The Energy Complex: Importance of Vitamin B

Blog Entry #91

By Anthoney J. Andersen –

The human body can be a complex organism.  It can often be compared to a well-oiled machine – requiring regular maintenance and constant nourishment in order to keep it running for a long time.

Many of the nutritional compounds the body requires come from B vitamins.  Vitamin B has been known to ease stress, aid memory, reduce heart disease, and help with depression.

In order for your body to achieve the greatest results, you need to be consuming all of the essential B vitamins.


The following is a list of the eight B vitamins – along with the dosage range that are commonly used for prevention and treatment of specific conditions – that are vital to a well-balanced diet:

  • Thiamine (B1)

Helps body make healthy new cells.

Get it from: Whole grains, peanuts, beans and spinach.

  • Riboflavin (B2)

Helps reduce migraine headaches and increases red blood cell production.

Get it from: Almonds, milk, yogurt, eggs and soybeans.

  • Niacin (B3)

Helps boost HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

Get it from: ­Yeast, red meat, milk, eggs, beans and green vegetables.

  • Pantothenic Acid (B5)

Breaks down carbs and fats for energy.

Get it from: Avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat and legumes.

  • Pyridoxine (B6)

Needed for neurotransmitters such as serotonin; may relieve PMS.

Get it from: Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, cheese and carrots.

  • Biotin (B7)

High doses, combined with chromium, improve blood glucose levels.

Get it from: Barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, egg yolks and nuts.

  • Folic Acid (B9)

Helps with depression and memory loss and helps prevent birth defects.

Get it from: Asparagus, beets, salmon, milk, bulgur wheat and beans.

  • Cobalamin (B12)

Works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells.

Get it from: Fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef and pork.


According to WebMD, B vitamins and other dietary supplements are not intended to be a food substitute because they can’t supersede all the nutrients provided in whole foods.

“They can plug nutrition gaps in your diet, but it is short-sighted to think your vitamin or mineral is the ticket to good health – the big power is on the plate, not in the pill,” says Roberta Anding, MS, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and director of sports nutrition at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

It’s always good to absorb your nutrients from food, agrees registered dietitian Karen Ansel.

“Food contains thousands of phytochemicals, fiber, and more that work together to promote good health that cannot be duplicated with a pill or cocktail of supplements.”


If you’ve ever found yourself to be extremely fatigued, you may have heard the suggestion: “Take a B12 supplement.  It’ll boost your energy.”

Most people in the United States intake enough vitamin B12 in their diets.  However, some individuals struggle with absorbing vitamin B12 from their food.  This may result in a vitamin B12 deficiency, which has shown to affect 1.5 to 15 percent of the public, according to

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss.  Nerve problems, such as tingling in the hands and feet, can occur.

According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 can stave off a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.

Advertisements often promote vitamin B12 supplements as a way to increase energy.

However, scientists are still working to fully understand how vitamin B12 affects health.

Except for individuals with vitamin B12 deficiency, there’s currently no evidence to support the fact that vitamin B12 supplements increase energy or improve athletic performance.


When it comes to eating healthy and maintaining a balanced diet, it’s good to look at labels and research what foods have the most nutrients and vitamins.  Vitamin B – along with many others – is an essential nutrient for the human body.

It can help prevent diseases, break down carbs and sugars, and even produce red blood cells – a necessity for the experienced bodybuilder or strength trainer.

So remember, make sure your body is absorbing enough vitamin B by incorporating the foods listed above into your diet.  Or at the very least, making sure you take a vitamin B supplement that contains all the essential nutrients that your body craves.

Stay healthy.