The role of Vitamin B in keeping your body energised

The role of Vitamin B in keeping your body energised

 

Did you know that even mild micronutrient deficiencies can make your feel tired, affect your memory, attention span and mood, and make you more susceptible to infections? Inadequate micronutrient status is linked to lifestyle factors, and, surprisingly, even young to middle-aged adults are at risk. 

High-pressured jobs and the double burden of family and work, leaves us with little free time. As a result, we make unhealthy food choices, our meals are rushed, we drink too much coffee, and some of us take the edge off also by adding further unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking. 

For our bodies to function properly, we need nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. We get energy from the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), while the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) transform this dietary energy into cellular energy. 

Micronutrients play an important role in energy production, immune function, haemoglobin synthesis and bone health and strength. This includes the B-complex vitamins, a subset of micronutrients that work together at a cellular level, and which are essential for brain function. 

 

Vitamin B and energy production 

 

Food supplies us with the potential energy to power muscle contractions and cellular functions. The B-complex vitamins act as coenzymes in energy metabolism. Enzymes help speed up or catalyse chemical reactions, i.e. metabolism, in the body, and co-enzymes increase the enzyme’s ability to catalyse. 

The B-complex of vitamins includes thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folate/ folic acid (vitamin B9) and cobalamin (vitamin B12). 

Thiamin (B1) helps break down glucose for energy. It’s needed for normal muscle function, including the heart muscle. It also maintains cognitive ability. Riboflavin (B2) helps extract energy from glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids. As an antioxidant, it prevents damage from free radicals (a by-product of physiological functions) which may damage our cells. 

Niacin (B3) breaks down carbohydrates and fatty acids during exercise and plays a role in repairing and replicating cells postexercise. 

Pantothenic acid (B5) extracts energy from fatty acids. Biotin (B7) is critical to the breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose, fat to fatty acid, and protein to amino acids. 

Pyridoxine (B6) helps deliver oxygen throughout our body and helps nerve cells communicate. It works with folate (B9) and vitamin B12 to lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (elevated levels can increase the risk of a heart attack). Folate is involved with cell growth and replication. It helps break down protein and can prevent iron-deficiency anaemia. Without cobalamin (B12), folate cannot function in DNA or blood-cell synthesis. The functions of pyridoxine, folate, and cobalamin are inter-related, so a deficiency of all three can cause anaemia. 

With this critical role in energy generation, we need to ensure that we are getting vitamin B from our diet. So the next time you’re feeling low energy and have poor concentration, consider increasing your vitamin B intake, either through foods or supplementation. 

When choosing your supplement, always check if there is a full list of ingredients on the product, a package insert, a valid company address with contact details and compliance to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which is a prerequisite for health product manufacturing. 

Disclaimer

These articles are for information purposes only. It cannot replace the diagnosis of a healthcare provider. Pharma Dynamics gives no warranty as to the accuracy of the information contained in such articles and shall not, under any circumstances, be liable for any consequences which may be suffered as a result of a user’s reliance thereon.

The information the reader is about to be referred to may not comply with the South Africa regulatory requirements. Information relevant to the South African environment is available from the Company and in the Professional Information/Patient Information Leaflet/Instructions for Use approved by the Regulatory Authority