As a naturopath, if someone says they’re feeling flat and like their energy tank is empty, one of the first things I’m thinking about is their B vitamin status.
B vitamins carry a huge workload in the body when it comes to getting things done. They’re essential co-factors in hundreds of metabolic pathways in the body, including those that serve to extract the nutrients from our meals and process them into the cellular energy we need (ATP) to fuel the body’s energy demands. B vitamins are also essential in the control mechanisms for blood sugar and the body’s stress response, and without them, we also can’t produce healthy red blood cells that are needed to carry nutrients and oxygen around the body.
So, to say that B vitamins are important for energy production is an understatement.
Getting enough B vitamins
B vitamin status will be higher in people who are regularly consuming fresh, quality meals of meat, seafood, vegetables, legumes, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds. There are also B vitamins found in dairy products. Vegans and vegetarians need to pay close attention to their diet in order to ensure they’re getting an adequate supply of important B vitamins.
Many breads and cereals are fortified with added synthetic B vitamins. However, the irony is that many of these types of foods also contain added sugar, which means the body will use up valuable B vitamins to metabolise it. High sugar and high carbohydrate diets place a significant demand on B vitamins, and this combined with a high-stress lifestyle, can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to the body’s energy supplies.
How does the body make energy?
The body produces units of energy known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in a complex metabolic process called “The Krebs Cycle” (also known as the Citric Acid Cycle)
IMAGE: The Krebs Cycle: how the body makes energy.
B vitamins are used in a number of steps in this cycle, which can be thought of as a spinning wheel, and each turn pumps out ATP molecules and needs B vitamins as an input material to turn that wheel. In particular, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and Vitamin B12 are essential to this pathway working efficiently.
As you can imagine, if we become low on these important nutrients, we can start to impair this process of producing basic units of energy. We can become fatigued and lethargic and this is often a time when we will begin craving sugar as the body ramps up demand for ‘easy’ sources of energy.
B vitamins are not only used in the process of ATP production but can have other downstream impacts on energy through their impact on thyroid health, iron status, blood sugar, mood chemicals, adrenal function, hormone balance, sleep balance and inflammation.
Supporting energy production with Energize™
Our Energize™ formula has been created with bioavailable forms of B vitamins, including Quatrefolic® (folate) and Mecobalamin (Vitamin B12), Riboflavin sodium phosphate (Vitamin B2), Pyrodoxal-5-phosphate (Vitamin B5) combined with chromium, AquaCelle® Q10 and EnXtra® Alpinia galanga extract.
In addition to B vitamins, chromium is important for the maintenance of blood sugar and energy use from carbohydrates. Coenzyme Q10 helps the body to produce ATP in the mitochondria of cells via the electron transport chain and combines synergistically with Alpinia galanga which can help to sustain mental alertness and focus for up to 5 hours (longer if consumed alongside caffiene!).
Always consider B vitamins when energy levels are low. Sometimes they can be the jump-start the body needs to get all systems firing again.
- Ginnekan VV, et al. Will Our Health Come from Our Oceans The 21st Century? J fisheriessciences.com 2016;10(2):33-48