Breakdown: B Vitamins
Feeling drained and lacking energy before or after workouts? You may want to take a look at your B vitamin intake. The B vitamins commonly referred to as the B-Complex group work together to produce energy in cells throughout your body. Fall short of getting enough, and you may feel a lack of energy (have you tried gummy vitamins?).
Take B vitamins for a boost
Though B vitamins are prevalent in a variety of foods, you may not be getting what you need if you cut out certain food groups from your diet, if you are on a low carb diet or don’t get enough variety in your diet.
There are 8 different vitamins in the B-Complex family. Though each has its’ own functions within the body, all help your body convert the food you consume into usable energy. In addition, B vitamins work together as a team.
- Thiamine or B1 – helps in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy reserves
- Riboflavin or B2 – precursor to coenzymes involved in the growth and repair of skin and tissues lining the gastro-intestinal tract, as well as the synthesis of amino acids
- Niacin – necessary for normal breakdown of fats and fatty acids, and energy release from carbohydrates
- Vitamin B6 – converted into the main enzyme responsible for amino acids & protein metabolism
- Folic Acid – essential especially for pregnant women for baby’s development
- Vitamin B12 – plays a role in entire nervous system, promotes energy metabolism and support healthy heart function
- Biotin or B7 – supports the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy and often associated with hair, skin and nail health
- Pantothenic Acid or B5 – converts to Coenzyme A in the body, which is important for many reactions involving energy metabolism
B vitamins are found in a wide range of foods from dairy products and eggs to meat, grains, vegetables and beans; therefore, a deficiency in any B vitamin is rare. However, some individuals may consume or absorb lower amounts of specific B vitamins than they need for optimal health resulting in a deficiency which may cause lack of energy.
One of the more common B vitamin deficiencies is B-12, which affects from 1.5 – 15% of the population.
B12 becomes increasingly important with age with risk of decreased absorption which can lead to deficiencies in both B12 and Folic Acid.
B Vitamins for Energy
B vitamins work together in the body to convert food into energy metabolism, support mental focus and reduce the effects of stress. Because they are water-soluble and not stored in the body, they must be replenished daily to maintain optimal health.
Many energy drinks on the market contain B vitamins for the energy they provide. However, most energy drinks also contain sugar and/or caffeine and are not considered a good source.
If you are deficient in one or more B vitamins or your intake is suboptimal, it is possible to improve your overall health if you consume more foods rich in B vitamins or take a dietary supplement.
But, always talk to your health care professional first prior to taking any new supplement.
Look for a fast absorbing liquid multivitamin or B-Complex supplement that contains at least 100% of the recommended daily intake for each B vitamin. Many B-Complex supplements contain higher levels of B vitamins especially B-12, for extra support.
It’s the best way to insure you get all the essential vitamins and nutrients you need each day to stay healthy and active.
Make your own Energy Drink and/or Vitamin Water with no Sugar or Caffeine!
Do you drink any of the energy shots or drinks or “vitamin flavored waters” that are now available in stores? Many of them are loaded with sugar and other ingredients we don’t need.
And have you calculated how much sugar and calories are in the entire bottle (usually 2.5 servings) not just 1 serving? Whoever drinks just the one serving amount and not the whole bottle? Most of them contain very little or NO actual juice either.
Yes, there are some with “zero” calories that are sweetened with Stevia but most are just flavored water with very little actual nutritional value.
Why make your own energy drink or vitamin water at home?
- Less sugar and calories
- Save money – most are between $1.50 – $2.50 each
- Go green – no plastic bottles, less waste
- Know exactly how much vitamins you are actually getting
- Adjust dosages or amount of water if needed or wanted
- Customize it – you can put in whatever supplements you want and take it on the go!
- Convenience – make it whenever and wherever you want
How to Make:
- 2-8 oz water – 2 oz for a quick shot or more for sipping
- 1 serving (1/2 ounce) of liquid B-complex or other liquid supplement
- Give your bottle a good shake or stir and you are set to go!
You can put the B-Complex in your water bottle at work, home or car to sip on throughout the day or in your workout water bottle for a really nice sustained energy with no spikes and dives like you get from coffee or energy drinks. The shot works great for right before a workout.
Try substituting these homemade versions for any kind of store-bought shots, sodas or drinks.
Not only will it save a lot of money and calories, but you’ll feel better too!
JAMA. 2002 Jun 19;287(23):3116-26.
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12. Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH.