Methyl B Complex Benefits to Know About

Curious about methyl B complex benefits? And what is a methylated vitamin in the first place? Let’s talk all about metyhlated B vitamins!

person dropped a capsule in their hand

Whether or not you’re a vegetarian like me, you may be curious about supplements, especially the best B-complex supplements out there. You may also want to know whether or not methylated vitamins are the way to go.

What is a methylated B-complex vitamin in the first place? Read on to find out. We’ll also talk about methyl B complex benefits.

Nutrition is tricky. There’s no one size fits all, cookie-cutter answer for what you should eat and whether or not you need supplements. But there are plenty of clues to the answers in your day-to-day life. One such clue? Being a vegetarian.

I’m about to tell you why I personally choose to take supplements and why I’d like all vegetarians to give some thought as to whether vitamin B capsules are something you’d like to add to your daily regimen.

Before I tell you about my supplement habits, I’m going to admit something.

For the first decade or so of my vegetarianism—long before I even thought about becoming a registered dietitian—I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be eating or which supplements I should consider.

I wish someone had shared a post like this one with me way back then!

top down view of pills with a cup of coffee

Why plant-based eaters need supplements

You can get many of the nutrients you need as a vegan or vegetarian from food sources. But doing so takes extremely careful planning—and getting certain nutrients, such as B vitamins and iron, is much more difficult if you don’t eat meat, poultry, or seafood.

And at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important. If you’re looking for ideas on what to eat on a vegetarian diet, I suggest taking a look at my free 3-day plant-based meal plan.

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, some nutrients are more difficult for you to get from food. This isn’t just a theory. It’s a fact.

Because vegans and vegetarians aren’t eating meat or poultry—and many vegetarians don’t eat seafood—they take in less of certain nutrients that naturally occur in abundance in meat, poultry, and seafood.

These nutrients include B vitamins (more on those methyl B complex benefits in a sec), vitamin D, iron, and omega-3s. So as a vegetarian, you’re at an increased risk for vitamin deficiencies.

As a vegetarian for 19-plus years (I recently started eating seafood, so I’m technically a pescatarian now), I take several supplements to fill in the gaps of what I’m missing from my diet.

Eating a balanced diet in addition to taking supplements helps me stay healthy and also helps boost my immune system and reduce my risk of heart disease and nerve damage. Now, let’s chat about methyl B complex benefits.

A woman listening to music through her headphones

MTHFR gene mutation

For starters, what are methylated B vitamins? Methylated B vitamins are forms of certain B vitamins—such as vitamin B12 and folate—that your body simply absorbs better.

Some people have what’s called a MTHFR gene mutation, and these people can only absorb the methylated versions of B vitamins.

Every person has two MTHFR genes, one from your mother and one from your father. You can have a mutation in one or both of these genes.

When the MTHFR gene is not mutated, it helps your body break down homocysteine, a type of amino acid that your body uses to make protein. Typically, folic acid and other B vitamins will break down homocysteine.

But if you have a MTHFR mutation, this may not happen the way it’s supposed to.

This can lead to complications such as too much homocysteine in the blood, increased risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and blood clots, and a higher risk of having a baby with spina bifida or other neural tube defects.

A bunch of capsules on a pink surface

Methyl B complex benefits

Even if you don’t have the MTHFR gene mutation, you can benefit from methylated vitamins.

For many of the vitamins out there, different types exist. And your body more easily makes use of some types over others.

This is the case with methylated vitamin B complex supplements. These contain the methylated forms of folate and vitamin B12.

This is huge. Your body typically absorbs methylated vitamins better. 

Bottom line.

A person's mouth biting down on a pill that has a happy face on it

What’s in a methyl B complex supplement?

Here’s a look at a typical methyl B complex vitamin. All of these B vitamins play important roles in your energy levels.

Thiamine (vitamin B1)

The mineral is important for many reasons. Thiamine helps support production of both your DNA and RNA, and also helps convert the carbohydrates you eat into energy your body can use.

Top food sources include:

  • Beef
  • Egg
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Pork
  • Seeds
  • Trout
  • Wheat germ

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Simply put, your body uses riboflavin to produce energy.

Top food sources include:

  • Broccoli
  • Egg
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Liver
  • Low-fat milk
  • Spinach

Niacin (vitamin B3)

Aka nicotonic acid, this vitamin is also important for energy. Niacin helps your body metabolize fat, glucose, and alcohol—and helps support cholesterol levels already within a healthy range.

Top food sources include:

  • Chicken breast
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Liver
  • Marinara sauce
  • Peanuts
  • Salmon
  • Turkey breast

Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)

This nutrient is important for supporting many biochemical reactions within your body, including interactions with your hormones and neurotransmitters. It also plays a role in the healthy production of hemoglobin (where a lot of the iron in your body is stored).

Top food sources include:

  • Chicken breast
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Liver
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Tuna

Vitamin B6

Within the context of energy, vitamin B6 gets a lot of attention. Why? This nutrient helps your body form glucose, a primary source of energy for your body, from non-carbohydrate sources.

Top food sources include:

  • Chicken breast
  • Chickpeas
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Liver
  • Potatoes
  • Salmon
  • Tuna

Biotin

This B vitamin is important for helping you maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. Plus, it does a body good by helping yours function optimally.

Top food sources include:

  • Almonds
  • Egg
  • Liver
  • Pork chop
  • Salmon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potato

Folate

Folate helps your body maintain healthy DNA and support healthy red cell production. And you probably know that this methylated B vitamin helps prevent birth defects. By the way, folate is the ideal form of this vitamin, while folic acid is the synthetic form.

Top food sources include:

  • Asparagus
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Liver
  • Spinach

Vitamin B12

Another vitamin that gets a lot of attention for its role with energy, this nutrient supports your heart health by helping keep the level of homocysteine in your body within a normal range.

You definitely don’t want to have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which could lower your energy for one thing!

Top food sources include:

  • Beef
  • Clams
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Fortified nutritional yeast
  • Liver
  • Milk
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Inositol

Last but not least is inositol, a B vitamin that helps make up your cellular membranes, and is super important for helping to support already healthy calcium and insulin levels.

That means inositol indirectly helps support your bone health and helps maintain already healthy blood-sugar levels. 

Top food sources include:

  • Beans
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Nuts
B vitamins scattered on a surface

Methylated B vitamins to try

Now that you know about methyl B complex benefits, you probably want some recommendations on which products to try. Well, you’re in luck. Here are a few!

Just make sure to read instructions so you take the correct amount of those supplements, including a plant-based vitamin B-complex. Taking too much puts you at risk for side effects.

This blog post was updated in August 2022. It was originally part of a partnership with Life Extension®.

Curious about methyl B complex benefits? And what is a methylated vitamin in the first place? Let's talk all about metyhlated B vitamins!

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you have any questions about methyl B complex benefits!

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