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The Role of B Vitamins In Your Health and Weight Loss

The Role of B Vitamins In Your Health and Weight LossThe B vitamin complex, often called the ‘’energy’ vitamins, are a water soluble group of 8 vitamins essential for a healthy human body. And as they are water soluble they must be continually replenished because any excess is excreted in your urine (a small amount is stored in the liver). Most B vitamins are available in the fresh food you eat and also produced by the probiotics (good bacteria) living in your digestive system.


The following foods are rich in the vitamin B complex:

  • brewer’s yeast
  • turkey
  • liver
  • liver oil
  • tuna
  • chili peppers
  • lentils, bananas
  • potatoes
  • tempeh
  • oats
  • barley
  • wheat bran
  • avocado
  • salmon
  • nuts

B12, which is only available from animal products is high in these foods:

  • meats (beef, chicken, pork etc)
  • dairy products
  • eggs

Let’s discuss some of the important roles of B vitamins relevant to you if your goal is to lose weight.

B12 and a Faster Metabolism. B12 speeds up your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day. Although B12 is found in some plants it is not bio-available to humans unless the food has been fortified with bio-available forms of B12 during processing. All of your dietary B12 will come from consuming animal products like meat, dairy and eggs. With that in mind, if you’re a vegan you really should be taking a B12 supplement.

B Vitamins and Carb, Fat and Protein Metabolism. The B vitamins combine with proteins in your body to form coenzymes essential for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Without adequate B vitamins in your body your digestion will be less efficient and you’ll need to consume more calories to meet your nutrient requirements.

 B Vitamins and Muscle. Bodybuilders consider the B vitamin complex as an essential supplement if you’re serious about growing muscle. The B vitamins play many important roles in maintenance of your nervous system, protein metabolism, cell growth and oxygenation of your muscles, all of which are very important if you are exercising to build muscle. Building muscle is one of your most effective strategies in fat loss.

Folate (B9) and Weight Loss. Folate is of particular interest if you’re trying to lose weight. When naturally occurring it’s called folate but when its added to a food to fortify it, it’s known as folic acid or folacin. So when you read the ingredients of a product, total folate will be listed something like this:

Total folate 400µg
Folate 100µg
Folic acid 300µg

Studies have shown that your rate of weight loss can be up to 8.5 times faster when your folate levels are high. In fact as folate levels fall, rates of obesity, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease increase. But there is an additional boost which comes from folate:  Improved mood.

Folate is a powerful mood enhancer which lifts the spirits and wards off depression. And as we discussed in the very early chapters of this book, weight loss is much more successful in the presence of a healthy self esteem.

Folate rich foods include:

  • Kidney beans
  • Great Northern beans
  • Baked beans
  • Lima beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Green peas
  • Lentils
  • Okra
  • Broccoli
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Beets
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Corn
  • Asparagus
  • Baked potato
  • Cabbage
  • Avocados
  • Peanuts
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomato Juice
  • Orange juice
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Eggs
  • Bananas

Vitamin B Supplementation. If you plan on taking a B vitamin supplement, I recommend you take both a B complex and a B12.

Vitamin B and Alcohol. If you’re a heavy drinker, B supplementation is important because alcohol interferes with the absorption of B vitamins.