B vitamins are some of the best vitamins for energy, because they help metabolize carbohydrates, the body’s and brain’s main source of fuel. The lack of these nutrients can cause body fatigue, dizziness, memory problems, depression and lead to other illnesses. If you are planning to get most of your B complex from plant-based foods, avoid cooking them or do not cook them for too long, because the heat and hot water will destroy a good portion of their B vitamins.
The vitamin B complex is believed to be made of eight vitamins, which are B12, B9, B7, B6, B5, B3 (niacin), B2 (riboflavin) and B1 (thiamine). These energy vitamins are great for preventing low energy, because they work together to boost metabolism, assist cell growth and division, enhance the nervous and immune system, and keep the skin and muscles healthy.
Here is a breakdown of some of the best B vitamins for energy:
B12 (also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin): Out of all the B complex, B12 is probably one of best energy vitamins of them all, because it is required for proper digestion and the metabolization of carbohydrates. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 for both men and women is 2.4 mcg.
- Helps the body digest food properly
- Helps the synthesis of protein and absorption of foods
- Helps metabolize carbohydrates and fats, the body’s main source of energy
- Required for normal gene function and energy production
B9 (also known as folate or folic acid): B9 does not play a big role in energy production, but when combined with other B complex, it can be beneficial for energy. This energy vitamin is important for helping the body to form hemoglobin and is particularly important during pregnancy. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B9 for both men and women is 400 mcg/day. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding may want to consume 500-600 mcg/day.
- Helps treat anemia and sprue
- Helps prevent neural tube defects in newborns
- Great for preventing spina bifida
B7 (also known as biotin): This B complex is another important B vitamin for energy. B7 helps assist the release of energy from carbohydrates and is required for metabolizing fat. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B7 is 30-100 mcg/day.
- Helps form fatty acids
- Required for metabolizing fat and protein
- Increases immunity and gene function
B6 (also known as pyridoxine): B6 is a energy vitamin that helps the body to produce energy by assisting it to absorb and metabolize amino acids. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B6 is about 2 mg/day depending on age and gender.
- Helps the body burn fats
- Assists the body to form red blood cells
B5 (also known as pantothenic acid): This energy vitamin is very important for energy production, because it helps metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B5 is 10 mg/day.
- Helps reduce fatigue and allergies
- Required for proper immune function
- Important for adrenal stress hormone production
B3 (also known as niacin): B3 is one of the best energy vitamins due to its ability to help the body release energy from nutrients. Besides being one of the best energy vitamins, it may play an important role for controlling cholesterol levels. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B3 for an adult is 14-18 mg/day.
- Prevents and helps treat arteriosclerosis
- Helps reduce the risk of neurological disease
- Useful in treating Raynaud’s syndrome, a blood vessel disorder
B2 (also known as riboflavin): B2 is a great vitamin for energy due to its role of metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and respiratory proteins. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B2 for an adult is 1.3 mg/day.
- Helps keep your skin, eyes, mouth, skin, nails, lips and tongue healthy
- Helps protect against cancer
- Required for energy production
- Required for oxygen utilization
B1 (also known as thiamine): B1 is another important vitamin for energy because it helps metabolize carbohydrates and synthesize nerve regulating substances. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B1 for an adult is about 1.5 mg/day.
- Helps with anxiety, indigestion and improve mental ability
- Necessary for adrenal gland function
- Necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and proper immune performance
- Needed for the metabolism of food and alcohol
The RDA for B vitamin is usually the minimal recommendation. For best result, you may want to take more than the RDA. Also, when choosing B vitamins, buy the natural versions rather than the synthetic versions. Some health experts claim that natural and synthetic vitamins are the same and that there is no difference in their health benefits. To make this kind of claim is ignorance because there are many studies that have showed that they affect the body differently.
Natural vitamins found in nature are always accompanied by other vitamins, minerals, co-vitamin helpers and other synergistic components. These extra components are needed to assist the body to utilize the vitamins and prevent it from breaking down into toxic chemicals. A great article I recommend reading about natural and synthetic B vitamins is found at DrHeise.com. In this article, Robert J Thiel, Ph.D., N.D. goes into great details about the differences between synthetic and natural vitamins and how synthetic vitamins are made.
Recommended natural and high quality B vitamin supplement
One of the best B vitamin supplements is MegaFood Balanced B Complex. This B Complex is made of 100% whole food nutrients and is non-GMO.