Ever feel exhausted but you’re not quite sure why? Even when you eat healthy, it’s possible you could benefit from supplementing with B Vitamins or iron to boost your energy.
How B Vitamins are Used in Your Body
The B-complex family is made up of eight vitamins. As a whole, B vitamins are important for metabolizing macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat), energy production, skin and muscle tone, and maintaining a healthy nervous system, and more. They include:
- B1 (thiamin) supports nervous system function and helps convert food into energy.
- B2 (riboflavin) supports production of energy in your cells.
- B3 (niacin) supports sex hormones and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands.
- B5 (pantothenic acid) helps make red blood cells which carry oxygen your body.
- B6 (pyridoxine) is needed to metabolize amino acids and glycogen (the body’s storage form of glucose), for normal nervous system function and for red blood cell formation.
- B7 (biotin) supports nutrient metabolism and may help with healthy hair, skin and nails.
- B9 (folic acid) acts to help the body produce and maintain new cells, and is known for its role in fetal health and nervous system development.
- B12 (cobalamin) plays an important role in the energy pathways of the body, DNA synthesis, proper red blood cell formation and normal nervous system function.
Eat Healthy and Get Enough B Vitamins
Meat & Dairy. B vitamins are found naturally in animal proteins. Lean meats, seafood, dairy and eggs top the list. In fact, because there are no known plant foods that are natural sources of B12, vegans are susceptible to developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
How Should I Supplement? Fortunately, B vitamins are readily found in multivitamin supplements and also in B-complex supplements specifically. Additionally, eating fortified foods like certain breakfast cereals, soymilk and even vegetarian meat substitutes, can help prevent a potential deficit.
How Iron is Used in Your Body
An essential mineral, iron helps form and oxygenate our blood cells and hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to body tissues to maintain basic life functions. Which is why those who don’t get enough iron in their diet can feel fatigued, or even be diagnosed with anemia. Your body needs enough iron to:
- Convert food to energy. Iron plays a vital role in the process by which cells generate energy.
- Support a normal immune system. Lower iron levels compromise immune response.
- Maintain normal cognitive function. Memory, attention, learning, language and more all depend on brain performance aided by iron.
Eat Healthy and Get Enough Iron
Meat, Legumes & Greens. Like B vitamins are found naturally in animal proteins. To ensure that you have adequate energy, boost your intake of red meat and seafood. Dietary iron can also be found in legumes like lentils and beans, in nuts, and in dark leafy greens.
How Should I Supplement? Pregnant women should have their iron levels checked, since it’s an important factor in the healthy development of the fetus. While taking any supplement without consulting with your doctor first is ill-advised, this is especially true of iron supplements. Significant side effects can occur if you take iron in excess, so check with your physician to find out if an iron supplement for energy is a good idea for you.