The Best Vitamins to Boost Your Energy Levels

We all know that we need vitamins to sustain health and wellbeing, but there’s an awful lot of confusing and sometimes contradictory information out there, and even more products and supplements available, all of which can leave us in a bit of a spin.

Sometimes it’s good to segment vitamins by their effects in order to help us identify which ones we may be deficient in, based on symptoms that we may have. For instance: lack of energy.

We spoke to Lucia Stansbie, a registered nutritional therapist based in London, about which vitamins are best for giving us a natural boost.

“No matter who you are, how old you are, or what sex you are, to produce energy our bodies need to extract essential nutrients from the food we eat. B vitamins are involved in energy production, helping convert nutrients into energy at a cellular level. They are water soluble, allowing our body to store reserves of B vitamins but they do need to be introduced regularly from our food. Low levels of B vitamins can hamper energy production and lead to fatigue and low energy levels.

So always be sure to include foods rich in B vitamins for a sustained, positive impact on energy levels and general health and wellbeing.”

According to Lucia, the top five B vitamins for energy are:

B1 (Thiamine)

“Crucial in carbohydrate metabolism, B1 is used in the cells for energy production from carbs – the body preferred fuel. It is also needed for impulse conduction in the nervous system.”

Sources: Sunflower seeds, navy beans, black beans, barley, pinto beans, lentils and oats.

B2 (Riboflavin)

“Another vitamin needed as a co-factor for cellular energy production, not only from carbohydrates but also from proteins and fats. This vitamin is also used by the liver for detoxification of the metabolism.”

Sources: Soybeans, spinach, greens beets, tempeh, natural yogurt, eggs, asparagus, almonds, beef liver and turkey.

B3 (Niacin)

“B3 is involved in energy production from carbohydrates and fats, as well as being involved in insulin response and thyroid hormones production. Our body can synthesize B3 from tryptophan in the liver to then distribute it to all body tissues, but if the diet is low of this essential amino acid or too high in the amino acid leucine there is a risk of B3 deficiency.”

Sources: Tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb, beef, sardines, peanuts, shrimp, brown rice.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

“Found in most foods, B5 is involved in the production of adrenal hormones, essential to cope with stress. B5 deficiency is associated with fatigue, low resistance to stress and acne.”

Sources: Shiitake mushrooms, avocado, sweet potato, crimini mushrooms, lentils, dried peas, chicken, turkey, natural yoghurt, broccoli

B6 (Pyridoxine)

“B6 is needed to break down liver glycogen reserves into glucose, the cells favourite fuel for energy production. B6 is also needed to convert tryptophan into B3. Although levels of deficiency is unknown, B6 insufficiency is thought to be widespread in developed countries. Foods can lose their B6 content when heated.”

Sources: Spinach, banana, sunflower seeds, potato, sweet potato, salmon, chicken, beef, turkey, tuna, purple fruits.

As we can see, it’s easy to make sure you get your energy-giving B vitamins as they’re contained in a whole range of common and delicious food. Eating plenty of wholefoods can help prevent both vitamin insufficiency and deficiency – this is why cutting out food groups and specific foods without good medical reason can lead to negative outcomes, so never just cut out entire food groups simply because you read about a new fad diet that recommends just doing that.

If in doubt, consult you’re doctor or a qualified nutritional therapist.

Uneeb Khan

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