Vitamin B 101: Keeping Your Energy Levels Optimal

You’re probably eating healthy–packing your diets with fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. Most of you are probably aware that you have to reduce stress, exercise, and to always go for a natural approach to health. However, due to poor food quality and depleted soil, our diet doesn’t always give us the same kind of nutrient coverage that we need.

So, what can you do if your diet seems to be full of the right things, but you feel like your energy levels are still suffering? Maybe, you’re lacking in B vitamins. But what are B vitamins and why is it important?

B Vitamins

Vitamin B complex is a group of water-soluble vitamins. They play an important role in cellular metabolism in the body that’s important to maintain the growth of the cells. When fats, carbohydrates, and proteins supply the energy for the body, it’s the vitamin B that helps the body utilize this fuel. So, even if you’re eating healthy and you’re lacking in vitamin B, the nutrients that you consume are not utilized properly. What a waste, right? I bet none of you are trying to eat healthy for nothing!

Vitamin B 101: Keeping Your Energy Levels Optimal

Vitamin B1

Main Function: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin. It also aids in mental focus, better brain function, and nerve health.

This is known as thiamin or thiamine. We can’t produce this vitamin on our own, so the only means to get it is by getting it through our diet. Good sources of vitamin B1 include whole grains, seaweed, sunflower seeds, and black beans.

Vitamin B2

Main Function: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin. It also aids in mental focus, better brain function, and nerve health.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is an important part of two major coenzymes in the body. Some microbes living in the large intestine can produce riboflavin, which can be absorbed and used by our body. If you love your veggies, it’s good to know that they’re richer in riboflavin compared to meats. Other plant-based foods that are rich in vitamin B2 are cereal grasses, whole grains, almonds, sesame seeds, spinach, spirulina, mushrooms, beet greens, quinoa, buckwheat, and prunes.

Vitamin B 101: Keeping Your Energy Levels Optimal

Vitamin B3

Main Function: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin. It also aids in mental focus, better brain function, and nerve health.

Vitamin B3 or niacin. Yes, all B complex vitamins are known for their role in energy production. Which is why you need all these B vitamins in order for your body to turn the food that you eat into energy. Not only that, but vitamin B3 is also crucial for digestive, skin and nerve health. Most of the time, the source of vitamin B3 are eggs and fish. But if you’re relying on plant-based food, you can get it from chili powder, spirulina, peanuts, rice bran, mushrooms, barley, durian fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, chia, whole grains, green peas, avocados, and many more.

Vitamin B2

Main Function: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin. It also aids in mental focus, better brain function, and nerve health.

Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid has a role in the creation of coenzyme CoA which is important for numerous biological functions. However, I have a good news and bad news for you. The good news is that all whole foods including plant-based and animal-based contain vitamin B5 to some degree. The bad news is that when a food is processed, the amount of B5 decreases by 80%. So, if you’re the type of person who relies on packaged or processed foods, you’re risking yourself with vitamin B deficiency. You may want to opt for scheduling a weekly visit to the farmers market to make sure you’re getting enough B5-rich foods.

Vitamin B 101: Keeping Your Energy Levels Optimal

Vitamin B6

Main Function: Aids in maintaining homeostasis, prevents anxiety by helping tryptophan the amino acid to convert niacin and serotonin for a healthier nerve function. It also helps ensure a healthy sleep cycle, appetite, mood, red blood cell production, and immune system function.

This is also called pyridoxine and is involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions. According to the FDA, vitamin B6 is essential if you want to support a healthy vascular system. Of course, only when combined with a well-balanced and heart-healthy diet. Personally, I think this is where you see that not all B complex vitamins are the same. I’m guessing that as you’re reading through all the B’s above, you think that loading your diet with one B vitamins is enough, but that’s not the case. If you need vitamin B6, eat more bananas, watermelon, almonds, sweet potatoes, green peas, avocados, hemp seeds, chia seeds, chickpeas, prunes, wheat germ, figs, pistachios, garlic, peppers, kale, squash, artichokes, and sage.

Vitamin B7

Main Function: Converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin. It aids in mental focus, better brain function, and nerve health. It also helps reduce blood sugar by synthesizing glucose.

This is commonly known as biotin which is famous for promoting healthier looking skin. Foods that are rich in B7 are sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, almonds, chia, peanuts, onions, oats, tomatoes, walnuts, and carrots.

Vitamin B 101: Keeping Your Energy Levels Optimal

Vitamin B9

Main Function: B9 merges with B12 and Vitamin C in order to utilize proteins that are essential for healthy brain development, healthy red blood cell formation, and essential for pregnant women.

If you’re an expecting mother or a parent, you probably know that B9 or what we usually call folate is a very important vitamin for you to consume. During pregnancy, you need more folate than the usual because it plays an important role in nucleic acid synthesis. You can get folate from spinach, beans, lentils, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, mangoes, oranges, whole grains, basil, peanuts, artichokes, cantaloupe, flax, sesame, walnuts, cauliflower, sunflower seeds, celery, and chestnuts.

If you’re going to look at it carefully, plant-based foods are rich in B complex vitamins. However, as I mentioned earlier, depending on your lifestyle and the quality of food that you’re eating, you can still be prone to deficiencies. Others may even result to using supplements to make sure that they’re getting enough of this vitamin. You’re probably wondering if plant-based foods are rich in B complex vitamins, how can one be deficient? It’s very simple. Your body doesn’t store B complex vitamins for a long time and our body doesn’t produce this too. Not only that, but it is easily depleted because of numerous factors. It’s also good to take note that depending on your age and weight, the amount of B vitamins that you need will also differ. It can be as simple as you’re not eating enough, even though your plate consists of everything healthy.

Vitamin B 101: Keeping Your Energy Levels Optimal

It is also possible that if you have the following disease or illness, you are prone to vitamin B deficiencies:

  • Atrophic gastritis, in which your stomach lining has thinned
  • Pernicious anemia, which makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamin B12
  • Conditions that affect your small intestines, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite
  • Immune system disorders, such as Graves’ disease or lupus

If you also consume alcohol and smoke, you are also depleting vitamin B in your body. If you think you have vitamin B deficiencies, it is best to talk to your physician first before taking any supplements. I also recommend eating a balanced diet that’s in healthy proportions. Make sure that you are eating enough for your body and not assuming that as long as you ate– you’re good. Always remember that health is holistic, just like what I always say!

You may also like

97 Comments

  • Debra Perry says:

    I have carpal tunnel and I was told to drink vitamin B supplements for nerve healing. I’m not sure if it actually works but I just do it anyway. We all know how carpal tunnel sucks and how painful it is.

    • Rebecca Givens says:

      Wouldn’t hurt to try, and the healing doesn’t happen in an instant. It might take a while but I’m sure it will improve after a while. I really hope it gets better though!

  • I hear about B vitamins a lot and that they’re really important. I just don’t like how it makes me hungrier, since it burns nutrients in your body, it serves as an appetite stimulant.

  • So that’s why you can still get vitamin B deficiency even if you eat a balanced diet with a lot of vegetables! Our body doesn’t store it for too long. So you need to have a stable source and not just an every other day type of thing.😮

  • Also, how are we to know how much percentage of these vitamins really go into our body?? We always assume that as long as we eat healthy, that’s enough. We forget that the daily recommended intake of certain vitamins and minerals can be more than what we’re actually eating. Healthy isn’t healthy if it’s not the same amount our body needs.

  • I was always told that being vegan will make me deficient about a lot of vitamins. But seeing this article made me feel like that’s not always the case. It’s actually possible for vegans to eat healthy without any deficiencies as long as we’re doing it right.

    • Cora Greene says:

      Exactly, it’s VERY possible. It’s just that others aren’t eating a balanced diet and they think being vegan/vegetarian is all about salads and nothing else.

    • Rebecca Givens says:

      The key to being vegan is variety. You can create weekly meal plans in order to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients that you need. If you don’t keep track of what you’re eating, that’s where you get nutrient deficiencies.

  • Louise Mathis says:

    People who always rely on packaged foods really won’t be healthy. Not only that pre-packed foods are high in MSG, they’re barely real food.

  • It would really be a waste if you can’t maximize the food that you eat because you lack in B complex vitamins.

  • Caroline Schack says:

    I’ve never really taken the time to read anything about this but I never knew that this vitamin was really important. I was always so focused about vitamin C in particular but I guess I don’t really know much about healthy stuff.😊

  • Darlene Bridges says:

    I always eat most of these things, so I guess I don’t have to worry much about lacking in B vitamins, right?

    • Mattie Beck says:

      As long as you’re eating the right amount that’s recommended for your weight and age.

  • Mary Garcia says:

    I’m going to show this to my friend who told me that vegans can’t get enough B vitamins. I was starting to think of the same thing because I always see that B vitamins come from meat, eggs and fish!

  • Ada Rodriquez says:

    Good thing that I eat a lot from this list. It would be bad if I really didn’t keep in mind my B complex intake.

  • Dorothy Garrett says:

    I’m going to take note all of this when I’m creating my meal plan. I should at least include one of the following in order to keep my energy levels optimal.

  • Lynn Saunders says:

    Avocados appear on almost all the list. It’s such an amazing fruit!

    • Even sunflower seeds. Those tiny little things are really great. I guess I have to keep eating those patiently.

  • Kathryn Hill says:

    I love adding chia seeds to almost anything I eat. I’m glad that the tiniest food on earth is actually rich in B vitamins.😏

    • Rebecca Givens says:

      Oh yes! I love adding chia seeds to my food. It doesn’t taste like anything but it really is packed with a lot of nutrients.

  • Billie Alexander says:

    I’ve been off meat for 11 years. My friends and family were mortified because they were worried about protein and vitamins. But now after all this time, they are actually compassionate towards my decision. At family gatherings, people are always bringing vegetables just for me. It’s really about how you treat people who don’t understand. They eventually come around if you just stand your ground and have a good attitude towards them.

  • Farrah Ham says:

    I went on a restrictive eating routine that left out b-vit rich foods. I stayed like this for months and I noticed my hair falling out, pains in my hands and wrists so much that I keep moving them to ward off the discomfort. The final straw was my anxiety/major depression. It’s been effecting me at work and my personality is 180 from 6 months ago. I’m going to be eating b vitamin food starting today.

  • Stuart Lauritsen says:

    I take this vitamin all the time. I love it, It helps have a boost. It can clear up your skin. But it takes drinking water through out. Try it! There are tablets too, they are about 5 to 4 dollars at the markets. 👍

  • Juanita Vargas says:

    Thank you so much!!!!!! This is a really really amazing article! I have never seen an article that covers what you really need to know! I have been vegetarian for 5 years and every year I am vegan for 40 days consecutively and when I track my diet I find that I can often come short on things like iron. Some days I will go out of my way to eat a lot of iron rich foods but found that I usually struggle to get good amounts daily and I found these really really helpful thank you so much!

  • Pearl Bridges says:

    Hey so what’s the deal with anti-nutrients? I’m suddenly hearing about them and why they are the reason plant-based diets can hold back our absorption of key vitamins and minerals? What is your take on them? Is this a real thing?

  • Juanita Harley says:

    I just recently began transitioning into the vegan lifestyle and I just want to thank you SO much for the work you are doing through your blog Confession: I have become obsessed with your recipes 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  • Raeann Saunders says:

    informative straight forward post again! good job. I’m going to get my blood tested soon and i have the temptation to eat super well beforehand but then, that would kinda be defeating the point.

  • Robert Gonzalez says:

    what about B17? If it wasn’t for the tyrants that run the US, B17 would be readily available globally putting a huge chunk of the unneeded health system to bed. Thankfully we can get access to this vitamin directly from its source.

  • Kelly Milner says:

    This is amazing! My family have been vegetarian since ages. none of them ever had Vitamin B deficiency. I think it’s cause we eat all kinds of veggies and fruits and spices. typical healthy food that is full of nutrition. I’m a vegan and I still eat everything healthy and nutritious, and yes, one who loves animals will never eat them…

  • Joel Fischer says:

    No disrespect but…. This diet is so healthy that you need to supplement … vegetables are the hardest thing for your body to process and humans can’t digest cellulose.

  • Kathy Maldonado says:

    This was very helpful when I first became vegan, today is my one year vegan anniversary and I wanted to thank you for sharing this information, as B vitamins are very important for vegans. Your blog really helped me get to where I am now!

  • Evelyn Coleman says:

    I am transiting to a vegan diet, and I come to your blog often to learn how to transition the smart way. Please do an article on how a vegan diet can help someone with borderline hypothyordism.

  • Kimberly Spooner says:

    Hi, this might be unrelated but I have something to ask. I like to juice a lot of my veggies. Am I getting the same nutritional value and health benefits by juicing kale rather than eating it?

  • Irene Wood says:

    Fantastic article, thanks so much for posting! I have been whole food plant-based for almost 4 years now and I’ve noticed the last several months that I am tired as heck. I could be lacking certain vitamins or minerals so this video really helped. Thanks again!

  • MARGUERITE Bratton says:

    Fantastic article, thanks so much for posting! I have been whole food plant-based for almost 4 years now and I’ve noticed the last several months that I am tired as heck. I could be lacking certain vitamins or minerals so this video really helped. Thanks again!

  • Ruth Greenwood says:

    We are so worried about PROTEIN (but 97% of the people in our society are getting enough protein! ), and barely anyone is worried about FIBER (only 3% is getting enough fiber).

  • James Ladd says:

    Your blog is awesome! Was wondering about your thoughts on spreading the vegan message to my college. What is the best form? Posters, presenting to school leaders, individually sending videos to my professors, or something else? Thanks!

  • Aimee Heller says:

    Newish to a plant based diet . A little overwhelmed but hanging in there. Feel like I understand 60% of the material covered here. That’s where I’m at.

  • Linnie Maker says:

    I just wish I could find something like the staple vegan meal plan. Something with a few meals that are easy to prepare that can get me into this way of eating without having to worry about missing out on nutrients I need.

  • Mary Miller says:

    which do you recommend to take as a supplement: multivitamins or just vitamin b complex? you see, right now im taking the multivitamins (since i wanted the iron too) but will I receive more if instead of taking the multivitamins, i’d take b complex and iron separately? thank you! ☺

  • Carla Boykin says:

    Is it bad to take calcium supplements everyday? My mum is worried about my calcium intake and she has me taking them everyday .

  • Theresa Mosely says:

    Thank you💕 I’ve been vegan for 5 days and really needed this info! Big ups, I appreciate all the research and information.

  • Susan Guevara says:

    I’ve just changed my lifestyle to be vegan and I’ve been looking for information like this! So glad I came across your website!! Thank you 😄😄

  • Sylvia Gilchrist says:

    ive recently started taking vitamin b during this fall and realized how stupid i had been, i should have started taking it long time ago.

  • Jolene Quirk says:

    Thank you, this was a really great and helpful summary. I will try and eat more foods that consist of vitamin B.

  • Rebecca York says:

    Spot on! So much valuable information condensed into one article. Keep it up! You seriously are amazing. I love your work!!!!

  • Catherine Little says:

    I take my supplements only a few times a week. I didn’t know that our body doesn’t store it for too long and my supplements probably aren’t doing anything. OMG. I’ve been wasting it!!! 😭

  • Jeanette Robinson says:

    Really appreciate the time and effort you take with your articles! I’ve got a lot of love and respect for you!

  • Gayle Twyman says:

    Honest question, can I just eat how I eat now (Vegan) and use a good vitamin supplement or few to ensure the rest? A lot of the things you mentioned I haven’t heard of and likely won’t want to eat daily or regularly, but not going vegan is not an option for me (I stopped after seeing the meat and dairy industries among others, not because I want to get healthy but that’s a great bonus!).

  • Thank you so much, we need people like you to help us understand the truth about healthy eating.

  • Evelyn Peltier says:

    Brilliant! Thank you. Very informative. So glad we came across your site 💚 Keep going strong!

  • Regina Styron says:

    I just love your blog and how you simply provide the facts. Keep up the good work!

  • Joan Vaughn says:

    I’ve recently gone vegetarian, already try to not consume dairy do to an intolerance, and am hoping to slowing back off of eggs as well. But of course everyone around me thinks that they are doctors and that I’m harming myself and are trying to convince me to at least continue to eat eggs because they “aren’t as bad”. I want to prove them wrong, but I don’t even know the science behind why eggs are just as bad as animal meat even though they are clearly not in the form of animal meat. could you do an article on that?

  • Janice Gonzalez says:

    Back when I was a meat eater I had serious problems maintaining healthy hemoglobin and iron levels. Now as a vegan my iron levels are perfect and I donate blood 2-3 times a year with no issues!

  • Clifford Swearingen says:

    Hey, I noticed that you didn’t mention of B12. Aloe vera and moringa maybe shilajit resin are said to have B12 and some unwashed organic root vegetables or mushrooms and sea vegetables.

  • Currently vegetarian although I’ve drastically cut down on my dairy/egg intake. I’ve been taking a multi vitamin that contains a little calcium as well as other minerals and vitamins. Is it better to take a more targeted supplement or should I be fine doing what I am doing?

  • With information like this so readily available, I seriously can’t wrap my head around how people actually believe vegan diets are bad for your body.

  • Vitamin B6 has definitely helped me. I srated taking vitamin B complex pills that were given to me as a gift (smh) and realized that my seizures were gone! Turns out there’s a connection between the 2. There isnt a whole lot of information out there, which sucks cause I wanna see my neuro and hv an educated conversation with him. Im kind of angry that after being treated with many different AEDs and NONEof them working, he didn’t suggest B6 or 12, (still not sure which one is actually helping) I wonder if the Big Pharmaceutical companies are trying to keep this a secret 🙁

  • Thanks for sharing! I am whole foods plant based eater and just found out I have vitamin B and D deficiency and low iron so this information helps greatly!

  • very informative article, thanks! i just started following your blog recently. i am subscribed to a lot of vegan/wellness blogs but you’re the first person to make me focus on my nutrition and making sure there’s no gaps anywhere. i put my meals into cronometer today; i’ve been meaning to do that for awhile, and i am only low on b12 and vitamin d. nice to feel like i’m giving my body everything it needs.

  • Valerie Fritz says:

    Hi, I recently just went vegan. It’s only been about a week. I was vegetarian for about 7 years. Today I got some b12 tablets 60mcg. How much of that should I be taking daily/weekly?

  • Thanks for sharing this article. I take B supplements because of nerve health but I didn’t know that it contributes to a lot of things. I’m amazed that my supplement actually does more than what it should.

  • Maria Sanchez says:

    Sometimes, even if the veggies we eat are organic, we can’t always say that it was raised by healthy soil. I agree that the quality of the food we eat are deteriorating.

  • Janet Byrd says:

    I just decided to go vegan after 5 years of being a pescatarian (I only ate fish 2-1 times per month tho) this is a very helpful blog! Thank you!

  • Ardelle Hitchcock says:

    ????????? huh? If a vegan diet is “natural”, you wouldn’t need to worry about deficiencies nor supplements! Ideology is trumping reality folks.

  • Laurette Sampson says:

    I love the hell out of every single word of your articles! Awesome AS ALWAYS, excellent post, no more excuses people! Get your vitamins B on!

  • Betty Burnett says:

    I’ve been whole foods plant based vegan for a bit over a month now. I did some bloods last week and they’ve come back as low white cell count. Would this be related or coincidence?

  • Lorrine Dawson says:

    thank you sooooo much for not pushing the vegan diet but explaning to use by via research what it benefits and how to manage the diet safely.

  • Dorothy Adkins says:

    When you always do meal preps and make sure that you eat whole foods, there’s no way you can be deficient on anything. Especially if you eat a wide variety of food daily.

  • Caleb Griffin says:

    Vegan Diet did not work for me but I did not want to go back to eating meat so I choose to go Pescetarian and that works great for me.

  • Tamara Artis says:

    Wow, I’ve always thought that B vitamins are mostly for old people because they suffer from arthritis and doctors would always recommend this to those who suffer from it! 😲

  • Brandon Bowman says:

    I’ve been vegetarian for 5 years and i’ve been reading blogs about becoming vegan for like 2 days now I’m stuck in a vegan blog loop

  • Tamara Artis says:

    If smoking depletes B vitamins, then second to third hand smoking can also cause it? You’re not the smoker, but you still inhale it. Right??? ☹️

  • Doris Hansen says:

    As a new vegan I’ve been a little obsessed with your blog. This was informative but also a bit overwhelming.

  • Dorothy Broadwater says:

    The good thing about these foods rich in B complex vitamins is that you can put them together in one dish and you’re good to go.

  • Aaron Helsel says:

    I just came across your website this week and I’m loving your articles!! This one was really helpful and informative .

  • Chelsea COSSEY says:

    I haven’t seen the mention of B12 here, but B12 supplement can cause cancer latest news… any thoughts?

  • Catherine Bradshaw says:

    I lack in vitamin B and it causes fatigue. I was told by my doctor that I have to take supplements in order to be less tired.

  • Marcia Jimenes says:

    Where has this website been my whole life!!!!! following you on all the social medias!!! Best vegan blog ever!!!

  • Dorothy Howard says:

    I don’t really trust all supplements. I would rather eat these foods instead and get the B complex vitamins naturally.

  • Nicholas Dulac says:

    You just got a new follower, thanks for being a reasonable vegan!

  • Cherri Evans says:

    There is protein in fruits and veggies, not as much as animal protein, but it’s there. 😃

  • Sarah Herrera says:

    Great article on vitamin B. But a med student told me that the article about “Iron with Vitamin C:” Is not longer valid, because is from 1981. Can somebody give me link of an article at least 5 years old?

  • Victoria Lewis says:

    B Vitamins with Omega 3 solved my serious mental problems, they are wonderful.

  • Gerald Crossland says:

    Finally a legit vegan blog! No drama, no non sense, only promoting real healthy whole plant food!

  • Margaret Covey says:

    Mind blown! This is so freaking informational I feel like an expert now.

  • Denise Barr says:

    How can someone, who wants to gain weight, gain it on a vegan diet? Any tips?

  • Stacey Smith says:

    I had Anemia before going vegan, now that I’m vegan it’s gone! Iron levels are great 😊👍🏻

  • So helpful! I have been vegan 6 months and am always looking at ways to improve!

  • Joan Bell says:

    Your blog is an awesome resource. So much good information here. Thank you.

  • Joshua Campbell says:

    Wow! I really enjoyed this post. Really well made, good pacing, great info. Thank you for making it!

  • Tami Knight says:

    Hi there! Just wondering, how do you feel about getting B12 from nutritional yeast?

  • Brenda Curry says:

    Great article! This community needs to get on the seeds and legumes daily. There are such restrictive vegan diets out there that are completely silly.

    • Nancy Smith says:

      lentils and peas are much more easily digestible than beans, yet have similarly high amounts of protein, try it guys 😃

    • Anila William says:

      Chia seeds are my staple! I eat beans every other day not my favorite thing to digest so I don’t eat it daily. I would get more into hemp seeds if they didn’t taste so bad

  • Leslie McDowell says:

    The moment I started taking B complex supplements, my energy levels were very stable. I was less fatigued and I always felt energized. But that doesn’t mean that when you’re supposed to be tired, you won’t be tired anymore.

    • Juli Woods says:

      What are you taking? I’m worried that I might take a brand that isn’t effective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *