- 8 Surprising Health Benefits of B Vitamins
- The Basics of Vitamin B12 and Weight Loss
- Why is Vitamin B12 Useful for Weight Loss?
- Top 9 Vitamin B12 Benefits
- 1. Helps Maintain Energy Levels
- 2. Prevents Memory Loss and Lowers Risk of Neurodegenerative Disease
- 3. Boosts Mood and Helps the Nervous System to Properly Function
- 4. Plays a Role in Maintaining Heart Health
- 5. Needed for Healthy Skin and Hair
- 6. Aids in Digestion
- 7. Needed for a Healthy Pregnancy
- 8. May Help Prevent Cancer
- 9. Helps Produce Red Blood Cells and Prevent Anemia
- Vitamin B12 Benefits vs. B6 vs. B Complex vs. Folic Acid
- Vitamin B12 Benefits in Ayurveda, TCM and Traditional Medicine
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms, Signs, Risks and Causes
- Vitamin B12 Benefits: Top 10 Vitamin B12 Foods
- How to Overcome Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Vitamin B12 Supplements and Dosage Recommendations
- Can I Have Too Much Vitamin B12?
- Vitamin B12 Recipes
- Liquid B-12
- 5,000 mcg
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin B-100 Complex – 150 Vegetable Capsules
- Do B Vitamins Really Give You Energy?
- Do You Really Need All 8 B Vitamins?
- Vitamin B Benefits:
- What is the Best Multivitamin?
8 Surprising Health Benefits of B Vitamins
Good nutrition is tied to good health, as well as to the prevention and treatment of many conditions. Getting the recommended amounts of vitamins each day is an important part of the nutrition equation, and B vitamins are essential for preventive care. Abundant in green vegetables, whole or enriched grains, dairy, and meats, B vitamins help promote a healthy metabolism and are also linked to a reduced risk of stroke, research shows.
Take vitamin B12, for example. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, plays a significant role in nerve function, the formation of red blood cells, and the production of DNA. While most people get plenty of vitamin B12 benefits in a varied, balanced diet, if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, elderly adults and people with GI disorders lack adequate B12.
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Intestinal problems
- Mood disturbances
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Poor memory
- Soreness of the mouth or tongue
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is vital for normal brain development and for keeping the immune system and nervous system working properly. Most people who eat poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas, and bananas have enough vitamin B6. But certain illnesses, such as kidney disease and malabsorption syndromes, can lead to vitamin B6 deficiency. Lack of B6 can result in a reduction of red blood cells, which take oxygen to tissues throughout the body. People with vitamin B6 deficiency may experience symptoms such as:
- Weakened immune system
It’s been known that some people with B vitamin deficiencies experience depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Folate (vitamin B9) is in the forefront of mood management. Findings show that many people with depression have lower levels of folate in the blood. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, peanuts, and other legumes, and citrus fruits. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring manufacturers to add folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pasta, rice, and other grain products in 1998.
Additionally, folic acid (the synthetic form of folate in supplements and fortified food) is essential during early pregnancy to prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine such as spina bifida. Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid three months before conception and eating folic-acid fortified foods can help women get plenty of this essential B vitamin.
Your doctor can determine if you are deficient in one of the B vitamins and may prescribe a vitamin B complex supplement. Even if you’re taking a supplement, a varied and balanced diet is essential to avoiding a B vitamin deficiency and reaping the health benefits of these important vitamins.
Read on to learn about the daily doses of different B vitamins you need, natural sources to include in your diet, and the health benefits you can expect to reap.
If you own a television, you’ve probably seen the commercial in which a very slim Anna Nicole Smith smiles seductively into the camera and reveals the secret to her weight loss success is “TrimSpa, baby.”
Or perhaps you’ve heard how Cortisol, the hormone that controls your body’s stress levels, causes you to gain weight; and that Cortislim can fight off the fat-accumulating effects of this hormone.
If you’ve seen these ads and have been tempted to try these products, you should know that on Jan. 4, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was levying a total of $25 million in fines against the companies that make these two products, and two others, the makers of Xenadrine EFX and One-A-Day WeightSmart, for false advertising claims.
The FTC charged that the weight-loss and weight-control claims these companies made on behalf of their products “were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
All of this brings to mind the familiar old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. The best way to shed those extra pounds is through a sensible weight reduction program of diet and exercise.
Vitamins and supplements can play an important role in that program, especially Omega Oils, B-Complex and folic acid.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish, corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower oils. Fatty acids are the building blocks from which fats are composed.
There are three important categories of fatty acids: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. The classifications have to do with the number of hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure of a single molecule of a particular fatty acid. Polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 are missing four or more hydrogen atoms.
Your body needs Omega 3 and Omega 6 so that it can produce eicosanoids. These are hormones that are responsible for regulating the major body functions, such as digestion and fat storage. Taking Omega Oil supplements helps activate the enzymes responsible for burning fat.
Along with proper exercise, these oils will increase the metabolic rate, which will burn more fat and increase your weight loss.
The B Complex is a group of vitamins that includes thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, pyridoxine, folic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. Even though these vitamins are chemically different from one another, they are grouped together because they are found with one another in the same foods. Some good sources for B Complex vitamins are yeast, liver, eggs, and green vegetables. These vitamins are water-soluble, which means they are transported through the body by fluids and any excess amounts are excreted along with those fluids. The body doesn’t store these vitamins, so they must be replenished daily.
B Complex vitamins help the body maintain both its physical and mental health. In terms of weight reduction, using a B Complex supplement will help the body maintain sufficient levels of these vitamins so that it can efficiently burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It will also ensure that the body produces enough hydrochloric acid, which is important for proper digestion and normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
And finally, a B Complex supplement will help the body maintain energy, stamina, and control appetite.
Folic acid is one of the B Complex vitamins. The natural form of this vitamin, known as folate, is found in foods like oranges, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is made into nutritional supplements.
Folic acid is important in human growth and development because cells must have folic acid in order for them to duplicate themselves. That’s because the DNA contained in each cell cannot be reproduced unless there is enough folic acid present. The folic acid makes up the base pairs found in every DNA molecule.
Folic acid is involved in every bodily function that requires cell division. Folic acid works in conjunction with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C to help the body digest and use proteins. Taking a folic acid supplement will ensure that protein is metabolized properly, which will help your body maintain a stable insulin level. Keeping a consistent insulin level means that your body will immediately burn the fat it gets from the foods you eat instead of storing it. Burning fat increases weight loss.
If you’ve made a resolution to lose that unwanted weight, remember to use your head before you start any weight reduction program. Along with good nutrition and enough exercise, supplements and vitamins like Omega Oils, B Complex, and folic acid will help your body maximize your weight loss efforts.
Fox Health contributor Maria Esposito contributed to this report.
Click here to check out Dr. Manny’s book The Check List (Harper Collins, 2007).
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
The Basics of Vitamin B12 and Weight Loss
If weight loss were a question, there would be a lot of given responses. The problem is identifying which is the right one. According to some, Vitamin B12 falls into the category of correct answers.
The use of Vitamin B12 for weight loss is part of a growing trend of supplementing deficiencies to allow the body to correct and effectively manage itself. The ratio behind it is that if you give the body what it needs, you will have the proper tools to get optimum performance from it.
Vitamins are considered prime resources for weight loss because of how they help the metabolic processes of the body. In this case, here is a rundown of the role of Vitamin B-12 for weight loss.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a naturally occurring vitamin in some types of food. It is mainly found in food high in protein, like eggs, fish, and shellfish.
It is a water-soluble substance, meaning it can dissolve in water. This is an advantage for Vitamin B-12 for weight loss supplements because it means that it can easily be absorbed by the body. It does not need any special delivery methods. If you consume it, it can be dissolved and distributed with no absorption issues from an inability to mix with fat.
As a practical result, Vitamin B12 can be taken orally or by syringe. It can also be given as medication for severe cases or as a supplement to improve the levels found in the body.
The importance of Vitamin B-12 for weight loss is associated with the way it functions. This vitamin can come in many forms and each form has its own task to perform.
Examples of these are Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin, which are essential for human metabolism. The Vitamin B12 works by helping turn the food that you eat into glucose.
Glucose a type of sugar that acts as the body’s fuel to do everyday activities. Getting the right amounts of glucose is essential because, without it, a person feels lethargic.
Vitamin B12 also functions as a cofactor, which means it assists, the enzyme L methylmalonyl-COA in fat and protein metabolism.
Its association with metabolism and energy-provision is the reason why Vitamin B12 is considered a tool for weight loss.
Why is Vitamin B12 Useful for Weight Loss?
Vitamin B12 works to assist in weight loss in several ways. Some are more direct, such as a means to influence metabolism. Others, on the other hand, are less direct. An example of this is by addressing the symptoms of mental stress.
First, it is necessary to see what happens when you have a deficiency to know how Vitamin B12 can assist in weight loss.
A deficiency can occur when you do not get enough Vitamin B12. This can be caused by certain factors. Older people are susceptible to deficiency because they do not produce enough hydrochloric acid in their stomachs to absorb the Vitamin B12 in the food they eat.
In fact, most people over the age of 50 will most likely need to eat fortified food items or take dietary supplements to offset their body’s inability to get enough levels of Vitamin B12 from regular food.
Medical conditions like pernicious anemia and those who have had gastrointestinal surgery also cannot absorb enough Vitamin B12.
Since the main source of Vitamin B12 is food, the stomach is its usual gateway. If there are diseases that make digestion difficult such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, then it also can lead to a Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Lifestyle choices are also associated with insufficient amounts of Vitamin B12. Those who choose to refrain from animal consumption like vegetarians and vegans cannot access Vitamin B12 naturally. This is because this vitamin only appears in animal food. They will need to supplement.
Lack of Energy and Mental Issues
One of the results of a deficiency is anemia, which is a condition where the body has low levels of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is tasked with helping form hemoglobin inside the red blood cells.
Without these hemoglobin molecules, it can be difficult to transport oxygen to the different parts of the body. Low oxygen levels result in fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and even nausea.
Another way the Vitamin B12 can help in weight loss is by addressing anxiety and stress. A deficiency can cause psychiatric symptoms like panic and trigger existing conditions of anxiety and depression. The reasoning behind this is that vitamin B12 regulates the proper function of the nervous system.
Nerves have a protective covering surrounding them called the myelin sheath. If there is not enough Vitamin B12, the myelin sheath is damaged. A mild deficiency can interrupt the proper functions of the brain. At its worst, the deficiency can cause permanent damage.
When it comes to weight loss, the mental effects of Vitamin B12 relates to the connection of chronic stress with an increased risk of weight gain. People with anxiety, stress, or depression can feel lethargic and feel a lack of motivation to do physical activities.
When someone is physically limited, it can be difficult to lose weight. The same goes when they do not feel the desire to do physical activities.
In the instances mentioned, Vitamin B12 is then considered an essential component in providing a person the motivation to engage in physical activity. Studies have repeatedly shown that those who get regular exercise are more likely to be within the normal weight range.
Cardio activities like walking and running are vital in any weight loss method. The same goes for muscle-building activities. An increase in muscle means more fat-burning capability. The body uses the respiratory and circulatory systems in order to properly do these activities.
But in both these types of exercises, it is important to be physically and mentally prepared. If there is a Vitamin B12 deficiency, the lack of exercise can produce low results in weight loss simply because the body is not equipped to do so.
In addition, prolonged inactivity can lead the body to have metabolic issues. There are studies that indicate that a sedentary lifestyle can affect the body’s metabolic flexibility. This is a term that is used to refer to how effectively the body can go from using carbohydrates to using fat as energy for the body.
In a healthy metabolism, the body will use fat for energy while resting and in even most kinds of exercise. If you do not have a healthy metabolic flexibility, you will have difficulty mobilizing fat stores. There is also a tendency to have more fat in the blood. Poor metabolic flexibility also reduces the muscles that burn fat and instead stores more fat tissue.
A deficiency in B12 can lead to this cycle of being unable to exercise and increasing fat. In the long-run, this can lead to even more difficulty resulting in a compounded weight-loss problem.
Vitamin B12 as an essential component of metabolism
The next part in which Vitamin B12 helps in weight loss is in its role in metabolism. It is generally believed that vitamins and minerals are part of the metabolic process. In the case of Vitamin B12, it acts as a key to activate the succinyl-CoA, which is a part of the Krebs cycle.
The Krebs cycle is a series of reactions done by living cells to produce energy during aerobic respiration. Inside the mitochondria of the cells, the Krebs cycle allows for the consumption of oxygen and then the production of carbon dioxide and water.
If you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, this sequence is disrupted. As a result, your body is unable to get the energy from the breaking down of sugar. An inefficient metabolism leads to the body trying to store more fat as a reserve for energy.
Vitamin B12 is also essential in the metabolism of fatty acids and proteins. Fatty acids are important in the body because that is where energy is stored. A deficiency in Vitamin B12 leads to inefficient use of energy, making it more difficult to do physical activities for weight loss.
It should be noted that there’s some controversy when it comes to Vitamin B12 as a weight loss tool. However, most of criticism is the lack of scientific studies surrounding it, rather than an actual critique of its effectiveness.
It is generally considered that supplements do not improve the metabolic rates of people who have sufficient levels of Vitamin B12. However, it can be extremely useful for those with deficiencies.
What is an Effective Vitamin B12 Dose for Weight Loss?
Vitamin B12 can be consumed in different ways. First, it can come as a pill or a tablet. Vitamin B12 supplements are purchased over-the-counter from supermarkets or health food stores.
The most natural way to increase the intake of Vitamin B12 is by the consuming more food items that contain Vitamin B12. It is found primarily in animal products, such as fish, shellfish, and byproduct items like cheese and milk.
As for the fastest way to address a Vitamin B12 deficiency, an option is to get prescribed a Vitamin B12 injection. This method requires the assistance of a licensed medical professional.
In an injection, the Vitamin B12 is more concentrated. It delivers the vitamin directly into the bloodstream and is usually prescribed to people with severe anemia. An injection is also given to people who cannot tolerate the oral absorption of Vitamin B12.
The standard intakes of Vitamin B12 widely used are based on the age of a person. The average daily recommended amounts for adults are 2.4 mcg. It increases to 2.6 mcg for pregnant women.
Are you struggling with fatigue, low energy levels, mood changes and a lack of focus? This can be a sign that you’re dealing with a vitamin B12 deficiency. If that’s the case — you’re not alone. About 40 percent of people have low levels of vitamin B12, which is an issue that needs to be addressed because this is an essential vitamin for the production of red blood cells and DNA, not to mention all the vitamin B12 benefits it provides.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to be one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the world, with a 2004 study showing that it’s a major health concern in many parts of the world, including the U.S., India, Mexico, Central America, South America and certain areas in Africa. (1) This is a big deal because vitamin B12 benefits so much of the body, and without it, those vitamin B12 benefits are lost. That’s why it’s important to get vitamin B12 foods into your diet.
So what does it do? Vitamin B12 benefits your mood, energy level, memory, heart, skin, hair, digestion and more. It is also an essential vitamin for addressing adrenal fatigue, multiple metabolic functions — including enzyme production, DNA synthesis and hormonal balance — and maintaining healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Because of its wide-reaching roles within the body, a vitamin B12 deficiency can show up in many different negative symptoms, many of which are very noticeable, such as potential chronic fatigue, mood disorders like depression, and chronic stress or feeling run down.
What Is Vitamin B12? B12’s Role in the Body
Vitamin B12 actually exists in many forms, and it contains the mineral cobalt, which is why compounds with vitamin B12 are collectively called cobalamins. Two forms of vitamin B12 that are active in human metabolism are methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin.
Vitamin B12 benefits the central nervous system in many important ways: It helps maintain the health of nerve cells — including those needed for neurotransmitter signaling — and helps form the protective covering of nerves, called the cell’s myelin sheath. This means that when vitamin B12 levels are low, almost every cognitive function can suffer.
Vitamin B12 also helps with digestion and heart health, so a deficiency can lead to both digestive disorders and an increased risk for heart disease. It can come in food sources, hydroxocobalimin vitamin B12 injections or as an intramuscular vitamin.
The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Dietary Office estimates that somewhere between 1.5 percent to 15 percent of people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin B12. (2) Other studies, like one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000, indicate that this number might be even higher, with up to 39 percent of the population possibly suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. (3)
Top 9 Vitamin B12 Benefits
Wonder how vitamin B12 functions as a health-promoting vitamin? Vitamin B12 functions as a beneficial substance in the following ways:
1. Helps Maintain Energy Levels
Vitamin B12 benefits your metabolism because it’s needed to convert carbohydrates into useable glucose in the body. Glucose from carbohydrate foods is used as a form of energy, so this is the reason why people with vitamin B12 deficiencies often experience fatigue.
Vitamin B12 is also needed for neurotransmitter signaling that helps your muscles contract and gives you energy to go about your day without feeling tired and run down. (4)
People often wonder whether vitamin B12 benefits weight loss. Because a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to sluggishness, chronic fatigue, and mood and appetite changes, it can be hard to lose or maintain weight with these symptoms. It’s not that increasing your vitamin B12 levels alone will make you lose weight, but correcting a deficiency will boost your energy levels and regulate your appetite so you can continue your health regime.
2. Prevents Memory Loss and Lowers Risk of Neurodegenerative Disease
A vitamin B12 deficiency may cause various neurologic and psychiatric disturbances. Because of its role in nerve health and neurotransmitter signaling, vitamin B12 benefits cognitive function and is used to lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (5, 6)
A systematic review published in International Psychogeriatrics examined 43 studies investigating the association of vitamin B12 and cognitive impairment or dementia and 17 studies reporting the efficacy of vitamin B12 therapy for these cognitive conditions. Researchers found that low vitamin B12 levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and Parkinson’s disease. On top of this, vitamin B12 supplements were effective in correcting a biochemical deficiency and improved cognition in patients with pre-existing vitamin B12 deficiency. (7)
3. Boosts Mood and Helps the Nervous System to Properly Function
One of the most researched vitamin B12 benefits is its ability to help in healthy regulation of the nervous system, including reducing such mood disorders as depression and anxiety. Vitamin B12, along with folate, is needed as a major determinant of one-carbon metabolism, which produces the compound called SAM (S-adenosyl methionine). SAM is crucial for neurological function, dealing with stress and mood regulation. (8, 9)
Vitamin B12 is also needed for concentration and cognitive processes, such as learning, so a vitamin B12 deficiency can result in difficulty focusing and an increased risk for attention disorders.
4. Plays a Role in Maintaining Heart Health
Vitamin B12 benefits cardiovascular health in several ways, which is important considering the fact that heart disease is currently the No. 1 cause of death worldwide. Vitamin B12 helps reduce elevated homocysteine levels, which is now considered a major risk factor for heart disease. (10) Homocysteine is an amino acid, and its levels in the blood are influenced by blood levels of B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 helps protect against heart disease like a heart attack or stroke by lowering high homocysteine levels in the blood. There is also some evidence that B12 can help control high cholesterol and high blood pressure levels. B vitamins are also able to control atherosclerotic diseases, in which someone experiences a dangerous buildup of plaque in the arteries. (11)
5. Needed for Healthy Skin and Hair
Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails because it plays a major part in cell reproduction. Vitamin B12 benefits skin health by reducing redness, dryness, inflammation and acne blemishes — and can be applied to the skin for psoriasis and eczema. It can also reduce hair breakage and help nails become stronger. (12)
6. Aids in Digestion
Due to its role in helping with digestive enzyme production, vitamin B12 is needed to support a healthy metabolism and the breakdown of foods within the stomach. One of the ways that vitamin B12 benefits digestion? It helps foster healthy bacteria within the gut environment. The elimination of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract — and simultaneously the presence of beneficial bacteria — is what prevents digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease or candida. (13)
7. Needed for a Healthy Pregnancy
Vitamin B12 is needed to create nucleic acid, or DNA — the basic genetic material that’s used to create the entire body. Therefore, vitamin B12 is not only a key nutrient for growth and development, but a vital component of a healthy pregnancy.
Vitamin B12 also interacts with folate in the body, so it may help lower the risk of birth defects, such as neural tube defects. When a pregnant woman’s vitamin B12 supply is low, the folate that’s needed for DNA synthesis remains trapped and cell replication is impaired. Studies report a two- to four-fold increased risk of neural tube defects with low vitamin B12 status. (14)
8. May Help Prevent Cancer
Vitamin B12 supplementation is now being studied as a way to help lower the risk of certain kinds of cancers, especially when taken with folate. (15) Some preliminary research shows that vitamin B12 benefits the immune system enough to potentially help prevent cancer, including cervical, prostate and colon cancers.
9. Helps Produce Red Blood Cells and Prevent Anemia
Vitamin B12 is needed to help produce a healthy level of red blood cells. It helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, which results in symptoms like chronic fatigue and weakness. (16)
Vitamin B12 Benefits vs. B6 vs. B Complex vs. Folic Acid
- Vitamin B12 is required for many important body functions, including proper red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis and neurological function.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause symptoms like chronic fatigue, muscles aches, joint pain, shortness of breath, mood chances, poor dental health, abnormal health problems and poor memory.
- The best vitamin B12 foods include beef and chicken liver; fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna; yogurt; and raw milk.
- Like vitamin B12, vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) plays an important role in a range of physical and psychological functions, but this vitamin is essential for amino acid metabolism. Vitamin B6 benefits include its ability to help maintain a healthy metabolism, boost nerve and liver function, improve skin and eye health, and increase energy levels.
- Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause symptoms like mood changes, fatigue, muscle pains, confusion, worsening PMS symptoms and worsening anemia symptoms. Studies also show that vitamin B6 deficiency is linked to increased heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders, like seizures, migraines and mood disorders.
- The best vitamin B6 foods include turkey breast, grass-fed beef, chicken breast, tuna, pinto beans, chickpeas, avocado, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
- B complex supplements contain a combination of B vitamins, including vitamin:
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folic acid)
- B12 (cobalamin)
- As a whole, B vitamins benefit your metabolism and energy levels. Vitamin B was once considered a single nutrient, but scientists discovered that “vitamin B” extracts were actually made up of several vitamins, so they were given distinguishing numbers.
- Just because the names of these vitamins all begin with “B” doesn’t mean that they are completely alike. All B vitamins have unique structures and are responsible for performing different functions. Plus, the amount we require for each B vitamin varies, so we shouldn’t be consuming equal amounts of each one.
- What’s called a “B complex” is commonly available as a separate supplement or as part of a multivitamin.
- All B vitamins are water-soluble, so they are flushed out of the body and dissolved in urine when you’ve consumed too much. This means that your body cannot store B vitamins, so you need to replenish them with the foods you eat.
- Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, or vitamin B9.
- Folate plays an important role in cell division, and it helps make new cells by copying and creating DNA. Folate also helps the body use vitamin B12, and it’s an important vitamin for pregnancy, as it’s required for DNA synthesis.
- Folic acid and vitamin B12 are closely connected because they both play a role in methionine synthase. Basically, vitamin B12 reactivates folic acid so it can be used by the body, and vitamin B12 depends on folic acid to fulfill this role. A deficiency in one of these vitamins will create a deficiency in the other.
- Folate is naturally found in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that’s found in supplements or fortified foods. Some folic acid foods include fortified rice and enriched spaghetti, and folate foods include beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas and avocado.
Vitamin B12 Benefits in Ayurveda, TCM and Traditional Medicine
In Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and traditional medicine, health problems arise when there are imbalances in a person’s flow of energy. A proper balance of energy is what allows for homeostasis. Because vitamin B12 plays an essential role in the formation of red blood cells and cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA, it’s needed by the body to sustain balance.
Instead of turning to medications and other conventional forms of medicine to treat health concerns, practitioners of natural medicine will look for signs of nutrient deficiencies first. If a patient is feeling sluggish, moody, forgetful and unable to focus, making dietary changes to allow for an increased intake of B vitamins may be recommended.
Plus, vitamin B12 deficiency is often caused by an issue with the gut and digestive system, which makes it difficult to absorb the vitamin properly. This is another reason why the patient’s dietary choices and overall balance need to be addressed. In combination with increasing vitamin B12 intake, it’s also important to remove foods that trigger inflammation and alter the health of your digestive system.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms, Signs, Risks and Causes
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be hard to detect, especially considering how common the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be, such as feeling tired or unfocused. A diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency is typically based on the measurement of serum vitamin B12 levels within the blood. However, alarmingly, studies show that about 50 percent of patients with diseases related to vitamin B12 deficiency have normal B12 levels when tested. (17)
There are more precise screening options available to detect a deficiency, but these are usually not given to patients unless they have a known case of anemia or heart disease-related symptoms. (18) If you suspect you might have a deficiency but your initial blood test shows that your levels are normal, you may want to talk with your doctor about performing secondary tests, especially those that check for high homocysteine levels.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can include: (19)
- Constantly feeling tired or chronic fatigue
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Joint pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Feeling dizzy
- Poor memory
- Inability to concentrate well
- Mood changes, like increased depression and anxiety
- Having abnormal heart problems, such as palpitations
- Poor dental health, including bleeding gums and mouth sores
- Digestive problems like nausea, diarrhea or cramping
- A poor appetite
- A more serious deficiency can also cause a form of anemia called pernicious anemia, a serious condition that can cause memory loss, confusion and even long-term dementia.
Who is most at risk for having a vitamin B12 deficiency? Elderly people who tend to have impaired digestion are one of the most susceptible populations. This is because older people tend to produce less stomach acid that is needed to convert vitamin B12 properly.
Since animal foods are usually the best sources of vitamin B12, those who follow a vegan diet and don’t eat any animal products are also most likely to have a deficiency. Therefore, both older adults and plant-based eaters are advised to take a daily vitamin B12 supplement. (20)
Other groups that are at a higher risk of having a vitamin B12 deficiency include smokers (since nicotine can block absorption), alcoholics, those with anemia, and anyone with a digestive disorder like celiac or Crohn’s disease.
Bottom line — your ability to properly absorb vitamin B12 depends on the health of your digestive system. If you aren’t able to digest foods that contain vitamin B12, like animal meat, then you will end up with low vitamin B12 levels.
Vitamin B12 Benefits: Top 10 Vitamin B12 Foods
Animal foods are the best food sources of vitamin B12, including organic, grass-fed dairy products, cage-free eggs, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, organic poultry and organ meats. According to the NIH, plant foods do not naturally contain vitamin B12 unless they are synthetically fortified.
Vitamin B12 can be found to some degree in fortified plant foods like nutritional yeast, fortified grain products and algae sea vegetables. However, most of these are not thought to be nearly as absorbable as natural animal sources.
According to the NIH, two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from foods and experience the vitamin B12 benefits mentioned above:
First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. (21)
So, essentially, the health of your digestive system is just as important in absorbing and using adequate levels of vitamin B12 as the foods you’re eating are!
According to a 2007 study done by the Experiential Biology and Medicine group, vitamin B12 is a difficult nutrient to absorb, with healthy adults only being able to actually absorb and use about 50 percent of the vitamin B12 present within food sources — and sometimes much less. (22) The vitamin B12 present in foods like chicken, meat and fish was found to be the most absorbable, while eggs were shown to be somewhat poorly absorbed, with only about 9 percent of its vitamin B12 being used by the body.
Another unfortunate finding was that algae foods, such as blue-green algae that is a popular “superfood” among vegans and vegetarians, was not a very absorbable source of vitamin B12 at all. This is another reason why many vegans are told to take vitamin B12 supplements daily, even if they believe they are acquiring enough from certain plant foods, in order to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency. (23)
Although the exact rate of absorbability depends on the person’s digestive health, here are the top food sources that provide vitamin B12:
How to Overcome Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to overcome a vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Start consuming more natural food sources of vitamin B12. Foods provide a complex network of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other substances that benefit health in ways that supplements usually cannot. You can prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency and get the most vitamin B12 benefits by adding good quality animal foods, like beef liver, grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, grass-fed lamb and raw dairy products, to your diet.
- Take a probiotic supplement daily. Taking a high-quality probiotic on a regular basis can help to improve the health of your gut and your body’s ability to properly absorb vitamin B12 and other nutrients.
- Work on healing your gut. Again, in order to properly absorb vitamin B12 and other nutrients, you need a healthy digestive system. Improve the health of your gut by cutting out inflammatory foods, add more whole foods to your diet and take a probiotic supplement.
- Take the right supplements. You can take a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement or take a B-complex vitamin. There are also vitamin B12 sprays available. But remember, dietary supplements might help in some serious situations to alleviate a deficiency, but it’s not a good idea to rely on them solely for your nutrient needs. Your diet is the most important factor in avoiding nutrient deficiencies.
- If you have a confirmed vitamin B12 deficiency, another option is intramuscular vitamin B12 injections, which can be done under the care of your doctor or health care practitioner.
Vitamin B12 Supplements and Dosage Recommendations
Vitamin B12 can be taken in tablet form, in drops that you place under the tongue (called sublingual B12), in oral spray form, as gel formulations or even in the form of injection. You can use any of these types of vitamin B12 supplements, but make sure you are choosing a high-quality product from a reputable source. If you are curious about vitamin B12 injections, talk to your doctor about confirming a deficiency and how to go about this process. And keep in mind that sometimes seniors do better supplementing with drops and oral spray forms of vitamin B12 because they have trouble absorbing the vitamin from the stomach.
For adults who are looking to boost their vitamin B12 levels with something other than whole foods, take vitamin B12 as part of a whole foods-based B-complex supplement or a high-quality, whole foods-based multivitamin. These will contain the full spectrum of B vitamins that all work together within the body to carry out functions and balance one another, hence the “complex” name this group is given. Within a vitamin B-complex supplement, you’ll find other important B vitamins — like biotin, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin — that require one another to be present for the best results.
Compared to other vitamins, we don’t need a very large amount of vitamin B12 — but we do need to replenish our supply just about every single day. B vitamins are water-soluble and flushed out of the body somewhat easily, so to maintain levels of the recommended amount within the bloodstream and prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency, we need to eat food sources of B vitamins often.
According to the NIH, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is: (24)
- Infants 0–6 months: 0.4 microgram
- Infants 7–12 months: 0.5 microgram
- Toddlers 1–3 years: 0.9 microgram
- Children 4–8 years: 1.2 micrograms
- Children 9–13 years: 1.8 micrograms
- Adult men and women over age 14: 2.4 micrograms
- Women who are pregnant: 2.6 micrograms
- Women who are breastfeeding: 2.8micrograms
The NIH recommends that adults over 50 years take a daily vitamin B12 supplement or consume foods fortified with vitamin B12. The recommendation is to take between 25–100 micrograms per day, as this amount has been shown to maintain healthy levels of vitamin B12 levels in older people.
Can I Have Too Much Vitamin B12?
Because vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, the body has the ability to flush out (through our urine) any excess that it doesn’t need. As a result, vitamin B12 is considered safe and non-toxic, although it’s still always best to stick to the recommended amount and not take large doses of any supplement without consulting with a doctor first. Although vitamin B12 side effects are rare, some people experience headache, swelling, anxiousness and itching when they’ve consumed too much vitamin B12 or are having a reaction to a dietary supplement.
Also, keep in mind that some people have trouble properly absorbing vitamin B12 because of digestive issues. For these people, taking more and more vitamin B12 isn’t going to solve their problem. They’ll have to identify the reason why they’re struggling with a deficiency in the first place, which may be an issue with their gut health.
Vitamin B12 Recipes
The best food sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, like organic meats and wild-caught fish. Cooking with nutritional yeast is another great way to increase your vitamin B12 levels when you aren’t eating meat. Here are some delicious recipes that contain a good amount of vitamin B12:
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Blackened Salmon Recipe
- Garlic Lamb Roast
- Vegan Alfredo
Vitamin B12 absorption can be hindered when someone has a history of alcoholism or heavy smoking. In addition to alcohol and nicotine, long-term antibiotic use can also reduce the ability of the stomach to absorb and use vitamin B12. For this reason, anyone who has used stomach acid-controlling drugs may want to talk to their doctor about needing vitamin B12 supplements.
Potassium supplements can also reduce absorption of vitamin B12 benefits, so if you take large amounts of potassium in supplement form, you should watch out for a possible vitamin B12 deficiency. Potassium from food sources shouldn’t cause a problem, but very high amounts may set someone up for a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Final Thoughts on Vitamin B12 Benefits
- Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to function properly.
- Vitamin B12 benefits your energy levels, mood, memory, heart, hair, skin and digestion. It’s also essential for the production of DNA and red blood cells.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a number of health issues, including chronic fatigue, mood disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, heart issues, anemia and neural tube defects in infants.
- To reverse a vitamin B12 deficiency, consume more natural sources of vitamin B12, including beef liver, organic meats and wild-caught salmon. You should also take a probiotic daily and work on the health of your gut by eliminating inflammatory foods.
- If you are at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency because of your dietary choices or age, consider taking a whole foods-based B complex supplement.
Read Next: Iron Deficiency: Is It to Blame for Your Low Energy?
-3 Forms of B-12 for Maximum Utilization
-Complete Liquid B-Complex
How it Works: Liquid B-12 is a complete B-complex formula that is high in vitamin B-12. B vitamins are often found together because, although each works independently of the others, they often function together in common metabolic pathways.* For example, most of the B vitamins are involved in energy production pathways.* In addition, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are both essential for the synthesis of DNA during cell division and therefore are important for rapidly multiplying cells, such as blood cells.* This formula contains 5,000 mcg of B-12 in three different forms to optimize its utilization.
Suggested Usage: Shake well before use. In the morning, take 1 teaspoon, hold in mouth for 30 seconds, then swallow, or use as directed by your healthcare practitioner. Take with a meal. 1 teaspoon (5 mL) is equivalent to about 5 half dropperfuls. Refrigerate after opening to maximize freshness.
Cautions / Interactions: Generally well tolerated even at high levels of intake. For adults only. Consult physician if pregnant/nursing, taking medication used to treat neuropsychiatric conditions, oral contraceptives, anticoagulants, and some antibiotics. Consult physician before taking if you have a medical condition. Keep out of reach of children. Xylitol is harmful to pets; seek veterinary care immediately if ingestion is suspected. Learn more about pet safety.
For more information about the potential interference between biotin supplementation and blood tests, read this ProtoFact.
Losing weight appears to be one of the most common problems in today’s society. There is no magic pill that can help you solve this problem. Changing your diet completely and adopting a healthy lifestyle is hard and takes a long time, but is well worth it.
The good news is that you can speed up the process in several ways. One is taking super B complex.
The vitamin B complex is comprised of eight vitamins, and each one of these is needed by your body: riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, biotin, folate, vitamins B-6 and B-12. (1) (Normally we think of vitamin B deficiencies as leading to fatigue, anemia and long periods of low energy, but now we understand that it also helps in weight loss!)
These are the water-soluble vitamins, which are found in several foods. They go hand-in-hand with losing weight because of their ability to help your body metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. In other words, these vitamins help you convert the food you eat into energy. Additionally, the role of vitamin B complex extends to helping you with appetite control.
There is a direct correlation to a deficiency in these vitamins and obesity. It is a known fact that these vitamins cannot be stored by your body, so you have to include them in your diet on a daily basis in order to maintain proper functionality. (1) Processed food, overcooked vegetables and alcohol consumption can destroy or limit the body’s ability to get these important vitamins.
Eating a more healthy diet can certainly help the body increase the chance of absorbing these nutrients, though with our depleted soils, GMO foods and toxic chemicals being used to treat crops, it may be necessary to take a vitamin supplement in addition to clean eating. And it is always recommended to consult your doctor before following a treatment plan with super B complex supplements. (2)
- In addition to providing key enzymes for energy, the vitamins & minerals from this complex are designed to help you with the synthesis of RNA, DNA and red blood cells. Listed below are the different B vitamins in the complex: Thiamin (vitamin B1) also helps your heart and your other muscles to function properly, and it facilitates nerve health, as well. Thiamin can be found in potatoes, wheat germs, beans, seafood, and fish.
- Riboflavin-5-Phosphate or active vitamin B2 helps the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and prevents the conversion of unused energy into fat. Along with methylfolate R-5-P can help hypothyroid, by providing key nutrients that act as “thyroid food”. Riboflavin-5-Phosphate can be found in dairy products, egg whites, and meat.
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) helps you control fat metabolism and digestion. The natural foods that include Pantothenic acid are eggs, whole grain bread, green vegetables, meats, and peanuts. (1)(2)(3)
- Niacin or vitamin B-3 helps maintains healthy thyroid hormone production and is, normally found in milk, eggs, cheese, brown rice and chicken.
- Biotin (vitamin B7) will improve your blood-sugar control. You can obtain it by consuming bananas, cauliflower, grapefruit and egg yolks.
- Folate (vitamin B9), specifically methyl folate (L-5-MTHF) is believed to have an important role in decreasing the risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin B-6 is required for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and you can take it from green and leafy vegetables, chickpeas, avocados, fish and cereal grains.
- Vitamin B-12 is the one that is best known for its ability to help your body lose weight while removing the free radicals, which are produced by oxygen metabolism. This vitamin is mainly found in animal-based foods such as eggs, meat and dairy products. (1)(2)(3) It’s imperative to take an active form of B12 if you supplement with it, so hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, or adenosylcobalamin (cyanocobalamin – the common form does not absorb well for most people).
Vitamin B Complex
- BUILDING BLOCK SUPPLEMENT. Our multi b vitamin complex supports optimal overall health with thiamine, riboflavin, biotin, and other essential vitamins, like vitamin B12, that are the building blocks of your body.*
- SUPPORTS METABOLISM AND ENDURANCE. Our vitamin B6 boosts energy and when used with exercise, this b vitamins stress complex supports weight loss and helps you burn fat during workouts.*
- HELPS PREVENT VITAMIN DEFICIENCY. If you’re looking to make a healthy lifestyle change, MAV’s Vitamin Complex is your first step.* Take daily to help prevent vitamin deficiency due to poor diet, or other conditions.*
- SUPPORTS NERVOUS SYSTEM AND BRAIN. Beneficial for men, women and children, our B Complex formula, also called Super B, Stress B Complex, or B-100, supports stress management and cognitive function.*
- NON GMO & QUALITY ASSURED. MAV’s B-100 Complex is formulated with premium ingredients, our supplements are non GMO and made in the United States in a GMP approved facility that maintains consistent and controlled quality standards.
Vitamin B-100 Complex – 150 Vegetable Capsules
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Vitamin B1 may help naturally combat the negative effects of stress while supporting healthy energy levels, a proper nervous system, and muscle function. Vitamin B-1 plays an important part in the breakdown of foods, especially carbohydrates. It helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is then used to produce energy. Vitamin B-1 is considered an anti-stress vitamin because it supports proper nervous system and muscle functioning and may enhance the body’s ability to withstand stressful conditions. Vitamin B-1 is also necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid, making it important for proper digestion. Because Vitamin B-1 is water soluble, it’s not stored in the body and must be replenished daily. Although thiamine deficiency is rare, it can result in serious health complications involving the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart and gastrointestinal system. Individuals who consume heavy amounts of alcohol or who are chronically malnourished may have a higher-than-usual need for vitamin B-1.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Vitamin B6 is a precursor to coenzymes involved in the growth and repair of skin and tissues lining the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the synthesis of amino acids. B2 is necessary for the formation of pigments essential to vision.
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide): Niacin is an essential B vitamin that plays many roles, including promoting cardiovascular, brain, digestive and skin health. Niacin is involved in numerous reactions inside of cells that convert food into cellular energy. Niacin is also involved in the activity of enzymes that transport and break down fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and other molecules formed from food. Niacin is particularly helpful in promoting healthy cholesterol levels. A normal function of niacin is to help remove fats (triglycerides) from tissues and the bloodstream.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Vitamin B5 is vital for growth, reproduction, and normal physiological functions. B5 helps the body to combat stress and is vital for growth, reproduction, and normal physiological functions, such as the production, transporting, and release of energy from fats. B5 is the nutrient responsible for activating the adrenal glands, which help the body to combat stress. When it comes to the body’s energy metabolism, B5 plays a very important role. It is a necessary factor for the Kreb’s cycle of energy production, and together with vitamins B1, B2, and B3, helps to produce ATP, the body’s fuel for energy. B5 is required for the synthesis of lipids, as well as the production of steroids and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B5 is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which transports information between vertebral nerve cells. This vitamin also plays a large role in cholesterol management, by synthesizing cholesterol, which is needed to produce vitamin D and steroid hormones. One by-product of pantothenic acid, pantethine, may help lower blood levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCl): performs a wide variety of functions in your body and is essential for your good health. Vitamin B6 is needed for more than 100 enzymes involved in protein metabolism. It is also essential for red blood cell metabolism. The nervous and immune systems need vitamin B6 to function efficiently, and it is also needed for the conversion of tryptophan (an amino acid) to niacin. Your body needs vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin which carries oxygen to tissues. Vitamin B6 also helps increase the amount of oxygen carried by hemoglobin. A vitamin B6 deficiency can result in a form of anemia that is similar to iron deficiency anemia. Vitamin B6, through its involvement in protein metabolism and cellular growth, is important to the immune system. It helps maintain the health of lymphoid organs (thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes) that make your white blood cells. Animal studies show that a vitamin B6 deficiency can decrease your antibody production and suppress your immune response. Vitamin B6 also helps maintain your blood glucose (sugar) within a normal range. When caloric intake is low your body needs vitamin B6 to help convert stored carbohydrate or other nutrients to glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin): Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. It is also needed to help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. B12 protects brain cells and nerve tissue and promotes better sleep.
You’re probably familiar with Vitamin B6 and B12, but did you know there are actually eight B vitamins?
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folate )
- B12 (cobalamin)
These vitamins help a variety of enzymes do their jobs, ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body.
Spotlight on Three of the Bs: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12
One of the advances that changed the way we look at vitamins was the discovery that too little folate is linked to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9, water-soluble and naturally found in many foods. It is also added to foods and sold as a supplement in the form of folic acid; this form is actually better absorbed than that from food sources—85% vs. 50%, respectively.Learn more about folate and health.
Another line of research about folate and two other B vitamins, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, explores their roles in reducing some types of cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in many foods, as well as added to foods and supplements.Learn more about vitamin B6 and health.Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is naturally found in animal foods. It can also be added to foods or supplements. Vitamin B12 is needed to form red blood cells and DNA. It is also a key player in the function and development of brain and nerve cells.Learn more about vitamin B12 and health.
Vitamins and Minerals
The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.
Do B Vitamins Really Give You Energy?
The claim: B vitamins give you energy.
The facts: The claim that B vitamins are the go-to solution for low energy remains popular—but is just as misleading today as it has always been. That doesn’t stop dietary supplement manufacturers from loading up their capsules and tablets with these vitamins. B-complex supplements often provide several thousand times the Daily Value of various B vitamins. Energy drinks and shots—marketed to “vitalize body and mind”—also tend to contain high doses of B vitamins.
As with so many claims, there is some twisted “truth” behind this one, which marketers use to spin the story to their own advantage. In this case, it’s true that B vitamins—thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (B6), B12, biotin, and folate (B9)—are all involved, one way or another, in energy production. But the vitamins don’t provide energy directly. Only food provides “energy” in the form of calories, from carbs, fat, and protein. Rather, B vitamins help convert dietary energy into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the form of energy that your body uses, in a series of complex chemical reactions carried out by the mitochondria in cells.
Your body only needs a certain amount of B vitamins to function normally. And if you’re getting adequate amounts in your diet, as most people do, additional B vitamins won’t provide a surge in energy. In fact, unless you’re severely deficient (because of illness, extreme dieting, or alcohol abuse, for instance), your energy levels won’t be affected at all. That is, taking B vitamins only benefits people who are very deficient in one or more of the vitamins to begin with. Actually, B vitamins are water soluble, and any extra that you take simply pass through the body and get eliminated in your urine.
Also, not a lot is known about the potential negative effects of taking B vitamins at the high amounts many supplements provide—but one new study, in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, raised concern that high daily doses of B6 might increase the risk of hip fractures in older people
So why might you feel a kick of energy after having an “energy drink? It’s not from the B vitamins, as we’ve established, but rather from the caffeine or other herbal stimulants that these products contain.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to get enough B vitamins if you eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, and other plant foods. Many foods, like cereals, are also fortified with B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal-based foods, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, so vegans run the risk of being deficient unless they eat fortified vegetarian foods or nutritional yeast or take a multivitamin. But most people don’t need even a multivitamin, let alone a B-complex supplement, to feel “energized.”
Also see Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Regular Sugar?
Do You Really Need All 8 B Vitamins?
Most medical students are taught that people do not need vitamins and supplements. If you eat a balanced diet, they are told, you get all of the nutrients needed.
“I was told this in medical school and it is still the mantra being disseminated decades later.” says Dr. Daniel Amen.
The one problem with this advice is that no one has a truly balanced diet. Nowadays, people live in a fast-paced society where they pick up food on the fly, skip meals, eat sugar-laden treats, buy processed foods, and eat foods that have been chemically treated.
Therefore, most people could use a little help from a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement in order to ensure they are getting all the nutrients for optimal health.
Such is especially true with the B vitamin family – a key player in maintaining optimal health and keeping you energized. The B vitamin family is made up of eight B vitamins that are water-soluble, which means they are excreted from the body daily and must be replenished on a regular basis.
Although they are commonly recognized as a group and often work together in the body, each of the B vitamins performs unique and important functions. Additionally, the different types of B vitamins all come from different types of foods.
It is important to note that deficiencies of any of these can lead to health problems. Read on to better understand the roles of each of the B vitamins.
Vitamin B Benefits:
Also known as thiamin, vitamin B1 helps convert food into energy, plays a role in muscle contraction, and supports normal nervous system function. Additionally, it is often called an “anti-stress” vitamin because of its ability to protect the immune system.
Can be found in: whole grains, beans, spinach, kale, yeast, nuts, sunflower seeds, pork, and red meat.
Also known as riboflavin, vitamin B2 helps your body break down and use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in your diet. It is important for body growth and red blood cell production.
Can be found in: almonds, wild rice, eggs, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, salmon, and beef.
Also known as niacin or niacinamide, vitamin B3 helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function. In addition, it supports cellular energy production and boosts HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
Can be found in: beef, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, eggs, beans, and green vegetables.
Also known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is needed for our bodies to break down fats and carbohydrates for energy. In addition, is necessary for our bodies to produce hormones, as well as being needed for growth.
Can be found in: just about every food group – its name even says so. Pantothenic comes from the Greek word pantothen, meaning “from everywhere.” Rich sources include organ meats, egg yolk, whole grains, avocados, nuts, lentils, broccoli, kale, and dairy products.
Involved in over 100 cellular reactions throughout the body, vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is instrumental in keeping various bodily functions operating at their best. It helps the body metabolize amino acids from our food, build new red blood cells, and is involved in mood and sleep patterns because it helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine.
Can be found in: meat, poultry, eggs, fish, bananas, berries, peaches, carrots, spinach, sunflower seeds, and brown rice.
Known as the “beauty” vitamin, vitamin B7, or biotin, is especially known for supporting healthy hair, skin and nails.
Can be found in: strawberries, organ meat, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, cauliflower, egg yolks, and nuts.
Also known as folate, vitamin B9 is most commonly known for its role in fetal health and development because it plays a critical role in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system. It additionally fosters the growth of red blood cells.
Can be found in: dark green leafy vegetables, organ meats, beets, dates, avocados, beans, salmon, and bulgur.
This B vitamin, also known as cobalamin, is a team player. It works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help iron do its job – create the oxygen-carrying protein, hemoglobin. Vitamin B12 also helps regulate and maintain a healthy central nervous system.
Can be found in predominantly foods of animal origin such as chicken, beef, fish, pork, and clams. Because vitamin B12 is not naturally occurring in plant foods, vegetarians and vegans might not get enough in their diets and may need to take a B supplement.
What is the Best Multivitamin?
Many people think they need to go out and find a B complex vitamin, but you can get your daily dose of these important B vitamins simply with one powerful daily multivitamin.
BrainMD’s NeuroVite Plus, which combines all 8 B vitamins with more than 50 nutrients and plant extracts in their most active forms to give you whole body-mind nutrition in a way that drugstore multivitamins cannot do. The brain has special transport systems to move B vitamins across the blood-brain barrier and deliver them to the brain cells. In a two-year double-blind trial at Oxford University, Douaud and colleagues found a B vitamin combination slowed brain decline in elderly people. All our cells need the 8 B vitamins, and they work best when administered together.
At BrainMD, we’re committed to supplying clinical strength, brain-directed dietary supplements. Using the most rigorous criteria for selecting the highest quality ingredients, we offer ultra-pure, safe, and well-tolerated supplements.
For more information and our full catalog of supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
B-Vitamins are water-soluble nutrients that are important in your body’s maintenance of physiologic and metabolic functions. There are eight different B Vitamins, so there’s a lot to know with each having different functions and benefits. You probably have a lot of questions, but we have you covered. Keep scrolling to see Kill Cliff’s guide to B Vitamins.
What does each of the B Vitamins do for you?
- BI (thiamin)- helps make food into energy, helps with muscle contraction, and supports normal nervous system function.
- B2 (riboflavin)- helps your body break down the protein, carbohydrates, and fats that you eat. Also important in growth and reproduction in red blood cells.
- B3 (niacin)- assists in the function of your skin, digestive system, and nerves. Niacin also supports cellular energy production.
- B5 (pantothenic acid)- necessary for the body to be able to produce hormones and breakdown carbohydrates for energy.
- B6 (pyridoxine)- metabolizes amino acids from food, creates new red blood cells, and helps create serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine.
- B7 (biotin)- helps maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails.
- B9 (folate)- plays a key role in the development of a baby’s nervous system and helps grow red blood cells.
- B12 (cobalamin)- assists folate in creating red blood cells and helps allow iron to do its job. It also helps regulate your central nervous system.
What foods are high in vitamin B?
- Grains such as brown rice, barley, and millet
- Meat such as red meat, poultry, and fish
- Dairy products such as milk and cheese
- Seeds such as sunflower seeds
- Nuts such as almonds
- Leafy and dark vegetables such as broccoli and spinach
- Fruits such as avocados, oranges, and bananas
Can vitamin B help you lose weight?
There is no direct correlation between B Vitamin consumption and weight loss. Though some weight loss clinics offer injections of B Vitamins, this is more of just a way to keep you energized and boost your metabolism, those injections likely won’t have much of an impact on you unless you have a Vitamin B deficiency.
Should my pre-workout have B-vitamins?
B Vitamins are important for energy production, so they can be helpful and impact your overall athletic performance, especially if you are B-vitamin deficient.
There is evidence suggesting that B12 intake is important surrounding exercise because weightlifting increases protein synthesis and breakdown. B12 is often included in BCAA in order to make sure your body is boosting protein synthesis, slowing the process of protein breakdown, or doing both.
You can get a mix of those important B-vitamins and electrolytes in your pre-workout with a can of Kill Cliff IGNITE. IGNITE has a blend of B12, B2, and B5, which will give you the energy and help your body properly synthesize protein. IGNITE is packed with 150 mg of naturally sourced caffeine, which will give you a jolt of energy before you attack your workout. IGNITE contains 10% of your daily values of magnesium and potassium, which is not only great for hydration and blood flow but also is unprecedented in the world of energy drinks.
Unlike leading energy drinks such as Redbull, Monster, and Bang, IGNITE is naturally sweetened with Stevia and Erythritol. It is low glycemic offering sustained energy and no crash; and, it won’t fill your body with multiple spoonfuls of sugar.
Can B Vitamins help with anxiety?
Yes, many of the B Vitamins can help reduce stress and anxiety. Here are some examples of the way B Vitamins can help with your anxiety:
- B1 helps balance your blood sugar levels which can help your anxiety levels.
- B3 supports the synthesis of serotonin, which has been proven to help with anxiety.
- B5 assists the adrenal glands, which reduces your levels of stress and anxiety.
- B6 paired with magnesium can even out your anxiety associated with PMS.
- B9 and B12 are significant in balancing moods of depression.
Are B Vitamins safe?
B Vitamins are water-soluble, so it’s unlikely that you would be able to consume too much through a normal diet or recommended supplement. However, supplements that contain high levels of B Vitamins could lead to serious side effects.
High doses of niacin can possibly lead to side effects such as vomiting, high blood sugar levels, skin flushing, and even liver damage. High doses of pyridoxine can cause nerve damage, light sensitivity, and painful skin lesions. Additionally, too much Vitamin B can cause your urine to turn bright yellow but don’t fear, this is just your body getting rid of excess Vitamin B it cannot use.
All in all, B Vitamins are safe as long as you stay within the recommended intake. To be safe, check your supplements to see if you are going to be taking in too much niacin or pyridoxine.
What drinks have B vitamins?
B Vitamins contain plenty of health benefits and can be found in a multitude of foods, but there aren’t many drinks out there that not only contain B Vitamins but are healthy for you as well. Kill Cliff has created a solution to that problem.
Ignite is our energy drink- it provides athletes with a clean source of caffeine (150mg) from Green Tea. It also contains loads of B Vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and electrolytes which allows for a slow release of the caffeine preventing an energy crash later on.
Recover is a post-workout beverage loaded with B Vitamins, a specialized blend of plant extracts, enzymes (both natural anti-inflammatories), and electrolytes to support hydration to help you get back to full speed.