For a strong workout and killer stamina, these four B-vitamins are critical. The more active you are, the more B-vitamins you need because they’re extremely important for energy metabolism.
B-vitamins are crucial for breaking down food into fuel, transporting oxygen throughout your body, and increassing your red blood cell production to keep your muscles functioning properly.
The ironic thing about B-vitamins is they're drained by habits like exercise and limiting certain foods. For example, if you don’t eat meat or dairy or ease up on carbs in the form of grains, three top sources of B vitamins, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough. Exercising regularly causes you to drain your supply of B’s faster than being sedentary as well. Marginally low levels of certain B’s have been shown to negatively affect athletic performance.
Fortunately, all it takes is a few simple eating upgrades to turn things around.
Here’s a list to determine whether you’re getting enough of your body’s biggest energy boosters.
Breaks down the carbs, protein, and fats you eat and converts them into glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids – the substances your body uses as fuel.
Top choices: almonds, milk, dairy products, eggs & Brussel sprouts
Helps your body convert food into energy, like riboflavin does. People who exercise use up more B6 than those who don’t.
Top choices: meat, fish, poultry, organ meats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, lentils, bananas & sweet potatoes
Benefits your metabolism by converting carbs into useable glucose in the body. B12 is also needed to produce red blood cells and help form hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods and fortified foods.
The methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin forms of vitamin B are readily absorbed and used by the body.
Top choices: eggs, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products & shellfish
Functions as a link between your muscles and your brain by activating acetyl-choline, a neurotransmitter that tells the muscles to move. A workout requires attention, cognitive function, and coordination – all which depend on choline to happen.
Top choices: eggs, beef, poultry & salmon
Tips for Supplementation
- Choose the bioactivate form for all the B-vitamins. Pyridoxal phosphate is the active form of vitamin B6, Methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the active forms of vitamin B12, and L-5-Methylfolate (5-MTHF) is the acive form of folate. I like Seeking Health's B-Complex Plus. HomocysteX Plus is another option made for those with defective MTHFR genes. It contains vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12 in their bioactive form, to support methylation processes and normal homocysteine metabolism.
- Take after breakfast with lots of fluid.
- Urine will be yellowish color because of riboflavin.
All B-vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they aren’t stored in the body and need to be replenished every day.
Power Up with B-vitamins!
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods