Vitamins & Minerals Guide
B vitamins are a group of nutrients that play many important roles in the body. Most people get the recommended amounts of these vitamins from food alone because they are found in a wide variety of foods.
However, factors such as age, pregnancy, dietary choices, medical conditions, genetics, drug and alcohol use increase the body’s demand for B vitamins.
In these circumstances, a supplement of B vitamins may be necessary.
We’ll present you the 8 vitamins of group Btheir roles in the body and their benefits for athletes.
Group B vitamins
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Riboflavin helps convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant. Foods highest in riboflavin include beef and mushrooms.
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Niacin plays a role in cell signaling, metabolism, DNA production and repair. Food sources include chicken, tuna, and lentils.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Like other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps your body get energy from food and is also involved in the production of hormones and cholesterol. Liver, fish, yogurt and avocado are all good sources.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine is involved in the metabolism of amino acids, the production of red blood cells and the creation of neurotransmitters. Foods richest in this vitamin include chickpeas, salmon, and potatoes.
Vitamin B7 (biotin)
Biotin is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and it regulates gene expression. Yeast, eggs, salmon, cheese and liver are some of the best sources of biotin.
Vitamin B9 (folate)
Folate is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, formation of red blood cells and white blood cells, and proper cell division. It is found in foods like leafy greens, liver, and beans, or in supplements in the form of folic acid.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Perhaps the best known of all the B vitamins, B12 is vital for neurological function, DNA production and red blood cell development. B12 is found naturally in animal sources like meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy products.
Although these vitamins share certain characteristics, they all have unique functions and are needed in different amounts.
Why are B vitamins important for athletes?
Here are the main benefits of a vitamin B complex:
- Better conversion of carbohydrates and proteins into energy for the body
- Faster cell repair and production (better recovery)
- Increase in natural hormone production, including testosterone
- Increased number of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body
- Helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL)
Should you take a B vitamin supplement?
Current research suggests that exercise may increase riboflavin and vitamin B6 requirements, while data on folate and vitamin B-12 are limited. Athletes who have a poor diet, especially those who restrict energy intake or eliminate food groups from the diet, should consider supplementing with a vitamin B complex.