Updated: Mar 21, 2022
Be excited! B-vitamins aren't actually vitamins so much as they are co-factors for energy.
Day 7: Energy doesn't happen on its own
B-vitamins as co-factors means that they are needed in processes like glycolysis. If they are not present, energy doesn't get produced through normal cellular processes, leaving you feeling exhausted.
Marketing plays a role in our society in how B-vitamins are interpreted. Vitamin bottles in your local pharmacy usually say something along the lines of "gives you energy" or "helps with cellular energy production". This is slightly misleading. You should know that popping a few B-complex vitamins a day will not automatically GIVE you energy. There has to be macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) present to facilitate this process. They are also water soluble, so more is not better. If there is one thing you can take from today, it's that there is absolutely no need to take more B-vitamins than needed. You will just excrete the excess via urine.
All B-vitamins are important; but, if there is one that directly tags along with menstruation and healthy aging, it's B-12. B-12 is only found in animal products, so all those vegetarians and vegans out there, incorporating a B-12 sublingual vitamin 1x a day is necessary.
B-12 specifically plays a huge role in DNA synthesis, energy production, and red blood cell formation. It also contributes to brain and nerve cell development. B-12 binds to the proteins in food when digested, and then is released by hydrochloric acid and other enzymes in the intestine so it can be absorbed. As aging occurs, less hydrochloric acid is produced, therefore decreasing the absorption of B-12. Medications can also impact absorption such as birth control pills and Metformin. If you take either of these, you can start today by taking a sublingual B-12 vitamin 1x a day.
So, "be excited" and remember B-12 and the 4 important circumstances associated with poor levels - vegetarian/veganism, Metformin, birth control pills, and aging (over 60). if you are unsure if you are getting enough, I recommend a consult with a dietitian and/or a blood test to get a baseline. Or, you can also click below and we'll point you in the right direction.
Jen Pfeilfer, MS, APD
Dr. Thomas R. Schneider, Medical Director