3 Best Vitamin for Energy and Metabolism
The main source of energy for our bodies is the food we eat every day. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are needed as fuel, while other nutrients like vitamins and minerals provide assistance to our body’s various systems, helping them operate smoothly. Some of these nutrients are responsible for supporting our metabolisms, thus making them extremely necessary to our bodies’ continued production of energy. In this article, we will examine 3 vitamins that help with energy and boost your metabolism: B vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin C.
Perhaps the most well-known energy and metabolism boosting nutrients, the 8 B vitamins each play a unique role in fueling your body’s systems. They are all necessary for proper metabolic function and can even help cells with the conversion of food into glucose, which is then used as fuel. The B vitamins, their alternative names, and their daily recommended dosages for the average adult are as follows (1):
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 1.1-1.2 mg
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 1.1-1.3 mg
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 14-16 mg NE
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 5 mg
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 1.3-1.7 mg
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): 30 mcg
- Vitamin B9 (folate, folic acid): 400 mcg DFE
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): 2.4 mcg
Vitamins B1 and B6 both metabolize protein, with B6 also metabolizing fat and carbohydrates (2). Without proper metabolic support from these vitamins, your body could instead store the nutrients from food in the form of fat, meaning you receive less energy and could even gain weight as a result.
Though all the B complex vitamins are essential, vitamin B12 is somewhat of a superstar among them, especially when it comes to energy. Many people have begun substituting vitamin B12 supplements in place of their usual midday coffee to counteract fatigue. Not only is it a source of natural energy through metabolic support, but it also avoids unnecessary sugars and caffeine often found in coffee or energy drinks.
The B complex vitamins appear in various foods, including seafood, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, beets, spinach, kale, and citrus fruits (3). Vitamin B12 in particular is only found in animal products, however, making it more difficult for vegans and vegetarians to come by this important nutrient naturally through diet. If you feel you are not regularly getting enough of B12 or the other B vitamins, you may want to consider trying a multivitamin that contains B complex.
Vitamin D provides energy in a slightly different way compared to the B complex vitamins. A 2013 UK study showed that vitamin D plays an essential role in powering muscles and other parts of the body via its support of mitochondria (4). Mitochondria act as the power source for cells, generating the energy needed to prevent fatigue. Vitamin D helps mitochondria use oxygen, enabling better function. It’s also worth noting that muscle fatigue is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
The daily recommended amount of vitamin D for the average adult is 15 mcg (5).However, known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D does not appear naturally in many foods. Rather, it is produced by your skin when it comes in contact with sunlight. There are some cereals and dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D, but the main source for most people is sunlight. If you are unable to get outside as often as you might like, then you may be at a small risk for vitamin D deficiency. One way to give your body an extra boost of this important nutrient is to take a multivitamin that provides your daily dose of vitamin D. Just remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.
Although vitamin C is most commonly known for its ability to support the immune system, it does have some energy boosting abilities as well. Most notably, vitamin C is great for iron absorption. Iron deficiency can be a major source of fatigue, especially for vegans and vegetarians who may be unable to eat iron-rich foods like meat. Vitamin C helps convert plant-based iron sources, which are sometimes difficult to absorb, into forms that are more easily absorbed, increasing your overall iron intake and hopefully preventing fatigue caused by iron deficiency (6).
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for the average adult is 75-90 mg (7). Vitamin C is found in tons of healthy foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Some examples of fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, oranges, and kiwis as well as bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets.” National Institutes of Health, 2022, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all.
- Crichton-Stuart, Cathleen. “Vitamins and Minerals That Boost Metabolism.” Medical News Today, 31 July 2018, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322644.
- Cronkleton, Emily. “Why Is Vitamin B Complex Important, and Where Do I Get It?” healthline, 29 April 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vitamin-b-complex.
- “Vitamin D Proven to Boost Energy – From Within the Cells.” Newcastle University, 6 April 2013, https://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/archive/2013/04/vitamindproventoboostenergyfromwithinthecells.html.
- “Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Consumers.” National Institutes of Health, 2 June 2022, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer.
- Raman, Ryan. “7 Impressive Ways Vitamin C Benefits Your Body.” healthline, 18 February 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits.
- “Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Consumers.” National Institutes of Health, 22 March 2021, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer.