This post was sponsored by MegaFood Canada
In this blog post – we’re talking all about B Vitamins! Did you know that the B Vitamins are incredibly important for the body as they carry out many crucial roles? Interestingly, there are 8 different essential B vitamins our bodies need (despite their names going all the way up to 12)!
One of the main roles the B vitamins play is helping to convert the food we eat into energy that our bodies can use – pretty cool eh? Each B vitamin plays specific roles on their own but it’s also important that they maintain a delicate balance amongst each other for the body to function optimally.
In this blog post we’re going to break down:
- The types of B Vitamins
- Some of the important roles B vitamins play
- Vitamin B rich food
- What you need to know about vitamin B supplementation
The Types of B Vitamins
As mentioned, there are 8 essential B vitamins that the body needs.
The 8 Essential B Vitamins: (9)
(B1) Thiamine: helps with carbohydrate metabolism, supports the brain, heart, and nervous system.
(B2) Riboflavin: helps breakdown food for energy and supports the body in maintaining proper brain, nerve, digestive and hormone function
(B3) Niacin: helps keep the skin, hair, and eyes healthy. ‘Niacin flush’ is a common term as it acts as a vasodilator of blood vessels
(B5) Pantothenate: supports hormone production, helps breakdown food, and is known as the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin
(B6) Pyridoxine: helps to maintain a healthy nervous system (important for easing anxiety), helps with progesterone production, and maintains healthy blood vessels
(B9) Folate: helps produce red blood cells, important for mental health, and particularly important for a healthy pregnancy
(B12) Cobalamin: known as the ‘energy vitamin’, helps with function of the brain and nervous system, and helps with the formation of red blood cells
As you can see from the list above – all B vitamins have very important roles to play within the human body!
Specifics on How B Vitamins Support Your Body?
Having adequate levels of B vitamins are incredibly important for managing anxiety. In fact, the B vitamins are essential for the nervous system to function optimally. Two very common deficiencies that shows up with anxiety are low levels of vitamin B6 (1) and low levels of B12 (2).
Interestingly, both vitamin B1 and B6 have been found to have a ‘calming effect’ on the body and vitamin B5 is known as the ‘anti-stress vitamin’! Without adequate levels of all the B vitamins, anxiety can easily trickle in, which is why it’s super important to ensure you’re getting enough of them in order to keep anxiety at bay!
The B vitamins are super important for helping to maintain balanced hormones (3). In particular, B6 is incredibly important to help support healthy hormone balance as it helps with the production of progesterone (7).
In our modern day, many women are low in progesterone, and dominant in estrogen. With the assist of vitamin B6, the body can better produce adequate levels of progesterone, which helps to balance out the impacts of high estrogen. It’s been found that taking between 50-100mg of vitamin B6 per day can greatly help to reduce PMS & hormonal related mood swings (4).
Because B vitamins do so much for our bodies – having adequate stores is essential for ‘happy hormones’!
In a nut shell – B vitamins are essentially known to be ‘the energy vitamins’! They support with so much of our bodies’ functions – including helping with cell metabolism and transforming the food we eat into usable energy!
In particular vitamin B12 is known as the main B vitamin that’s supportive for proper energy levels. If one is deficient in B12, they will likely feel sluggish, tired, and potentially even depressed (5).
The B vitamins (primarily B12 and Folate) also help with the formation of red blood cells – thus indirectly having an impact on iron levels (8). Having adequate iron stores is so important for feeling energized and vital. In fact, one of the most common symptoms of low iron (which can be impacted by low B12 and/ or Folate) is feelings of fatigue.
Keeping vitamin B levels at adequate amounts is absolutely essential to help you feel energized throughout the day!
Food Sources of B Vitamins
Now that we know about how important B vitamins are – it’s time to talk about where we can find them!
The good news is that B vitamins are widely abundant in a variety of different foods! As I always like to remind people, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough diversity within your diet to provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need to thrive.
Some amazing food sources that are widely abundant in B vitamins include (6):
- Eggs (always opt for pasture raised)
- Wild salmon
- Leafy greens (especially high in B9)
- Liver and other organic meats
- Legumes & beans
- Nutritional Yeast
- Whole grains (oats, rye, spelt, korshan, whole wheat, etc.)
- Seafood such as; clams, muscles, and oysters
- NOTE: there are not many natural plant based sources of B12 so it can be important for vegans to supplement with (see recommendation below)
B Vitamin Supplementation
On top of eating a well balanced, diverse whole food based diet, it can be a great idea to supplement with a high quality B complex to be sure your body really is getting all it needs! It can be especially supportive to supplement with B vitamins if you’re under a lot of stress (as stress can deplete your nutrient stores), are on the birth control pill, are feeling extra anxious, or notice you’re feeling chronically low in energy.
As always, when talking about supplements, the most important thing to consider is the quality! Unfortunately, if your vitamins aren’t of high quality – they really won’t do much at all for your body! If you know me, you’ll likely know that one of my top recommendation for supplements is always MegaFood Canada! I love MegaFood Canada supplements because they’re; guaranteed glyphosate residue free, dairy & soy free, a certified B corp, and contain real organic whole food ingredients! Their quality is top notch and you can truly tell from taking them!
MegaFood Canada’s Balanced B Complex contains all 8 essential B vitamins and is also made with organic brown rice and farm fresh organic kale! This supplement is easy to digest and absorb – and can even be taken on an empty stomach. As the name would suggest, MegaFood Canada’s Balanced B Complex provides you with the optimal levels of all the different B vitamins (in the right balance) to support your body.
If you’re looking to supplement with a B complex, I recommend taking it in the mornings to help support your energy levels throughout the day. MegaFood Canada is definitely my go to recommendation for a high quality B Complex to help support anxiety, hormone balance, and improve energy.
One final note – as I mentioned above, there really aren’t many plant based foods that naturally contain B12 (although there are plant foods that are fortified with it such as cereals, nutritional yeast, and almond milk). This is why, however, it can be incredibly helpful for vegans to supplement with B12. Doing so can help to support energy levels, the nervous system, and avoid anemia. If you’re looking for a good specific B12 supplement – MegaFood Canada’s B12 Gummies just so happen to be one of the most delicious (and amazing) I’ve ever taken! Although they do contain a touch of cane sugar, they are so yummy, and still meet the high criterion that MegaFood ensures for all their products (organic, gmo free, soy free, etc.)! There’s both a cranberry (my favourite) and ginger flavour.