Vitamins known to give energy are those that, in one way or the other, have been studied to aid in metabolism. Of the entire vitamin forms studied so far, the B group also known as the B complex vitamins (the well studied B vitamins include; B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, and B12) are indeed the energy boosters. This is mainly due to their involvement in the various metabolic pathways very important in the breakdown of the complex molecules into the simplest, absorbable units known as end products of digestion. However, through this same process, the chemical energy stored in food is released. During cellular respiration, many pathways are involved, most of which include; the glycolytic pathway, the citric acid cycle, also known as the krebs cycle, and the pentose phosphate pathway. The B vitamins act at one stage or another in the entire processes to aid in the release of energy. For example, during glycolysis (glucose breakdown to pyruvate, a precursor for acetic acid), vitamin B6 and vitamin B7 play an important role in the catalytic conversion of glycogen (the storage form of glucose in the liver) into glucose (the bioactive form).Again, to begin the krebs cycle, the vitamin B5 is involved in the conversion of pyruvate from the glycolytic pathway into acetyl coA. Here, they act as cofactors (assist the body enzymes during metabolism).
However, for a better understanding of the B vitamins as energy booster, it is important we take a look at the individual roles they play thus;
this group also known as thiamine are actively involved in the breakdown of complex sugars and amino acids into glucose, which is further metabolized to release energy required for carrying out our daily activities.
Similar to the activities of thiamine, they are involved in the breakdown of complex compounds as seen in carbohydrates and proteins into simpler and smaller units for easy absorption and subsequent release of the required energy. In addition, they have been studied to be involved in the metabolism of large molecular weight organic compounds, lipids, into forms that easily enter the metabolic pathways, hence, energy released.
Apart from active role of niacin in the repair of DNA and in the production of the hormone- steroid in the adrenal gland, they have been studied to be vital precursor molecules in the synthesis of an array of enzymes which are directly or indirectly involved in cellular respiration. Almost all metabolic activities that lead to the production of energy take place during cellular respiration.
An important enzyme in metabolism, coenzyme A requires pantothenic acid for its production. Through this means, vitamin B5 is indirectly involved in energy generation. In addition, pantothenic acid has been studied to help in biosynthesis of important compounds such as cholesterol and acetylcholine. Cholesterol, for example, is needed, hence, explains its presence in almost all cell walls. Pantothenic acid is also utilized in the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
In the absence of glucose which is required for energy, the body system through the action of certain enzymes and hormones resort to converting non glucose compounds into glucose. This process is known as gluconeogenesis. During this process, fats as well as proteins are converted to glucose for energy generation. Pyridoxin also known as vitamin B6 has been studied to be actively involved in this process. In addition, a co-enzyme form of vitamin B6 helps the activities of several enzymes that catalyze biochemical necessary for energy production.
This is also referred to as the Biotin, it is very essential for cellular growth, as well as production of fatty acids and of course metabolism of amino acids. Just as the pantothenic acid, the biotin is involved in gluconeogenesis.
This is required for the synthesis of DNA and maintenance of red blood cells and the central nervous system. Vitamin B-12 also helps the cellular metabolism in the body cells, particularly in the production of energy from protein and fats. Vitamin B-12 is also considered a primary energy-producing vitamin.
However, low concentrations or absence of these vitamins, cofactors or helper nutrients in diets may result to symptoms such as fatigue and a condition known as lethargy, a disease condition associated with lack of interest to do work or some other things. Furthermore, other physiological disorders such as Anemia conditions may result from deficiency in vitamins B6, B12, folate, or iron, leading to extreme fatigue. This is the reason that B vitamins are often used in energy-boosting vitamin combinations or formulations, beverages and other dietary supplements.