You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Boost Your Energy Levels by Loading Up on These B-Vitamin Foods

Bicycling Logo By Marygrace Taylor of Bicycling | Slide 1 of 9: All those healthy meals and snacks you eat to fuel your workouts and recover afterward wouldn’t do much if it weren’t for B vitamins—a family of nutrients that convert carbs, protein, and fats into useable fuel. B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B3), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Collectively called the B-vitamin complex, these nutrients play a key role in keeping you energized as well as helping your body produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your muscles. “They’re essential for every person, but especially those that exercise at high levels,” says sports nutrition expert Amy Goodson, R.D., C.S.S.D. B-vitamin deficiencies are uncommon, provided you’re eating well-rounded diet and getting the amount of calories you need, says sports nutrition expert and Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics spokesperson Julie Stefanski, R.D., C.S.S.D. But even a marginal shortage could impact your performance and slow your recovery time, according to research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. In short, it’s worth paying attention to your intake and make sure you’re getting your fill, especially since athletes might need more B vitamins than folks who are less active, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (There are no official B vitamin guidelines specifically for athletes, but a registered dietician specializing in sports nutrition can help you figure out exactly how much you need.) Vegan and plant-based athletes should give special focus to vitamins B12 and B6, Goodson says, since those nutrients are primarily found in animal foods. As for where to find them? Each B vitamin does a unique job in the body, and different ones are found in different foods. So your best bet for getting enough is by eating a wide variety of foods, like these eight B-packed picks.  [Gravel! prepares you with everything you need to know to crush it, including the best gear, how to train, and much more!]

All those healthy meals and snacks you eat to fuel your workouts and recover afterward wouldn’t do much if it weren’t for B vitamins—a family of nutrients that convert carbs, protein, and fats into useable fuel.

B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B3), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Collectively called the B-vitamin complex, these nutrients play a key role in keeping you energized as well as helping your body produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your muscles. “They’re essential for every person, but especially those that exercise at high levels,” says sports nutrition expert Amy Goodson, R.D., C.S.S.D.

B-vitamin deficiencies are uncommon, provided you’re eating well-rounded diet and getting the amount of calories you need, says sports nutrition expert and Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics spokesperson Julie Stefanski, R.D., C.S.S.D. But even a marginal shortage could impact your performance and slow your recovery time, according to research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

In short, it’s worth paying attention to your intake and make sure you’re getting your fill, especially since athletes might need more B vitamins than folks who are less active, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (There are no official B vitamin guidelines specifically for athletes, but a registered dietician specializing in sports nutrition can help you figure out exactly how much you need.) Vegan and plant-based athletes should give special focus to vitamins B12 and B6, Goodson says, since those nutrients are primarily found in animal foods.

As for where to find them? Each B vitamin does a unique job in the body, and different ones are found in different foods. So your best bet for getting enough is by eating a wide variety of foods, like these eight B-packed picks.

[Gravel! prepares you with everything you need to know to crush it, including the best gear, how to train, and much more!]

© Claudia Totir - Getty Images

More from Bicycling

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon