There are 14 different B vitamins that all have their own ‘super-power’, which I will explain in detail in my next few posts. However, in general, getting enough B vitamins is important because their main function is to help your body metabolize fats, proteins & carbs more efficiently.
B vitamins are water-soluble, which means they are found in plant foods. Generally these are important to supplement because our bodies don’t store them (like fat-soluble vitamins), and they are easily lost during cooking & transport. Raw produce actually loses the majority of its vitamins when exposed to light, air & time. This is one of the many reasons to buy local and seasonal produce! Not only are you supporting your local farmers, but you’re getting higher quality produce, rich in vitamins.
You are most likely deficient in B if your diet is high in refined flour & sugar, fast food and alcohol, or if you don’t eat enough fresh fruits & veggies. Even if you are taking B vitamins; coffee, tea & alcohol decreases absorption. If you can’t go without your morning coffee (I know I can’t!), than you would be best to take your vitamins well before your first coffee (I take mine before the gym) or at lunch after the coffee is out of your system. Make sure to take B vitamins with food so they can dissolve and be digested easier. And taking them earlier in the day is recommended as they will help you better metabolize your food throughout the day, and provide you with a natural energy boost.
Because our bodies do not store water-soluble vitamins there is less risk of toxicity. For example, if you take a B50 complex (includes 50mg of all the B vitamins) or a multi-vitamin that includes some of the key B’s you may notice that your urine is very yellow. This just means you are getting enough B vitamins from your diet (fruits & veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds & legumes), but there is no need to worry about toxic levels, and you can keep taking your vitamins for insurance.
There are fourteen individual B vitamins to speak of, but they usually referred to as a group because they share many common characteristics and they work the best when taken together. However, each B vitamin has a unique super power. Stayed tuned to learn more about the power of the Bs!
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