What’s All The Buzz About “B”?

B-vitamins have become trendy.  There are B-12 injections to fight anemia and to boost your energy.  There are B-vitamins added to energy drinks.  Another popular form of B-vitamins are sublingual (under your tongue for fast absorption)!  And if you look around, you’ll find them added to or fortifying lots of other foods, drinks and supplements these days! 

So here’s the scoop.  Both B-6 and B-12 vitamins specifically assist in turning food into fuel.  And since your body thrives on energy, people often associate B vitamins with their body’s energy boost.  However truth be known, B-vitamins aren’t really energy in and of themselves at all… 

Nor are they anything like a natural form of caffeine.  I think we all know that caffeine alone can be effective within 15 minutes of consuming it.  And caffeine is really where most “energy boosts” come from. 

Almost all energy drinks that contain vitamin B’s are relying on the caffeine that’s in them to give you a boost.  One of the most popular drinks is Monster, and it has 184 mg of caffeine.  Compare that to a typical cup of coffee – 100 mg of caffeine.  The little 5-hour energy gulps have 215mg of caffeine.  With that much caffeine, they really don’t need the vitamin B element! 

So how did we come up with the association of B’s with energy?  Many years ago, medical doctors and scientists discovered that people suffering from depression had lower than average levels of B-12 and B-6.  Both of these vitamins produce brain chemicals that can affect mood.  And one is hardly peppy when feeling low.  In addition, some digestive disorders lack sufficient B vitamins, and they can block food absorption for energy. 

Here’s the energy flow:  B-6 (pyridoxine) is required for the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters.  The neurotransmitters are a chemical messenger that communicates between neurons and other cells in the body. 

B-6 is associated with serotonin production – that affects our central nervous system and our body’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  Serotonin in the GI tract will regulate digestion, hence the absorption of food for fuel.  Serotonin levels are also linked with regulating mood, sleep, appetite, learning and memory – all “motivators” for many of us. 

True B-12 deficiency can occur from unknown reasons, however it isn’t as common as you may think.  Some individuals have “pernicious anemia” as a medical condition.  This is when B-12 is not absorbed in the intestines.  B-12 injections from a healthcare professional typically resolves this issue. 

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough B-6, B-12 and all other essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a healthy balanced diet.  This means lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables, and a reasonable amount of animal protein for B-12.  If you’re a strict vegetarian, you’ll have to look for your B-12s from other sources, such as whey powder, yogurt, and yeast extracts. 

So enjoy your B’s and feel beautiful inside and out. 

 Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B-12: 

1.  Clams, Oysters and Mussels.

2.  Liver from lamb, beef, veal, moose, turkey, duck and goose.

3.  Caviar (fish eggs).

4.  Octopus.

5.  Fish – Mackerel, Herring, Salmon, Tuna, Cod, Trout.

6.  Crab and lobster.

7.  Beef.

8.  Lamb.

9.  Cheese – Swiss, Gjetost, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Feta.

10.  Eggs.

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