Vitamin B complex consists of diverse B vitamins that are often called the energy vitamins. B vitamins work as a key to lock and unlock energy production. These vitamins help fight fatigue, poor concentration and irritability. If you are deficient in B vitamins (most people are not), this can affect your energy levels. Symptoms of B vitamin deficiency include: fatigue, anemia, weakness, memory loss, and digestive problems.
The B vitamins are a family of water-soluble vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B10 and B12 play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. These essential nutrients have a few different functions but as a group they’re involved in taking the foods you eat and turning them into energy.
B-complex vitamins act as coenzymes in the digestive process, helping to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates into sugars and amino acids that are used by the body for repairs, building, and energy.
The B vitamins are water-soluble nutrients. This means that they are excreted in the urine and can be quickly drained from the body. When we take more water-soluble vitamins than we need, small amounts are stored in body tissue, particularly the liver; however most of the extra is discharged in urine. Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body in significant amounts and are depleted from the body so quickly, it is important that we take supplements of the B vitamins in large daily amounts to fill up these essential vitamins in our body.
If you’re looking for a B-complex vitamin supplement to make you feel more alert or more motivated, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Its true B vitamins are essential for energy production in the human body, but taking them as supplements probably won’t make you feel more energetic. Energy comes mostly from the foods you eat, especially from carbohydrates, although your body can use protein or fat as fuel.
The B-complex vitamins are involved in various metabolic processes that make the energy happen, but they can’t create energy from nothing so you really need to eat right to feel more energetic.
To be honest, unless you have an actual deficiency, pregnant, about to become pregnant or have a health problem that messes with your B vitamin levels, there just isn’t any reason to take B vitamin supplements.
So, what do you do if you want more energy? There are several things you can do. Start by getting the right amount of physical activity and sleep your body needs and try to reduce your stress levels. As far as your diet goes, it’s a good idea to improve the quality of the foods you eat if you want to feel more energetic.
If you eat a varied diet, you’re probably getting enough B vitamins. Be sure to eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables because they’re low in calories and super high in nutrients and antioxidants. Vitamin B supplements may be a waste of money if you’re eating a healthy and varied diet. Trouble is B vitamins don’t give you energy. No vitamin gives you energy. Calories give you energy specifically, calories in the form of glucose, which is found in carbohydrate-containing foods (grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, dairy).
A well-balanced and varied diet often provides you with the B vitamins you need to function, but vegetarians and vegans should consider vitamin B-12 supplements, since the vitamin only occurs naturally in animal-based foods.
THE B VITAMINS TO IMPROVE YOUR ENERGY LEVEL
1. Vitamin B 12 (Cobalamin)
B-12 may be the most well-known of all the B vitamins for its role in increasing energy levels. The National Institutes of Health notes that B-12 is used for boosting mood, energy and concentration. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin which has its effects predominantly on the actions and functions of the brain and nervous system. Vitamin B12 is often promoted for its energy enhancing capabilities, in particular for endurance during exercise. If you find that you are always tired or suffer from chronic tiredness, this could be caused by a B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency, on the other hand, is characterized by low energy conditions, including fatigue and weakness, among other health concerns. A deficiency in vitamin B12 often causes anemia, which makes energy levels drop.
Every cell in the human body requires B12 for energy metabolism. In fact, the entire cellular energy creation, known as the Citric Acid cycle or Kreb’s cycle, depends on it. Your internal energy factories just don’t work as well without it. It works by turning carbs into energy, so if you’re not getting enough and those carbohydrates down get converted, you’ll end up feeling sluggish instead of recharged. Vitamin B12 also provides a boost to your digestive system, and a sluggish digestive system can lead to low energy levels.
This B vitamin is a total team player. B-12 ( Cobalamin) works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help iron do its job: create the oxygen carrying protein, hemogloblin.
Unfortunately, the human body cannot create B12 on its own, requiring it from dietary sources. Studies show higher rates of non-meat eaters with a deficiency. B-12 is not found in plants. It must be obtained from animal products such as meat, eggs, poultry and dairy. B-12 can also be obtained though supplements and injections for those who are deficient.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal based foods Eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy products such as milk, Eggs, yogurt & cheese almost anything of animal origin. The foods highest in B12 are shellfish (mussels, lobster), oily fish (trout, salmon, tuna, sardines), Shrimp, Halibut, Yogurt, Beef, Oysters, Fish Eggs, Lamb, clams and organ meats beef, chicken, mutton liver. Vegetarians who eat no foods coming from animals should scrutinize their diets and consider taking supplements to make sure they are getting enough of this vitamin.
Vitamin B 9 (Folic Acid)
If you have feelings of faintness along with your tiredness it could be that you’re not getting enough folic acid. You may also notice that you suddenly seem out of breath with no reason to explain it. That may be an early sign that you don’t have enough of this important vitamin.
Folate-deficiency anemia can also drain energy levels, notes Medline Plus. That’s why eating plenty of folate-rich foods (or taking a multivitamin supplement containing folic acid) is a must.
We need at least 400 mcgs of folic acid for the synthesizing nucleic acids and the forming red blood cells. Its deficiency most commonly causes folic-acid-deficiency anemia. Symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, such as sore tongue, cracks at the corners of the mouth, diarrhea, and ulceration of the stomach and intestines.
You may have heard another name for B9 — folic acid — which is the synthetic form used in supplements and fortified foods like cereal and bread. Studies suggest folate may help keep depression at bay and prevent memory loss.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-9
Food that are rich in folate include vegetables that are leafy & dark green in color lettuce, spinach, collards, broccoli, dried beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, peas, and oranges, Liver, Sunflower Seeds, Dry Roasted Soybeans, Asparagus, Peanuts, Walnuts, Cress, Brie cheese and almonds. Some foods, such as orange juice, are fortified with folic acid.
Vitamin B 7 (Biotin)
Biotin is important in metabolic processes that result in the formation of fats and the utilization of carbon dioxide. Biotin deficiency results in anorexia, nausea, vomiting, tongue inflammation, paleness, depression, and dermatitis.
Vitamin B7 also play a major role in contributing to energy production. Biotin helps in metabolizing amino acids, fats and carbohydrates. Your body uses biotin when it breaks down energy for food (as with other B vitamins). Eat biotin-rich foods or take multivitamin supplements containing biotin to prevent a deficiency.
Because of its association with healthy hair, skin and nails, this B vitamin also goes by “the beauty vitamin.” It may help people with diabetes control high blood glucose levels, too. This B vitamin is especially important during pregnancy because it’s vital for normal growth of the baby.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-7
B7 is made by intestinal bacteria and is also in peanuts, liver, egg yolks, bananas, whole grains, organ meats, soybeans, fish, cauliflower, peanuts, liver, chicken, yeast, clams, milk watermelon, grapefruit, Mustard, Sunflower Seeds, Swiss chard, Carrots, Halibut, Berries, Hen’s cooked Eggs are the highest foods that are rich in Vitamin B7 (biotin).
Vitamin B 6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is not only an important vitamin for energy, but also for greater mental clarity and a stronger nervous system. Not only will adequate supplies of Vitamin B6 have you feeling more energized, you’ll actually be helping your brain do its job better by helping to produce more neurotransmitters.
Pyridoxine, (Vitamin B6) is a coenzyme for several enzyme systems involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Long-term use of large doses of vitamin B6 can, however, cause complications in the peripheral nervous system.
Vitamin B6 helps your body break down proteins, keep blood sugar in check, and makes red blood cells. A deficiency in B6 could lead to anemia, which drains your energy. Vitamin B6 can help to reduce or regulate anxiety and depression levels which can help to restore energy within the body. Along with fellow B vitamins 12 and 9, B6 helps regulate levels of the amino acid homocysteine (associated with heart disease). Pyridoxine is a major player in mood and sleep patterns because it helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine, a stress hormone.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-6
Whole grains, cereal grains and legumes, green and leafy vegetables, bananas, chicken, beans, meat, beef, fish (Salmon, Cod, and Tuna) shellfish, liver, pork, Tenderloin, chicken, potatoes, wheat germ, chickpeas, eggs, avocados, dried fruit, nuts, peanuts, Pistachios, fruit and molasses are great source of vitamin B6(pyridoxine). High levels of vitamin B6 also occur in cauliflower, watercress, spinach, okra, onions, broccoli, squash, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, peas and radishes.
Vitamin B 5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B5, called pantothenic acid, is needed for the creation of coenzyme-A, a critical substance for the utilization of essential fatty acids in your body. Pantothenic acid promotes a large number of metabolic reactions essential for our growth and well-being. Its deficiency can result in growth failure, skin lesions, and even graying of the hair.
You can find small amounts of vitamin B5 in just about every food group — its name even says so. Pantothenic comes from the Greek word pantothen, meaning “from everywhere.
As with other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps break fats and carbs down into energy.
Certain hormones require good levels of B5 for their manufacturing and when intake is low these chemical messengers may be unable to do the job properly. Often your health will suffer as a result. It is responsible for the production of sex and stress-related hormones including testosterone. Your adrenal glands, the control your energy and stress levels, are especially sensitive to low vitamin B5 intake.
Studies show B5 also promotes healthy skin with the ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as redness and skin spots. Eating B5-rich foods or taking supplements helps you meet daily B5 requirements.
Natural Sources of Vitamin-5
B5 is widespread and found in almost all range of foods, but some good sources include Beans, liver, meats, chicken, milk, kidneys, yeast, peanuts, legumes, nuts, wheat bran, wholegrain bread, and green vegetables. It is found in Avocado, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Corn, Sunflower Seeds, Whey Powder, Cheese, Eggs, Squash, and Cauliflower and whole grain products.
Vitamin B 4 (Choline)
Choline is the hidden B vitamin. Most of the times, this vitamin is ignored but it also plays a major role in contributing to energy production.
As with the B vitamins, choline is involved in nutrient metabolism, energy transport, and neurotransmitter synthesis, according to Linus Pauling Institute. Because of this, getting plenty of vitamins B4 in your diet is crucial to stay energized.
Choline is a vitamin that is required by the body to produce cell membranes and neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is the one that affects memory and plays a vital role in improving brain cells.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-4
Also eat plenty of choline-containing foods. Some of the foods that contain choline are peanuts, cucumber, cauliflower, wheat germ, green peas, soybeans and soybean products, egg yolk, peanut butter, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, banana, milk, butter. oranges, lentils, oats, barley, corn, sesame seeds, flax seeds, whole wheat bread , Brewer’s yeast, propolis, bee pollen, raw unadulterated honey, royal jelly, beef heart, and beef liver. Adenine is also found in the various herbs such as Ginseng root, blue cohosh, blessed thistle, ginger, burdock, cascara sagrada, capsicum (cayenne), caraway, catnip, cloves, and couch grass.
Vitamin B 3 (Niacin)
Niacin is a vitamin that plays a part in several different functions of the body, and if you’re looking to increase your energy levels, this is one you can’t leave out.
Supplying energy is one of the main things it does, and it does so on a cellular level. Unlike “energy” drinks that provide false feelings of energy through stimulants, niacin works to provide real energy through its antioxidant effect.
Niacin can help the body detox, which is another way to increase energy, and on a side note it’s also helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, and helping to balance blood sugar as well.
Niacin (B3) helps convert food to energy and is found in a variety of B3-rich foods. Vitamin B3 or niacin is a vital nutrient for a variety of different processes in your body that create energy and keep things running smoothly.
In particular, you’re circulatory and digestive systems will suffer if you are low in niacin. This leads to ongoing tiredness, slower metabolism, insomnia and poor skin. Chronic niacin deficiency, while rare, is particularly serious and can be fatal.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-3
Reliable dietary sources of vitamin B3 (niacin) include Anchovies fish, Tuna fish, Swordfish fish, Bran, Halibut, Roasted chicken breast, Paprika, whole wheat, seeds, Nuts, dairy products, beans, peanuts, turkey, wheat bran, brown rice, milk, eggs, lean red meat, liver, fish, cheese, oats, dried fruit, wholegrain breads and cereals, torula or brewer’s yeast, mushrooms enriched refined grains and all protein-containing foods.
Vitamin B 2 (Riboflavin)
We need vitamin B2, or riboflavin to complete several reactions in the energy cycle. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has many functions within the body but is especially critical to the mitochondria or ‘energy powerhouse’ of the cells. Like Vitamin B1, riboflavin assists with the metabolism of carbs, fats and protein which creates energy in the body.
Vitamin B2 helps release energy from proteins and aids in red blood cell production, which is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body. This B vitamin works as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals (particles in the body that damage cells) and may prevent early aging and the development of heart disease.
Eat vitamin B2-rich foods and be sure to meet recommended dietary allowances for B2. Common symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency are reddening of the lips with cracks at the corners of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, and a greasy, scaly inflammation of the skin.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-2
B2 is found in enriched bread, dairy products, milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, wholegrain breads and cereals, egg white, almonds, wheat germ, millet, meat, yeast, liver, kidney and enriched refined grains. It is also a good idea to eat leafy green vegetables containing this vitamin, add asparagus, broccoli and spinach to your diet.
Vitamin B 1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B1 Also known as thiamine, Vitamin B1 helps with carbohydrate, fat and alcohol metabolism, and is essential for energy production. Cells need vitamin B1 to store energy to utilize during exercise.
This is one vitamin you don’t want to run low on for long. It takes sugar and converts it into energy, which will not only help prevent spikes in your blood sugar, but will help you pull the energy from the foods you’re eating, rather than having that sugar turn to fat. The energy produced by proper levels of thiamine helps support all of your major organs, which in turn helps the entire body and brain, and makes you feel great.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine, helps the body converts carbohydrates to glucose, which your body uses for energy. It also helps your body metabolize proteins and fats. Eat plenty of vitamin B1-rich foods and take supplements if your diet lacks sufficient B1.
Vitamin B1 deficiency affects the functioning of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and peripheral nervous systems. Thiamine deficiency can cause Beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, sometimes seen in alcoholics. Symptoms of beriberi include loss of appetite and overall lassitude, digestive irregularities, and a feeling of numbness and weakness in the limbs and extremities.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B-1
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) can be taken in foods such as fortified with thiamin whole wheat, bran, soybeans, meats, seeds (especially sesame seeds), legumes, wheat germ, nuts, yeast, and molasses. B1 is also found in potatoes, seafood, liver, beans, peanuts, oranges, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, fish, Tuna, lima beans, lentils, pork chops, pine nuts, green peas and pistachios etc. Eat plenty of vegetables containing B1, including kale, spinach, turnip greens, lettuce, cabbage, and many other vegetables.