We take all too much for granted that our macro nutrient intake will convert and be used by the body in the way we generally expect. In the case of carbohydrates, we feel safe in the knowledge that if we’re eating the right kinds of carbohydrate foods, they’ll be metabolised and used for energy to power our training and recovery. Though this process, like most bodily processes, requires a healthy working environment and the presence of other nutrients to ensure we get the full benefits.
B vitamins play a huge role in our ability to turn the carbohydrates and sugars we consume in to usable energy. Vitamin B1 for example plays a crucial role in our ability to convert carbohydrates into simple sugars like Glucose and Galactose. These are both fast and easily available energy sources. B1 also has a role alongside other B vitamins in maintaining an optimal functioning nervous system. Part of this is allowing our brain to effectively communicate with our organs during the processing and digestion of foods so we can put our nutritional intake to good use.
Vitamins B2 and B3, which are also widely known as Riboflavin and Niacin, work for us prior to carbohydrate absorption. They help the body to break down calories in the carbohydrates we consume and metabolise them for energy. It’s a little scary to think that one of our most basic understandings of how our body uses the carbohydrates we consume is actually dependant on the presence of other essential vitamins. This means that if we are deficient in any of these areas, there is a greater chance that our daily carbohydrate intake is going to be stored as fat and not used effectively.
Not only would we therefore need to deal with the unwanted presence of increased fat stores, but it’s likely that if our bodies aren’t processing and metabolising our carbs effectively, we’re not going to receive the expected energy benefits of their consumption. This will have a knock-on effect when it comes to training, performance and even muscle development.
The remaining B vitamins go on to continue to help with macro nutrient breakdown from proteins and fats. This includes the absorption of amino acids. They fill crucial roles in assuring nutrition plays the part in our health and fitness we both want and expect it to. Naturally, protein breakdown and synthesis form very important facets of our training and our body’s ability to recover and adapt. As such, the significance of these vitamins can’t be understated.
One of the most common vitamins you’ll see discussed in the health and fitness industry is vitamin B12. This vitamin not only supports additional breakdown and absorption of fat stores for energy but is also a fundamental part of our ability to generate new cells. This is particularly true of red blood cells, further enabling the body to deliver greater oxygen efficiency to muscles during extended periods of exercise.
While the average person with a well-balanced diet should obtain enough B vitamins from their diet, anyone with digestive or bowel issues may be deficient. It is also widely considered that highly active individuals who train intensely on a regular basis should ensure they support their diet with additional B vitamin supplementation.