As winter continues many people start feeling a distinct lack of energy. From Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), to over eating, to poor sleep schedules winter can be the perfect storm for a drop in energy. So, as people lose energy its common to look for alternative ways to boost your energy levels during the winter.
So, as our energy begins do dwindle how can we effectively counter winters effects. One common theory for how to increase our energy levels is to increase vitamin B levels. However, this popular theory may be just as misleading today as the first time you heard it. As with many other health claims the link between vitamin B and energy has most likely been warped so companies can sell more of their supplements.
It is true that vitamin B complex – thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), B12, and biotin are all partially involved in energy production but non of these vitamins directly provide energy. So, If vitamin B complex doesn’t give us a direct boost in energy how is it linked to energy production? And do we still need vitamin B every day?
In this article we will discuss how vitamin B relates to energy production, The specific purpose of each B vitamin, and how to know if you are getting enough B vitamins!
B vitamins and Energy Production
Only food can provide energy in the form of proteins, carbs, and fats so eating a b vitamin will never give you an instant boost of energy. But this doesn’t mean B vitamins aren’t related to energy production in one way or another. There are 8 B-vitamins in total and each vitamin can impact your energy levels through other bodily functions:
B-1 (thiamine) :
Thiamine affects our energy levels by enabling our bodies to use carbohydrates as energy. Vitamin b1 is essential for glucose metabolism. Glucose metabolism functions as the primary source of fuel for mammals and a universal fuel of the fetus. ( ) . Because of this, thiamine is especially important during pregnancy
Beyond energy production vitamin b1 also plays an essential role in nerve, muscle, and heart function. It also helps with the flow of electrolytes in and out of our muscles & nerves.
B-2 (riboflavin) :
Riboflavin is essential for growth and development. It is also important when it comes to turning carbs, proteins, and fats into energy. Vitamin b2 is an essential vitamin when converting carbs into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP production is comes directly the food we eat and ATP helps produce energy as our body needs it. The ATP compound is vital for storing energy in our muscles.
Riboflavin also allows oxygen to be used by the body. It is also used for the development and function of our skin, the lining of the digestive tract, blood cells and other vital organs. Last but not least vitamin b2 is extremely important towards eye health and lowers the probability of developing cataracts.
B-3 (niacin) :
Niacin like other B vitamins helps our bodies convert our foods into energy. Niacin also plays an important role in nervous system health as well as cell signaling and making and repairing DNA, in addition to acting as an antioxidant.
Niacin also works as a coenzyme. This means that more than 400 other enzymes in our bodies depend on niacin for various chemical reactions that take place in our bodies.
B-5 (pantothenic acid) :
Pantothenic acid is vital to maintaining health throughout your life. Vitamin b5 helps our bodies convert our food into energy but it is also essential in the production of new blood cells. pantothenic acid is also unique because its can be found in almost all of our foods. In fact pantothen means from all sides or everywhere.
Pantothenic acid is also necessary for the body to create new coenzymes, proteins, and fats. Red blood cells carry pantothenic acid throughout the body so it can use the nutrient in a variety of processes for energy and metabolism.
B-6 (pyridoxine) :
Pyridoxine is another B vitamin that assists in the breakdown of our foods but it is also a standout in our B vitamins. Vitamin B6 is actually one of the most important molecules in the cells of any living organism. B6 is so essential because of it is critical role in the biochemical reactions that regulate cellular metabolism. This means that any cellular organism (all living things) require B6 to produce energy.
Pyridoxine is also another coenzyme with a role in more than 100 different enzyme reactions. Our body also needs vitamin B-6 for breaking down carbohydrates and fats, healthy brain development, and improved immune function. Pyridoxine is also a vital component in the producing non essential amino acids.
B-7 (biotin) :
Biotin is another important B Vitamin. The human body needs biotin to break down fats, carbohydrates, and protein for energy synthesis but it also boost communication among cells in the body, and helps regulate DNA.
The word biotos is actually the Greek word for “life” which refers to the many benefits of B7. Biotin helps promote healthy skin, nails, and it can make a big difference helping pregnant moms have healthier babies! Studies have also show that biotin improves your body’s keratin infrastructure which is a vital protein in hair thus helping promote hair growth.
B-9 (folic acid) :
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid and folate, helps our bodies convert carbohydrates into glucose for future energy production.
Folic acid is also an important vitamin for proper brain function. B9 plays a role in both mental and emotional healthy by aiding the production of DNA and RNA which are the building blocks of our bodies. Vitamin b9 is especially important during times of rapid growth such as early childhood and adolescence. Proper levels of this b vitamin are especially important for healthy fetal development in pregnant women.
B-12 (cobalamin) :
Vitamin b12 contains the mineral cobalt and is sometimes called a “cobalamin.” Like the other B vitamins many people believe cobalamin will give them energy and this may be the case if you are suffering from a vitamin b12 deficiency. People with a vitamin b12 deficiency can see an improvement in energy, concentration, and mood when taking cobalamin. However, no evidence has been found to suggest that people with proper amounts of vitamin b12 will see any of these benefits.
Beyond energy and concentration body also uses vitamin B12 when creating new red blood cells and during DNA synthesis. Brain and neurological function can also be benefited by vitamin b12, and fat and protein metabolism.
Am I getting enough B vitamins
B vitamins may not give you an immediate boost in energy but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. From cellular metabolism to DNA synthesis all of the different b vitamins play an essential role in our bodies. So, how do we know if we are getting enough B vitamins?
The symptoms of vitamin B deficiency will vary depending on which vitamins you are missing but here are the most common symptoms:
- soreness of mouth or tongue
- unexplained weight loss
- lack of appetite
- tiredness and fatigue
- worsening immune system
- issues with normal balance
- cracks around mouth
- abdominal cramps
Vitamin B deficiencies are more common in older adults and pregnant women but If you begin to experience any of these symptoms we suggest you ask your doctor if you are suffering from a vitamin B deficiency.
How can I get more vitamin B?
All B vitamins are water soluble meaning they cant be stored in our bodies. This means we can only use the B vitamins we need and any excess we consume will simply pass through our bodies.
Because people cant store B vitamins we have to make sure our diets contain a wide variety of B vitamins every day.
Some of the best vitamin b sources include:
- Dairy: Milk, cheese
- Red Meat and chicken
- Fish: tuna, salmon, and mackerel
- Shellfish: oysters and clams
- Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and kale
- Beets, avocados, and potatoes
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- soy products
- Kidney beans and black beans
- Citrus fruits, bananas, and melons
- Wheat germ
Another good vitamin b source to include in your diet is supplementation. There are many supplements available on the market. In fact, Weight Loss Direct has actually been developing a B vitamin supplement to work hand in hand with our weight loss program.
B-Most Plus is an extremely powerful end chain form of B vitamins to aid in phase 1 & 2 liver detoxification. When taking the end-chain form this allows the body to more easily and readily utilize nutrients at a molecular level. B-Most Plus also helps to assist individuals with methylation issues.
B-Most Plus Supports:
- Liver Health
- Improved Energy Levels
- Improved Mood
- Adrenal Support
- Brain Support
B vitamins may not give you an instant boost in energy but they are still essential to energy production over time. From digestion to cellular metabolism B vitamins are present in almost every step of energy production.
B vitamins also play an essential role in our health and development and it is important to regularly target B vitamins in our diets. This can be from the foods listed above but it can also come from proper supplementation!
As always Weight Loss Direct is dedicated to ensuring our clients and community can make achievable and effective changes after every article we post. If you are interested in how to apply our expertise to your life, contact us to become a member!