Will Taking B-Complex Vitamin Supplements Give Me Energy?

B vitamins won't give you more energy.
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Question: I have been looking like crazy for a B vitamin supplement that will give me a ton of energy, but there are so many at so many prices. It would be nice to have the field narrowed for those of us who don't want to spend lots of money.

Answer: You're probably already getting enough B-complex vitamins from the foods you eat, as long as you're eating a reasonably balanced diet. They're found in a wide variety of foods, so deficiencies are rare unless you have specific health problems.

But, if you're worried that your diet may be deficient, any inexpensive B-complex supplement will give you all the B vitamins you need. 

If you're looking for a B-complex vitamin supplement to make you feel more alert or more motivated, you're probably going to be disappointed. It's true your body needs the B-complex vitamins to produce energy from the foods you eat and they're essential for brain and nerve function, but they can only do so much. Energy comes mostly from carbohydrates, although your body can use protein or fat as fuel. The B-complex vitamins are involved in various metabolic processes that make the energy happen, but they can't create energy from nothing. 

B-complex vitamins don't act like caffeine either. You just won't get any energy buzz from B-complex supplements. If that's what you're looking for, then you're better off with a cup or two of coffee. Of course, you can also purchase energy supplements or energy drinks, that often contain B-complex vitamins (even though they don't really add anything).

You'll see energy supplements sold as tablets or liquids that are easy to find in any store. The energy drinks are sold in most stores too -- you'll find them by their colorful cans and bottles, and they usually have names targeted for young people.

So, what do you do if you want more energy? There are several things including getting the right amount of physical activity and sleep, but as far as diet goes, you need to improve the quality of the foods you eat if you want to feel more energetic.

 Be sure to eat lots of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day, and choose some healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds and canola oil. Choose lean protein sources and cut out all the junk foods. If you still feel droopy and tired, you should speak with your health care provider.


Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism." Sixth Edition. Belmont, CA. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2013.  

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