B-vitamins are considered essential for general health and disease protection; however, many misunderstand the role that these water-soluble substances play in the metabolic machine. In their most bioactive form B-vitamins work as energy-producing coenzymes, having a profound ergogenic and anabolic effect on the brain and muscle tissues. Interactions of B-vitamins are essential for carb and fat metabolism, protein synthesis, manufacture of neurotransmitters, synthesis and repair of DNA, regeneration of ATP molecules and the overall buildup of lean tissues.
Lack of B-vitamins can produce symptoms such as fatigue, confusion, muscle weakness and diminished resistance to stress. Low cellular levels of ATP from a B-vitamin deficiency are also associated with low thyroid hormone and suppressed growth. Since cellular ATP levels depend on B-vitamin bioactivity, it’s possible to conclude that availability of B-vitamins can help boost cellular ATP levels above maintenance, which must occur to facilitate growth. In fact, some researchers speculate that bioactive B-vitamin products may in the future be used as a substitute for ergogenic and anabolic drugs. (Studies are under way at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on the B-vitamin gene and its potential effects on human performance.)
Unfortunately, the typical diet doesn’t provide sufficient amounts of B-vitamins. Pollution, poor soil and pesticides have depleted the nutrient content of most foods. Chances are you’re not getting enough to fuel your bodybuilding gains. All water-soluble nutrients, including B-vitamins, can be rapidly lost through sweat and urine. It’s a good idea to take natural B-vitamins with multiminerals and vitamin C right after a workout, preferably with a recovery meal or shake.
Note: An outstanding potent B-vitamin product, Vitamin B Nano-Plex, produced by Quantum Nutrition Labs (888-253-1840), consists of a stabilized active form of B-vitamins derived from probiotics fermentation. Most B-vitamin supplements are made from synthetic isolated chemicals, but synthetic forms may suppress the body’s use of natural B-vitamins by occupying their receptors, a condition that accelerates vitamin B deficiency.
Editor’s note: Ori Hofmekler is the author of the books The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle & Minimum Fat, published by Dragon Door Publications (www.dragondoor.com). For more information or for a consultation, contact him at [email protected], www.warriordiet.com or by phone at (866) WAR-DIET.