Vitamins B2 and B3

I’m going to focus on two B vitamins in this post: B2 or Riboflavin and B3 or Niacin because they are quite similar in their functions: both play a key role in the metabolism of fats, proteins & carbs.

B2 plays a key role in energy production by helping your body metabolize fats, proteins & carbs, which is why I recommend taking your B vitamins in the morning.  Not only will this give you a little energy boost, but will help you better metabolize your food throughout the day. All of the B vitamins do this to a certain extent, but B2 is one of the key players in this process.

Some good food sources of vitamin B2 are: green veggies (spinach, broccoli, and asparagus), eggs, milk products, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, whole grains and fruit (apples, grapes, figs & various tropical fruit).

If you eat a variety of whole grains, fruits & veggies; 10mg/day of B2 is good insurance (usual amount in multi-vitamin). However, if you work out quite heavily (6 or 7 days/week) you may need to up your intake. A B50 complex (50 mg of each B vitamin) would be good in this case.

B3 or Niacin also plays a key role in energy production and helping your body metabolize fats, carbs & protein. It is very good for circulation, which keeps blood cholesterol levels down and promotes good digestion.

If you’ve ever taken a pure niacin supplement you may have experienced an intense reaction, kind of like hives or a rash on your body. This is normal and is called “niacin flush.” It should go away after 10 or 15 minutes, and if you continue taking niacin this reaction eventually stops. Most people do not like this reaction, so most supplements contain niacinamide, which doesn’t cause this to happen.

If you eat adequate amounts of protein you do not need to supplement large amounts of niacin; 25 – 50 mg is good insurance. Food sources of niacin can be found in poultry, fish (best sources are in tuna, salmon & halibut), milk, eggs & peanuts. Wheat germ, whole grains, avocados, dates, figs & prunes are good vegetarian sources. Niacin is often added back into whole grain products because 90% is often removed during milling & processing.

Stayed tuned for more B vitamins!

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Image Credit: pietroizzo


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