As the morning light starts to pour in through your window (before you’ve actually gotten out of bed), this signifies that spring time has arrived. As an early riser, this is always a welcome time fo the year for me after many long months of morning darkness. Happy morning routines have always been a bit of a mystery to many people, as no doubt, it seems easier to stay awake at night rather than rise before the sun makes its presence in the wee hours of the morning. However, getting an energized jump start on your day can really be a game changer. So rather than hit snooze, and unhappily drag yourself out of bed, I want to help you reclaim your morning and find your energy.
Good Morning = Routine
Ok, so you’ve showered, had your coffee and your body is starting to feel “awake.” What’s next?
My recommendation is always to start your day with real, whole food that brings long-lasting satiety, stabilized blood sugar and energy into your body. For me, that comes in the form of a green protein smoothie. Supplements can also help fill the nutritional void for energy. I like to divide my “vitamins” into the energizing ones (hello multi and B vitamins, + omega-3s). Then I take the next batch in the evening focusing on the ones that help relax my nervous system, mind, and reset my circadian rhythm.
B Vitamins: The Star of Energy Production
Overall, the Bs are involved in macronutrient metabolism and energy production, often being referred as our body’s electrical currency of which a deficiency may trigger fatigue.
01. Vitamin B1 – Thiamine. First vitamin ever discovered. This is your energy vitamin and functions for carbohydrate metabolism and nerve cell function. Most people are not consuming the RDA (recommended dietary allowances) of 1.5 mg per day. Good sources include: whole wheat, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans.
02. Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin. This will give the characteristic yellow-green fluorescent glow in your urine. B2 functions in two of the most important enzymes involved in energy production. A deficiency in B2 will result in low energy production, particularly in cells that replicate frequently such as the skin and mucus membranes. Rich sources of riboflavin include yeast and organ meats. Plant sources included almonds, mushrooms, whole grains, soybeans and green leafy veggies.
03. Vitamin B3 – Niacin. This vitamin isn’t considered essential as it can be made in the body by the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan. Niacin functions as a coenzyme which plays a role in energy production of fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrate metabolism, manufacturing of many body compounds including sex and adrenal hormones. Rich food sources include liver and other organ meats, eggs, fish and peanuts (these are good sources of tryptophan as well). The RDA for niacin is 18mg.
04. Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid. Your “anti-stress” vitamin, and is a component of Coenzyme A, which plays a critical role in the utilization of fats and carbohydrates in energy production, as well as in the manufacture of adrenal hormones and red blood cells. It is found in the highest concentrations in liver meat, milk, fish and poultry. The RDA is 4-7 mg.
05. Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine. This B Vitamin is involved in the formation of body proteins and structural compounds, chemical transmitters in the nervous system, red blood cells and prostaglandins. It is also crucial in maintaining hormone balance and proper immune function. Good plant sources include whole grains, legumes, bananas, seeds, nuts, potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.
06. Folic Acid. This functions together with B12 in many body processes and is critical to cellular division because it is necessary for DNA synthesis. Folic acid is critical to the development of the nervous system of the fetus, and deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects. Folic acid gets its name from the Latin “folium” meaning “foliage” because it is found in high concentrations in green leafy veg such as spinach, kale, beet greens, and Swiss chard. Other good sources include whole grains, legumes, asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage. Folic acid deficiency is the most common one in the world.
07. Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin. Cobalamin was isolated from liver extract and identified as factor in preventing pernicious anemia. It works with folic acid in. many body processes including the synthesis of DNA. B12 deficiency can also present as anemia. The RDA is 2 mcg, and is found in significant quantities in animal foods. Therefore, vegetarians should supplement their diet with B12.
Ready, Set. Go.
I hope you and your body are ready to feel the benefits from the star of the energy show – you can thank your B’s for that one!