Walgreens drug store recently released a commercial implying that vitamin B will help increase your energy.  This is just one of many examples of how media, retailers, and magazines can create misleading information to the public, especially when it comes to nutrition and health.  Based on the commercial it implies that to increase energy all you need to do is simply take a vitamin B, but it is just not that simple.  Unlike food and drugs,dietary supplements are not regulated so they do not need approval from the FDA before they are marketed and sold to the public.  This is extremely alarming and allows many manufactures to print false claims all over their labels. Current research does not support the claims that consuming extra B vitamins will increase your energy or that they will speed up your metabolism. It is TRUE that B vitamins are known mostly for their role in energy metabolism. However, it is important to note that vitamins themselves do not provide our bodies with energy; they only aid in helping our bodies turn food into energy. Consuming a larger amount of B vitamins than is required by your body will not speed this process up!  It has been mentioned religiously in previous blog posts and through Sarah Stanley that the best way to receive proper vitamins is eating a balanced diet and consuming REAL FOOD!

Although Supplements can be beneficial to health, there can also be disadvantages to consuming micronutrients in the pill form. For those that suffer from vitamin deficiencies, supplements provide an added assurance that they are receiving the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals each day.  Some disadvantages of taking supplements in the pill form include:  increased risk of mega dosing, supplements can be costly, and those that have difficulty swallowing large pills may end up buying more than one supplement because individual supplements come in a smaller form.

The next time you buy supplements think twice and consider altering your diet and getting the vitamins you need the natural way through foods.  Not only is getting your vitamins through your diet much healthier but it is less costly.  If you lack energy consider these tips:

Work out, sleeping 7-8 hours per night, and eating balanced meals with foods containing these B vitamins!

Here is a quick guide of good food sources for each of the B vitamins:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Whole grain cereals, beans, pork, enriched grains

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Milk and other dairy products, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grain cereals, enriched grains

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxamine): High-protein foods (meats), whole grain cereals, enriched cereals, eggs

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Foods of animal origin (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese) and fortified cereals

photo credit: Teresa Stanton