If you're feeling run-down and fatigued every day, it could be the sign of a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Fatigue can zap your energy and make it difficult to do the things you enjoy. Trying to work toward your goals, stay active, or even get through the day can leave you feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Although it can be hard to determine exactly why you're feeling tired, a B vitamin deficiency could be a factor.
How Do B Vitamins Give You Energy?
Taking a B vitamin isn’t like picking up an energy drink for a quick boost. But without them, you might notice that you're not as focused and energetic. Common signs often include:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Lack of energy
- Feeling faint
B vitamins don't contain any energy themselves, but they do help us use the energy we get from our diet. The main function of B vitamins is to help metabolize (or break down) the foods we eat and turn them into energy. The type of energy we get from food is called "calories," specifically, calories in the form of glucose, which mainly comes from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and converted into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - the form of fuel that our cells need to power every function in the body.
B vitamins are a crucial component to this process. Without them, the carbs, proteins, and fats we eat would not be broken down properly. Having a healthy metabolism ensures that the body uses these nutrients for energy rather than storing them as fat.
Simply put, without B vitamins, your body can't convert food into energy efficiently.
Should I Take a B-12 or B Complex Supplement For More Energy?
Vitamin B-12, probably the most famous of the B vitamin family, is essential for the metabolism of proteins and fats. But it's not the only one you need. If you're conflicted about whether to take a vitamin B-12 supplement or a B complex formula, the answer is simple.
The difference between the two is that Vitamin B-12 is just ONE of the eight essential B vitamins that form the B complex. B complex supplements generally contain all of them, though the most common deficiencies are vitamins B1, B6, and B-12.
In addition to B-12, some of the best B vitamins for energy and tiredness also include:
Helps your cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It also helps support the immune response and nerve signals.
B2 helps thiamine convert food into usable energy for the body, and it's an antioxidant as well.
Helps facilitate energy production by metabolizing protein. It’s also needed to help make the red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body and help you feel energized.
Helps to form DNA and RNA and is involved in protein metabolism.
Vitamin B-12 is just one of many vitamins that help convert the food you eat into glucose, which gives you energy. But it also needs B-6, folate, and others to perform its job correctly. Together, all eight vitamins that make up the B complex are required in the right balance to fulfill the body’s needs.
While B-12 and other B vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism, they’re not the only factor that contributes to energy levels. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are also critical for maintaining (or improving) energy levels. If you’re feeling fatigued often, making lifestyle changes and adding a full spectrum B vitamin complex supplement may help support energy production in the body.