B vitamins - natural energy in your food

bvitaminsjumpingWhen you were at school you might have been taught that whole grains were the best source of B vitamins. There are B vitamins in your whole grain bread, but the grains are in a form that makes it hard for your body to digest. Have you ever wondered why cows and other animals have more than one stomach and have to chew the grass and grains so long and allow them to digest for hours?

Some of the food we can now get has the grains soaked and has allowed them to sprout, so we can more easily digest them. There are also cultures like Japan that ferment their beans to make them, so they can be absorbed more easily to get the B vitamins.

Millet, buckwheat, brown rice, oatmeal all have B vitamins as well as the classic Brewer’s Yeast so soaked and sprouted and eaten with fermented foods means we get more of the nutrients in them.

As humans we have one small stomach, some stomach acid ready to go into action – if we are lucky and a pancreas that gets quite overworked at times breaking down all our very cooked, enzyme depleted food with over 8 cups of digestive juices produced into the small intestine per day. Phew!

marmite2So what are the richest sources of B vitamins apart from the grains?

Vitamin B1 (thiamine): the richest sources are pork, liver, heart and kidneys. There are also traces of B1 in most of the nuts so you might like to soak your nuts like almonds and eat pine nuts, Brazils, walnuts if you are not a big meat fan.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): the richest sources are eggs, meat, milk, poultry and fish. There is some in almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): the richest courses are meat and poultry. There are traces in the nuts and brown rice too.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): the richest sources are meats and liver. There are traces in nuts and seeds and even Kelp seaweeds.

Have you ever found yourself craving pate or nuts and seeds or some seaweed miso Japanese style when adrenally exhausted? B5 or pantothenic acid is very important for the adrenals.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): the richest sources are meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Again brown rice and nuts and seeds have some traces too.

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin): the richest sources are meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk. Miso, tempeh, kombu and nori are all rich in Vitamin B12.

Biotin (Vitamin B7): the richest sources are liver and egg yolks. You also get some in brown rice, almonds, walnuts and so on.

For nightmares a good dose of Vitamin B1 foods along with magnesium can help for a better quality sleep even in children. B vitamins are water soluble so any excess tends to get washed out of the body into the urine.

For migraines vitamin B2 and magnesium are very important as well as avoiding food triggers, late nights and alcohol. Sleep and mood have been found to be much better for taking a good dose of B vitamins in the morning.

Fermented B vitamins come in living forms from the Japanese style foods (miso, tempeh, natto) or the Brewers yeast powders for those that want a super boost. Spirulina has some B12 in it, but it is hard to get it to be available or digested so you might be better sticking with the food sources above.

There is a Max B Nano which is a pre-digested form of B vitamins, that I quite like, available from Biotrace in East Tamaki, Auckland.

If taking synthetic B vitamin supplements see if you can get a good potent B Complex with 50mg or so of each of the main B1, B2 vitamins.

It is best to take a B complex along with a single B vitamin if you are taking B6 or B1 or B12 on its own, so you don’t create an imbalance over time. B6 is wonderful for women’s hormonal and fluid retention problems, but best taken with a B complex to balance it out.

Keep up some B vitamins in your diet for healthy adrenals, mood and energy and have a great day!