We all know someone who is starting or finishing a ‘keto’ based diet. This trendy diet promises weight loss, improved energy and mental clarity by limiting the amount of carbohydrates and focussing the majority of daily calories on fats and oils and lower amounts of protein. Sounds simple enough right? However the success of this diet could depend on something as inconsequential as having sufficient B-vitamins.
The objective of the ‘keto’ diet is to force the body to burn stored fat for energy. For this activity to be optimized, healthy liver function is essential. Here’s why: when our adipose tissue dissolves, the tiny fat globules that enter the blood and pass through the liver are accompanied by fat-soluble toxins that were once stored in the fat. The liver uses enzymes made of amino acids, vitamins and minerals to transform the toxins in to more easily-excreted substances and converts the fat into ketones. And here is why B-vitamins are so important.
B Complex: Critical for Metabolic Transformation
The B Complex is a ‘family’ of water-soluble vitamins that work together in numerous critical metabolic processes that sustain our metabolism of toxins, fats, and carbohydrates, among others. They include thiamine (B-1) riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), folate (B-9), cobalamin (B-12), choline, inositol and biotin.
If you’re considering the keto lifestyle you need to be aware that it can be more challenging to obtain enough B vitamins. On this diet carbohydrate intake must be limited to under 20 grams daily, meaning that conventional B-vitamin-fortified bread, crackers, cereal, whole grains- are no longer on your grocery list. Pantothenic acid (B-5) can run low in the absence of grains and beans; meanwhile, most fruits, and some vegetables, are even forbidden—making it harder to get adequate folate, for instance.
Without the B complex family of vitamins in ample supply, the transformation processes in the liver cannot occur.
In the absence of B vitamins, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates slows down because thousands of chemical reactions are delayed or otherwise impaired. The result can be fatigue, brain-fog, headaches, nausea and other flu-like symptoms known as ‘keto-flu’ when the toxins accumulate and circulate through the blood stream to the brain and other organs.
Not Just Any B Complex
In order for B vitamins to be fully useable by the body, they need to be activated in the liver. However, genetic studies reveal that about one-third of individuals do not naturally and efficiently convert food-sourced B vitamins into their activated, co-enzyme form. That’s why taking an activated B complex best ensures that our bodies are fully benefiting from it.
The Proof is in Your Pee
If you’ve used a B complex or a multivitamin containing it you may have noticed that your urine is bright yellow soon after taking it—-but not for long. Your urine will then turn a progressively lighter hue through the day as the body’s B vitamin supply is dwindling. That’s because B vitamins are water-soluble with nowhere to store the extras, so the body must ‘dump’ them (some of which are yellow in colour) into the urine. However, the more stress you’re under, the faster you’ll use up your B vitamins. For this reason it makes sense to take a slow-release B complex product: to achieve more consistent blood levels of the vitamins so that we know they are accessible to the trillions of cells that demand them to perform their myriad of metabolic functions critical for protecting and maintaining your health.
Take the Challenge, Now
When you take your B complex, monitor your urine colour. With a slow-release activated B complex you should see that bright yellow hue for 10 to 12 hours. With a regular B supplement you will only see this for 1-3 hours and will need to take several doses per day to achieve consistent levels—otherwise you are only getting one-third the quantity with just one dose. So whether you are on a ketogenic diet, a paleo diet or simply have a demanding lifestyle, taking a slow-release B complex formula once daily is the best and most convenient way to nourish your body 24-7.