B-Vitamin Breakdown


Any athlete training with the dedication and intensity to enter the competitive arena is going to undoubtedly push their body dangerously close to the edge of its functional ability. This is why ensuring proper nutritional supplementation is crucial to achieving optimal performance.


One important set of micronutrients that is often overlooked is B vitamins. These consist of the following:


  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) -Enhances circulation, carbohydrate metabolism, and energy. It helps to maintain a healthy mental attitude during stress.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) -Aids in the production of energy for the body and is needed to maintain good vision, skin, nail, and hair health.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) -Supports proper circulation, healthy skin, central nervous system, and supports higher brain functions and cognition.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)- is needed for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) -Aids in regulating mood and supports mental fatigue. Helps the body cope with stress. 
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)- Aids heart health. 
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)-Supports mental and emotional stability as well as maintains energy.



Together these micronutrients are primarily used by the body for cell repair and production. They also convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy.


The Proof is in the Performance


A study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, which was published  in 2014 in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, came to some important conclusions about athletic performance and B vitamins. This study showed that athletes lacking B vitamins were less successful in high-intensity exercise performance compared to those whose B vitamin intake was sufficient. The study also found those at a lower intake level were less capable of building muscle mass and repairing muscles. This was evident even when the deficiency was relatively small.


Risk of Deficiency

Athletes who limit their calorie intake or have restricted eating plans were found to have lower levels of B vitamins than other athletes. This would be consistent with combat sport athletes who have to achieve a particular weight requirement such as wrestlers, boxers and mixed martial artists, therefore placing them at a higher risk for deficiency. 


B vitamins are found naturally in whole and enriched grains, dark green nuts, meat and dairy products, but supplements can be purchased over the counter in a number of forms including tablets, chewables, gummies. Some may even opt to use injections when they can be obtained. One of the best ways to get all of the recommended B vitamins is by taking a daily dose of B Vitamin Complex by Olympian Labs, which contains all seven forms of B vitamins discussed. It also contains biotin, which supports fat and protein digestion, maintains the effectiveness of immunity, and benefits healthy hair, skin, and nails.


Taking excessive amount of any supplement can have side effects, but The Oregon State study also suggests that the daily recommended intake of B vitamins might not be sufficient for competitive athletes. Keep this in mind when choosing the dosage that’s right for you and your performance needs. One little pill could make a big difference.