Struggling Through the Day
So many of us can’t make it through the morning without chain-guzzling tea or coffee. When we start to feel tired, we reach for the fizzy energy drinks or sugary sweets in an attempt to boost our flagging energy levels. Unfortunately, these quick fixes don’t last long and we find ourselves in a perpetual chain of craving caffeine or sugar simply to give us the vitality required to carry out the simplest of tasks.
Credit: MorguefileThere are several natural ways of upping your energy levels throughout the day without resorting to unnatural stimulants such as coffee or chocolate. In fact, you will notice a significant long-term benefit if you actually cut out caffeine and sugar altogether. Combine this with some nutritional changes, having a positive mental outlook and getting a good night’s sleep and you’ll soon be flying through the day.
Realistically though, habits are tough to change overnight. What you really need is a reliable source of sustainable energy that will counteract the negative effects of some of the demons you rely on to give you an occasional kick.
Enter our new best friend; Vitamin B.
What Vitamin B does for us
To fight fatigue and strengthen stamina, Vitamin B is second to none. Optimising your supply of this super-vitamin will make sure you’ll feel alive and ready for action at any point during the day, without the need for unnatural stimulants.
What happens when you don’t get enough Vitamin B
Even the slightest deficiency can result in symptoms such as bad skin, depression, anxiety, irritability, depression and, most commonly, fatigue and tiredness throughout the day. Studies have shown that as few as one in ten people get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of all the B vitamins. To put into perspective how detrimental this can be, consider this; the ideal intake of Vitamin B is now believed to be nearly 10 times the RDA.
The B-Vitamin family
There are eight different substances in the B-Vitamin family. It is no good to overload on one of these substances. For super-sustainable energy, it’s vital you get a good balance of all eight.
B1, B2, B3 (niacin) and B5 (pantothenic acid) enable Glucose to turn into energy, whilst B6, B12, folic acid and biotin allow the body to use fats and proteins to produce energy.
What Vitamin B can do for you
According to a study carried out by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, most people notice a definite increase in energy levels within only 10 days of supplementing B vitamins. After 6 months, many participants felt physically fitter and also reported a significant improvement in memory and mental agility.
The brain uses more nutrients than any other part of the human body. A study published in The Lancet back in 1989, found that children experienced a 10-point increase in IQ levels after consuming optimal amounts of all the B vitamins. Over 15 studies have now confirmed this. The reason for the increased IQ comes from optimised. B-vitamins allow the brain to work more efficiently.
More consistent moods
Emotionally, people feel happier and far more stable when they are getting the right amount of Vitamin B on a daily basis. This comes as a result of having better concentration and more energy (as we have already explored). Some of the most common effects of a Vitamin B deficiency are depression and mood swings. Supplementing B-vitamins helps smooth your mood by producing neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s natural highs and keep you energised, happy and relaxed.
Boost your health
The benefits of making sure you get enough Vitamin B are endless. They help you digest your food more efficiently, improve the condition of your skin, boost your immune system, prevent headaches and keep you young and full of vitality by helping your body and brain regenerate. They are also vital for keeping an even blood-sugar level and delivering oxygen to the brain.
Where to find Vitamin B
Therefore, the richest sources of Vitamin B are fresh fruit and raw vegetables. Slightly less valuable, nevertheless good contributors also include seeds, nuts, whole-grains, meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Levels reduce rapidly if food is cooked or stored for long periods of time.
If you take more than you need, B-vitamins are excreted in your urine (because of their water-solubility), meaning it is nearly impossible to over-dose.
However, to achieve a guaranteed optimal intake of all the B-vitamins, it’s best to take some supplements; you will struggle to get enough of them in your food alone.
How much should I take?
Try to find a good multi-vitamin or a B-complex supplement from health food stores. There are plenty to choose from, but avoid multi-vitamins that claim to provide 100% of your recommended daily allowance; in terms of Vitamin B, this is usually nowhere near enough to maximise your energy levels.
Look for the following levels in whichever supplement you choose:
- 25 to 100mg of Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- 25 to 100mg of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- 50 to 150mg of Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- 50 to 200mg of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- 50 to 100mg of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- 10 to 100mcg of Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
- 100 to 400mcg of Folic acid
- 25 to 75mcg of Biotin
A word of warning
Vitamins B6 and B3 can be toxic to humans if consumed in levels above a few grams. It is impossible to do this through consumption of food and normal recommended supplementation, so don’t worry too much.
You may also find that your urine becomes an almost fluorescent yellow colour. This is absolutely nothing to be concerned about. It simply means you are now getting enough B2. It does not constitute a problem and is particularly prevalent in people who don’t drink much water.
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