Food is fuel. Thinking about what you put into your body is important, because this is what will give you the energy to get through long busy days. The B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins which are essential for our health. We must consume them daily through our diet because B vitamins can’t be stored in the body.
There are 8 different types of B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, folate (B9) and B12, each vitamin has its own role in supporting a range of crucial bodily functions.
Reasons why we need B vitamins:
- To support energy production
- Support adrenals (the body’s stress response)
- Support the central nervous system
- Support metabolism
- Support hormonal health
- Reduce anxiety
- Prevent anaemia (B12 and folate)
You will need to increase your B vitamin intake even further if you are stressed, exercise intensively or drink alcohol.
One of the biggest areas where B vitamins come into play is energy production and metabolism, because they aid in converting food into energy and also help the body to use the fuel from nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fats.
B vitamins are also part of the process of creating red blood cells. Without sufficient B vitamin intake you can experiences conditions such as anaemia, which occurs when the blood cells are unable to transport enough oxygen. If you are vegan or vegetarian it’s important to keep an eye on your B12 levels as well as your folate levels. Low B12 is a common cause of fatigue, so supplementation can be beneficial for vegans and vegetarians. If you are interested in supplementation I would recommend talking to a health practitioner to find the best and most bio-available supplement for you.
There is a methylation cycle, occurring in every cell of the body that is depending on the active form of folate and B12. This is another reason why it’s important to keep these levels in check. This cycle helps to regulate energy production, cell health, gene expression, detoxification, the body’s stress response, nerve function and immunity.
B vitamins are fundamental to our wellbeing throughout life. The B vitamins work in a close relationship with each other, which is why they are often grouped together in a complex and need to be taken together to be effective. It’s important to note that taking an individual supplement for one B vitamin could potentially mask a symptom of a deficiency in another B vitamin.
Because the body is unable to store B vitamins it is essential that you get them through your diet or supplementation if necessary. Lucky these vitamins can be found rather abundantly in various foods:
Incorporate these foods into your daily diet to ensure you get enough B vitamins into your day:
- Meat (particularly liver)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Brown rice
- Beans and legumes