Authored by: Dr. Maroon
It has become a common misconception that B vitamins give people energy. In reality, B vitamins do not give people energy. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins- the energy-yielding nutrients- supply the fuel for energy. The B vitamins help to burn that fuel which is where the association with energy is derived. In this series of the ABC’s of Vitamins, we are going to explore the role of two B vitamins that help to burn carbs, fats, and proteins: niacin (B3) and pantothenic acid.
How Niacin is used in the body:
Niacin /Niacinamide (B3): Niacin is unique among the B vitamins because the body can produce it from protein. It functions in a variety of important chemical reactions in the body; most notably it provides dietary support for a healthy blood lipid profile. Like all B vitamins, niacin plays an important function in energy metabolism and it may function in DNA replication and repair. Some people experience a tingling sensation in the skin when taking large doses of niacin. The tingling or hotness is called “niacin flush” and usually occurs after 50 mg. Niacinamide is a form of niacin that offers niacin without the potential of flushing; niacinamide is niacin attached to an amide molecule.
Food sources of niacin include: lean meat, fish, chicken, cooked dried beans and peas, low fat milk and cheese, fortified grains and cereals.
How Pantothenic Acid is used in the body:
Pantothenic acid (B5): This vitamin was named after the Greek word “pantos” meaning “everywhere” in reference to its widespread appearance in plants and animals. Pantothenic acid was first recognized as a substance that stimulates growth. It is required for fatty acid and energy metabolism. It is an essential constituent of coenzyme A and is essential to metabolic processes in the body.
Food sources of panthothenic acid include: most foods but especially liver and salmon. Other sources include fortified grains and cereals.
Supplements containing B vitamins:
B vitamins must be present in every cell continuously for the cells to function as they should.
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