The misconception of the B-complex vitamins and energy!

Tuesday May 11, 2010

The B-complex vitamins are very often associated with energy.  Any supplement or sports drink that contains the B-complex vitamins promises an increase in energy and performance, this is not quite true though!

The truth about the B vitamins is that they are cofactors in various enzymes in the metabolic pathways that produce energy from protein, carbohydrates, and/or fat.  That is the B vitamins are required by the body for the metabolism of these macronutrients for the body’s utilization for cell function.

This is why it is often mistaken (combined with the false claim on the bottles) as a supplement for energy!

Theoretically, exercise may increase or alter the need for B-complex vitamins in several ways.  Exercise stresses many of the metabolic pathways that require these micronutrients.  Exercise training may result in muscle biochemical adaptation that increase micronutrient need.  Exercise may also increase the turnover of these micronutrients, increasing their loss from the body.  Finally, higher intakes of micronutrients may be required to cover increased needs for the repair and maintenance of lean tissue.

So… do active people have higher need for the B-complex vitamins?

Exercise may slightly increase the need for some of the B-complex vitamins by one to two times the current RDA, but this increase need can generally be met by the higher energy intake required to maintain body weight!

Combining dieting for weight loss and exercise may increase the need for these vitamins.  Vitamins supplementation is recommended for active people who consume low energy diets or diets high in processed foods, or who restrict dietary intake of fruits, vegetables, or whole grains.

Currently there is no data available to support improved exercise performance in people who supplement with B-complex vitamins!

If you are trying to get more energy or improve your exercise performance, you should eat a well balanced diet and get lots of sleep!

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1 Comment »

Grace Johanna:

Because these b vitamins are co factors in metabolizing carbs, proteins, and fats, would you then say they are more effective when consumed with a meal?

February 11th, 2011 | 4:19 pm
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