Have you been feeling tired lately? Lethargic? Like you just don’t have the energy to get through the day? You may be suffering from a lack of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for the body to break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which give us energy that we need to perform our best.
There are several kinds of vitamin B, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B9 (folic acid). Together, these and other kinds of vitamin B make up what is known as the vitamin B complex. Each of these plays a different, but critical role in your body, and it’s essential to get adequate amounts of each.
Vitamin B is water-soluble, so any excess amount in your body is excreted in your urine. This means that you must replenish your supply daily. Fortunately, many of the foods we eat every day contain vitamin B, including meat (especially liver!), nuts, legumes, and grains.
Why do we need this vitamin? Vitamin B metabolizes our cellular energy molecules and manufactures hemoglobin (which carries oxygen to our cells). Each type of vitamin B has unique properties, but most work as catalysts. Catalysts allow chemical reactions to occur with less time and energy, which is why a lack of vitamin B may make you tired.
Deficiencies in B vitamins can cause many illnesses and even death. Fortunately, because vitamin B is water-soluble, it is difficult to overdose on. It’s hard to have too much vitamin B! Alcoholics often have problems with vitamin B deficiencies because alcohol inhibits the absorption of the vitamin in the gastrointestinal tract. Vegans and vegetarians also have to be particularly careful to supplement their diets with B12, as it is not available from plant products.
Vitamin B is essential for our bodies to function efficiently. It affects everything from how light-sensitive your eyes are to how your skin looks, and may even lower your cholesterol levels. If you have been feeling tired lately, or have altered your eating regimen, talk to your doctor about vitamin B and what how it affects your general wellness. A simple change in your diet could be all that you need to feel like yourself again.