5 to develop or function. Deficiency presents as impaired muscle coordination, gastrointestinal problems, and headaches. Beef, poultry, organ meats, milk, eggs, grains, and some vegetables, particularly mushrooms and broccoli are good sources of pantothenic acid.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine – Its active form, pyridoxal 5β€²-phosphate, serves as a coenzyme in some 100 enzyme reactions in amino acid, glucose, and lipid metabolism. It also contributes to haemoglobin production in the blood. Deficiency presents as seborrheic dermatitis or cheilosis (dry and cracked) of the lips, glossitis (sore inflamed tongue). Low energy and mood plus a weakened immune function are also common presentations of B6 deficiency. Excessive supplementation of pyridoxine hydrochloride can lead to numbness of the limbs if taken in high doses (>10mg). Long term this can become permanent, known as peripheral neuropathy. Good sources of B6 are found in pork, poultry, fish, soya beans, wheat germ, oats, bananas, milk and peanuts.

Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7: Biotin – B7 is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Biotin is known to promote cell growth and is often a component of dietary supplements used for strengthening hair, skin and nails. Biotin occurs naturally in walnuts, peanuts, cereals, milk, egg yolks, wholemeal bread, salmon, pork, sardines, mushrooms, cauliflower, avocados, bananas and raspberries. Deficiency presents as hair loss and a characteristic scaly red rash around the eyes, nose and mouth, and in the genital area. Neurologic symptoms in adults have included depression, lethargy, hallucination, numbness and tingling of the extremities, and ataxia.

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9: Folate or Folic Acid – As well as energy metabolism, this vitamin helps to form DNA and red blood cells. Folate also contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism and psychological function. Deficiency presents as diarrhoea, peptic ulcers, mouth ulcers, glossitis or stunted growth. When deficient during pregnancy, it is a risk factor to the fetus developing neural tube defects (NTD). Folate is available in fortified cereals and breads. It occurs naturally in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, and beans.

Additions to our Probiotics Glossary

If you come across a term you feel should be within our Probiotics Glossary, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we will endeavour to research and add them. Email us at: [email protected]

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