Taking B vitamins for energy can help to improve your concentration, mood and memory. Several people have experienced these benefits if they were previously deficient in B vitamins. However, if you are already getting enough B vitamins in your diet, doctors advise that taking additional B vitamins won’t significantly improve your energy levels or memory.
Dr. Susan B Shirin, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's deputy director, says that taking B vitamins can improve memory, mood and energy in people who are deficient in the nutrient. 1 There is no clinical evidence to support the claim that taking B vitamins for energy will help people who already have enough.
What is the role of B vitamins?
B vitamins play an important role in your metabolism — in other words, they help you convert the foods you eat into energy. These vitamins include Thiamin, Biotin and Riboflavin, although vitamin B12 is one of the more well-known members of this group. All of the B vitamins enhance metabolism.
Some B vitamins, like riboflavin, play a more important role in releasing energy than others. However, you must have adequate quantiles of all the B vitamins for your body to function effectively. You can get B vitamins from milk, fortified breakfast cereals and eggs. Some of these vitamins cannot be stored by the body, so you'll need to take them from your diet. 2
What causes B vitamin deficiency?
A deficiency in any or all of the eight B vitamins may arise due to illness or a diet that is poor in sources or B vitamins, such as eggs. People with certain allergies or illnesses may avoid foods that are good sources of B vitamins. Vegans and vegetarians must also plan their meals carefully to ensure that they eat plant sources of vitamin B every day. Taking B vitamins for energy via supplements, may be necessary if you don't eat eggs, mushrooms or other sources of Vitamin B.
People who are at risk of developing a vitamin B deficiency include individuals with:
- Coeliac disease
- Crohn's disease
- Immune dysfunctions
- Bowel disease
How B vitamins affect catabolic energy production
B vitamins are coenzymes, which are necessary for generating energy inside of your cells. If you don't get enough B vitamins in your diet, you won't have enough energy at cellular level. Taking B vitamins for energy is essential for people at every stage of life because everyone has mitochondria in their cells to utilise energy. Mitochondria inside your body's cells require riboflavin and other B vitamins for anaerobic respiration.
Without thiamine and biotin, the mitochondria in your cells will not be able to metabolize fatty acids and glucose. You can have a sweet drink or an energy drink, but you won't get energy from it if those B vitamins aren't present to help the mitochondria metabolise the glucose. 3
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the form of energy that your body uses. Mitochondria help to convert glucose into ATP, a process where B vitamins are essential. While these vitamins don't supply energy directly, they are an integral part of the conversion process, which is known as Kreb's Cycle. It's important to remember that although this article focuses on B vitamins, there are other nutrients that your body needs for this cycle as well. 4
B vitamins and anaemia
People who are anaemic often feel tired and sluggish. They may have difficulty concentrating or feel winded even while performing routine tasks. While an iron deficiency is usually linked to anaemia, low levels of B vitamins can also make it difficult for your body to make haemoglobin.
If you aren't getting enough B vitamins, you'll feel weak and tired all the time, even if you are getting enough iron from sources such as liver. That’s why adding more iron alone to your diet won't help because the B vitamins are also needed to make blood cells. 5
Taking B vitamins for energy can help you if you aren't already getting enough from your diet. You could be an athlete who is eating right in other ways or a person who consumes energy drinks every day to help meet the demands of physical work.
Simply put, if your diet is deficient in B vitamins, your body won't be able to use the food you consume to produce energy. Taking a vitamin B complex supplement can help you hit your daily intake of B vitamins and boost your energy levels at the same time. Our B complex supplement is specially formulated to provide 100% of your daily RDA in one easy-to-take, vegan-friendly tablet.