You already probably know that there are plenty of vitamins that can help your bodybuilding efforts on top of making your body healthy and immune to diseases – that’s why you’re here. And now you’re getting the good news because one of the long lists of these vitamins is the Vitamin B Complex.
Is this the first time you’re hearing about this? You probably need to read more about the basics supplementing first. We got you covered, you can check here.
What is Vitamin B complex?
Vitamin B complex is comprised of eight (8) B vitamins that are essential and contribute to your overall bodily functions. These B vitamins are the following:
B1, also known as Thiamin. This is the first Vitamin B that was discovered by the scientists; hence it was named Vitamin B1. Thiamin is regarded as an essential nutrient that all our bodily tissues need in order to function properly. It is a water-soluble vitamin that aids the body in turning food into energy.
Not getting enough Thiamin can cause deficiency which can lead to impairment in our nervous system, particularly the brain, and in the heart. Thiamin deficiency is usually caused by alcoholism and anorexia.
B2, also known as Riboflavin. Unlike other B vitamins, Riboflavin is naturally present in some foods. Like the others, Vitamin B2 helps our bodies build red blood cells and serves as foundation in supporting cellular functions that give us energy. Such functions include the breakdown of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Riboflavin deficiency, a result of not getting enough of the B vitamin, can lead to anemia. However, getting more than the recommended dose of riboflavin can damage your liver, which is a rare occurrence. You’d have to eat impossibly large quantities of the B vitamin for that to happen.
B3, also known as Niacin. Another water-soluble B vitamin, Niacin acts as an antioxidant and plays an essential role in the DNA repair. Like other B vitamins, it also helps in converting food components into usable energy. As a supplement, Niacin helps in lowering the cholesterol levels, boosts brain function, and eases the effects of arthritis.
Not getting enough Niacin, although very rare, will cause symptoms such as skin rash or discoloration, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, fatigue, memory loss and loss of appetite. Niacin deficiency can easily be treated with niacinamide supplementation.
B5, also known as Pantothenic Acid. This B vitamin is essential like the rest of the B-complex in protein, carbohydrates, and fats into energy. Vitamin B5 can easily be found in food sources such as broccoli, members of the cabbage family, white and sweet potatoes, and whole-grain cereals. Symptoms of Vitamin B5 deficiency include headache, fatigue, irritability, impaired muscle coordination, and gastrointestinal problems.
B6, also known as Pyridoxine. One of the best members of the Vitamin B-Complex, Pyridoxine is essential
to the central nervous system. Another water-soluble B vitamin, it plays a role in the immune system function, brain development during pregnancy and infancy, creation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, and in creating hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carries oxygen. Furthermore, Vitamin B6 protects us from the harmful effects of and reducing the impact of air pollution.
For those who party-goers, long-term and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to Pyridoxine deficiency. Symptoms include anemia, depression, seizures, confusion, and a weakened immune system.
B7, also known as Biotin. Referred to as Vitamin H in some circles, Biotin is a crucial nutrient in keeping your hair, skin, eyes, and liver healthy. It is also essential for embryonic growth during pregnancy. Getting more Biotin is claimed to regulated blood sugar and promote healthy looking hair, skin, and nails.
Not getting enough Biotin can lead to hair loss or thinning, high cholesterol, skin rashes, and heart problems.
B9, also known as Folate and/or Folic Acid. Vitamin B9 is comprised of Folate and Folic Acid, the two maybe used interchangeably but there’s a distinct difference. Folate is the naturally occurring form of Vitamin B9 while Folic Acid is the synthetic form. Folate can be best sourced from leafy vegetables while Folic Acid is added and used in supplements and processed food products such as flour and breakfast cereals.
Low levels of Folate in the body can lead to increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
B12, also known as Cobalamin. Compared to other B vitamins, Cobalamin is said to be the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin. It is only present in animal products such as fish, meat, eggs and dairy. Cobalamin can only be industrially produced through bacterial fermentation synthesis.
Cobalamin plays an essential role in the metabolism of every cell in our body, particularly in the synthesis of fatty acids and energy production. It enables the release of energy by helping in the absorption of Folic Acid of the human body.
Not getting enough Cobalamin leaves us more susceptible to infections.
So, what’s the best vitamin B complex? Well, it depends on what you need them for. The best part is you get to decide.
Sources of Vitamin B
Specific Vitamin B Complex can be found in food sources. The table below lists the different food groups where we can source the B vitamin and the recommended daily intake.
|Vitamin B Complex||Recommended Daily Intake||Food Sources|
|B1 (Thiamin)||Women: 1.1 milligrams (mg)|
Men: 1.2 mg
During Pregnancy: 1.4 mg
When Breastfeeding: 1.4 mg
|B2 (Riboflavin)||Women: 1.1 mg|
Men: 1.3 mg
During Pregnancy: 1.4 mg
When Breastfeeding: 1.6 mg
|B3 (Niacin)||Women: 14 mg|
Men: 16 mg
During Pregnancy: 18 mg
When Breastfeeding: 17 mg
|B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||Women: 5 mg|
Men: 5 mg
During Pregnancy: 6 mg
When Breastfeeding: 7 mg
|B6 (Pyridoxine)||Women: 1.3 mg|
Men: 1.3 mg
During Pregnancy: 1.9 mg
When Breastfeeding: 2.0 mg
|B7 (Biotin)||Women: 30 micrograms (mcg)|
Men: 30 mcg
During Pregnancy: 30 mcg
When Breastfeeding: 35 mcg
|B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)||Women: 400 mcg|
Men: 400 mcg
During Pregnancy: 600 mcg
When Breastfeeding: 500 mcg
|B12 (Cobalamin)||Women: 2.4 mcg|
Men: 2.4 mcg
During Pregnancy: 2.6 mcg
When Breastfeeding: 2.8 mcg
Benefits of Vitamin B
Although each of the Vitamin B Complex is crucial and essential in their own right, the following are major benefits that we can all take note of in search of the best vitamin B complex:
Vitamin B Complex is tied to lower stroke risk. For those who are healthy and unfamiliar with the condition, a stroke happens when a blood clot inside the arteries blocks the blood flow to the brain, or when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. A study authored by Xu Yuming and colleagues from Zhengzhou, China, and published in the clinical journal Neurology in its September 2013 issue revealed that vitamin B supplements lowered the risk of stroke by 7 percent. The randomized clinical trial lasted for more than six months and got involved by more than 50,000 participants.
Vitamin B1 prevents Beriberi. It is a condition found in malnourished patients and those who are heavy alcohol drinkers. Beriberi is a disease affecting the heart, nervous and digestive systems. Symptoms include loss of sensation in the hands and feet, difficulty walking, and paralysis of the lower legs. To avoid it, especially if you party often, take your daily dose of Vitamin B complex.
Vitamin B2 boosts the immune system. A diet rich of Riboflavin, another name for Vitamin B2, can steer clear of Riboflavin deficiency. Riboflavin aids in the human body’s effort of breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in our diet and helps metabolize food components into energy. Furthermore, Riboflavin also functions in keeping our skin healthy, as well as the lining of our guts and blood cells.
Vitamin B3 lowers cholesterol. Niacin, also called Vitamin B3, is used as a treatment to help control high blood levels of cholesterol. Not enough Niacin in our diet can lead to diarrhea, physical and mental difficulties, inflamed mucus membranes, and dementia.
Vitamin B5 promotes healthy hormones. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, people should get a daily dose of 5mg of this vitamin as early as 14 years old. Pantothenic acid, another term for Vitamin B5, is essential in the daily biochemical reactions of cells including the breakdown of lipids and carbohydrates into energy. It is needed in order for our body to produce hormones.
Vitamin B6 reduces the risk of heart disease. Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is very essential because it is said to be involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions in our cells, helping us in the metabolism process and build new red blood cells. Studies have revealed that Pyridoxine have the capacity to reduce the risk of having heart disease.
Vitamin B12 prevents anemia. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) is not naturally occurring on plant-based food sources so if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you may need to take a vitamin B supplement as you are not getting enough of the vitamin from your diet. Vitamin B12 deficiency, as experienced by 15 percent of the people in the United States, can lead to anemia.
Vitamin B9 is helps in pregnancy and infancy. Folate or Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) is vital to the baby’s health and development. It is recommended by the National Institutes of Health that breastfeeding mothers take 500 mcg of the vitamin daily, while 600 mcg for pregnant teens and women. Getting enough Vitamin B9 prevents brain and spine defects at birth and promotes healthy growth during infancy.
Effects on Bodybuilding
After all that reading, you will be glad to know that out of all the eight components of Vitamin B complex, three (3) of them can help us maximize our efforts in in the gym.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). As a bodybuilder, or someone who just likes to be fit, Vitamin B12 helps in metabolizing protein and fat. Protein metabolism produces amino acids that are responsible in repairing and building your muscles while the metabolized fat serves as a source of energy. You can read more about protein’s influence on bodybuilding here, and the importance of fats and why we need them here. Vitamin B12 is also important in the production of red blood cells, which are essential and responsible in delivering oxygen to our muscles. To top it all off, this B vitamin supports healthy neurological function, the one responsible for muscle control.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin). Vitamin B3 supports muscle growth and enables you to have better pumps. This vitamin is a must-have for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts because it increases muscular vascularity and hormone (testosterone) production. It doesn’t stop with just muscle growth, it also aids in muscle recovery, repair, and improved metabolism. You can read more about the importance of muscle recovery here.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). As we damage our muscles in the gym repeatedly and allowing our body to repair for it in order to grow, rest is recommended for the amino acids to rebuild muscle after so much exertion. Without Vitamin B6, our body will not be able to create or absorb
enough amino acids from the food we eat. Without them, our body just won’t bulk up.
In making sure that we get the most out of our workout sessions, we need to not only sort our dietary plans in order, but to ensure we are also getting all the vitamins we need. In case you haven’t read about the best vitamins we can incorporate in our diet; you can catch up here.
Together with all the other essential vitamins, and based on what we need them for, we can now identify the best vitamin B complex we can take advantage of. If our only target is to maximize our muscle tearing and repairing session, then the best Vitamin B complex are B12, B3 and B6. But if we want to take care of our health overall, the best Vitamin B complex are all of them. With their unique benefits that are available for reaping, we can surely enjoy our optimum strength and peak performance wherever and whenever we decide to concentrate in our fitness journey.
With the combination of the best Vitamin B complex and other essential vitamins (C, D and E), we can all be confident that our efforts in staying healthy and getting fit will never be wasted. The best part is we can immediately schedule a quick beach trip or a travel getaway without stressing about not being fit enough and not looking good in our travel photos, or we don’t need to postpone the trip after a few months just so we can spend more time in the gym.
But more than the fitness and aesthetics, we must always bear in mind that mental, physical and emotional wellness are the most important. Once we are healthy overall, and we continue to take care and look after our wellbeing, looking good outside is just a bonus, or as they say, the icing on the cake.