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Know Your Nutrients: B Vitamins and Energy Support

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What are the B Vitamins?

The B Complex family consists of eight individual B Vitamins. Although each of these vitamins is chemically different, they are often grouped together under the term “B Complex” because they work together to regulate many important functions in the body. The eight B vitamins include:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Biotin

 

What are some of the health benefits of B Vitamins?

The B vitamins have many different functions in the body, and can provide nutritional support to manage a variety of health conditions. Below is an overview of some of their individual roles:

 

B Vitamin

Main Functions & Health Benefits

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

 

·       Helps the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Supports a healthy nervous system

 

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

 

·       Helps the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Supports normal vision; may prevent cataracts

·       Supports healthy hair and skin

·       May prevent migraines

 

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

 

·       Helps the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Supports a healthy nervous system

·       Supports healthy skin

·       Helps lower cholesterol 

 

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

 

·       Helps the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Helps reduce red blood cells

 

Folic Acid

 

·       Supports cell division and growth

·       Helps prevent neural tube defects when taken prior to becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy

 

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

 

·       Helps the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Supports healthy nerve function

Pantothenic Acid

 

·       Helps  the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Helps produce red blood cells and hormones

Biotin

·       Helps the body break down nutrients for energy

·       Promotes healthy hair, skin and nails

 

 

 

Where can I find B Vitamins in my diet?

The B vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods, such as: 

  • Meat, fish and poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (e.g milk and yogurt)
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Beans
  • Fortified cereals and breads

However, it is important to note that the B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they are not stored in the body. Therefore, they need to be replenished on a daily basis.

Even though they are found in a fairly wide variety of foods, the B vitamins are easily lost or destroyed during food storage, washing, preparation, and cooking. In addition, most of these vitamins are removed during the process of refining grains and grain products. Although some of these essential nutrients are replaced during an enrichment process, many highly processed foods still do not contain adequate amounts of the B vitamins.

 

Why might we not be getting enough of the B vitamins?

  • They are water-soluble and not adequately stored in body
  • Increased consumption of highly processed foods that are low in B vitamins 
  • They are easily destroyed with storage, washing, preparation, cooking
  • Many individuals follow restrictive diets
  • Antibiotic use can destroy B vitamins
  • Easily depleted by stress
  • Also depleted with smoking and alcohol use  
  • Pregnancy  - increased need for folic acid
  • Age – more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 after the age of 50

 

How can a B Vitamin supplement boost my energy?

With insufficient levels of B vitamins, they are no longer fully available for energy production and proper mental function, resulting in tiredness, stomach upset, a variety of nervous ailments, and lowered immunity to colds, viral infections, and other illnesses.

During times of physical or mental stress, the B vitamins can boost energy as well as support the nervous system by reducing anxiety, depression, irritability, and nervousness. A B Complex provides a therapeutic dose of the eight B vitamins to support your body and help manage these health issues.

What’s the difference between a B50 Complex and a B100 Complex? 

A B50 Complex contains 50 milligrams or micrograms of each B vitamin, with the exception of folic acid (0.4 mg), whereas a B100 Complex contains 100 milligrams or micrograms of each B vitamin, with the exception of folic acid (0.4 mg).

Because all of the B vitamins are water-soluble, your body will use what it needs and excrete the rest. As a result, it is important to spread your doses throughout the day so that you absorb the maximum amount. Alternatively, you could choose a time-released formula at a higher dose for convenience, as it will allow small quantities of the B vitamins to be released over a period of six to eight hours.

Because the B vitamins are water-soluble and need to be replenished daily, a B Complex can be taken over the long-term whether for general health, to boost your energy or to manage your stress levels.

 

Are there any side effects or supplements/medications I should avoid taking with B Vitamins?

There are no significant warnings for B vitamins when taken as directed. However, due to the potential for a number of prescription medications to interact with and/or deplete B vitamins, it is best to talk to your health care practitioner prior to use.

 

Recipe:  Energy-Boosting Caprese Poached Eggs on Toast

Vitamin B12, one of the most widely known B vitamins for boosting energy, is mainly found in animal products, including eggs. This dressed-up, delicious brunch dish combines the comfort of freshly poached eggs with the simple and delicious flavours of a Caprese salad. Perfect for spring!

1 slice baguette, toasted 

2 eggs, poached

½ cup baby arugula

5 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 pieces mini bocconcini cheese, sliced

Lightly toast a thick piece of baguette, or any other bread of your choosing.  

Place the freshly poached eggs on top of the toasted baguette.

Top with the arugula leaves, tomatoes, and bocconcini cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.

Serve immediately.

Note: The information provided here is intended solely as a guideline and is not meant to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Always consult a qualified health care practitioner prior to using any natural health product.