How B Vitamins Make Energy – Why You Need All of Them

How B Vitamins Make Energy – Why You Need All of Them

By Rehan Jalali, C.S.N.

In addition to developing over 100 cutting-edge nutritional supplement products used by not only professional athletes but Olympic Gold medalists, Rehan is the President of the Supplement Research Foundation, a member of the American Medical Writer’s Association and is a nationally published scientific writer and monthly columnist. His works include Sports Supplement Buyer’s Guide and The Six-Pack Diet Plan.

We know B vitamins are vital to energy production. How do they work and which B’s should you take?  We asked Rehan to write about the function of each B vitamin to explain the importance of each member of the B family.

Why You Need B Vitamins for Energy

It’s time we talk about the birds and the bees! Okay fine, let’s just stick to the B’s!  B-vitamins that is! We all may have heard that B-vitamins are needed for energy but its time to explore the details.  Published clinical research shows that exercise may increase B-vitamin requirements. B-vitamins are critical for many different body processes so let’s take an in-depth look at these B vitamin all-stars!

Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

Thiamin is found primarily in the form of thiamin monophosphate in the blood.  Thiamin can also be converted to its phosphorylated form, thiamin diphosphate (TDP), in the body. TDP functions as a coenzyme that is necessary for generating ATP (energy).  This is obviously important for promoting muscle function.  Vitamin B1 is also important in nerve conduction and appears to mimic and potentiate the effects of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. So it enhances brain energy too!

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Riboflavin has two coenzyme forms, flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), which function in many metabolic reactions in the body.  They can act as oxidizing agents and are a part of choline metabolism.  Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, require FAD for their metabolism: this can stimulate energy levels during exercise since dopamine can convert to the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Niacin, also called nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, can occur as two nucleotides, NAD and NADP.  It can also be formed in the liver from the amino acid tryptophan.  NAD helps produce ATP (energy), while NADP is used in a variety of processes including fatty acid synthesis, cholesterol and steroid hormone synthesis, oxidation of glutamate, and it may help reduce the oxidized form of vitamin C.  Niacin has also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.  Since it acts as a vasodilator, niacin also increases vascularity.  It may increase energy during a workout so it may be beneficial to take pre-workout.  Niacin can cause a “skin flush” so niacinamide (flush-free form of niacin) may be better for people sensitive to this effect. 

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid plays an important role in energy storage as well as energy release.  It is used, along with cysteine and ATP, to form coenzyme A.  As a component of coenzyme A, it is essential for the production of energy from carbohydrates, fat, and protein.  Some studies suggest it may also accelerate the healing process, which is important during training.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

The coenzyme form of vitamin B6 is associated with a vast number of enzymes as part of amino acid metabolism.  Vitamin B6 is also necessary to synthesize heme, the form of iron necessary for optimal blood flow and oxygenation.  Niacin synthesis from tryptophan requires pyridoxal phosphate, which is one of the forms of vitamin B6.  It is necessary in glycogen catabolism to “unlock” carbohydrate energy.  Vitamin B6 has also been shown to diminish the actions of glucocorticoid hormones (such as cortisol).

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid (folate) is necessary in amino acid metabolism and is also required for histidine metabolism (to prevent this amino acid from accumulating in the body).  Deficiencies in this vitamin can cause muscle weakness.  Ascorbic acid helps to protect folate from oxidative destruction and there is a synergistic relationship between folate and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).  This relationship is sometimes called the “methyl-folate trap” because, without vitamin B12, folate is rendered useless in the body.


Biotin helps many enzymes function in the body, promotes energy metabolism, and is important in the utilization of fats and amino acids.

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Vitamin B12 may boost energy levels and enhance exercise performance.  Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia.  B-12 can help lower harmful homocysteine levels as well.  Many vegetarians are vitamin B-12 deficient. 

Bottom Line:

Take B-vitamins if you want to improve energy levels and boost overall health! For best results, be sure to choose an active B complex supplement (uses active forms of each B). This will ensure the highest level of absorption, maximum health benefit and even more energy.




Jigsaw Activated B w/SRT is an easy and effective way to get the B Vitamins your body needs!

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