I wanted to share something I am really passionate about with you and that many women could benefit from. Especially if you train hard and eat right, you want to make sure all bases are covered to provide you with optimal performance in the gym and life.
Now, before I lay it out, I want to say, supplements mean shit if your lifestyle, training, and nutrition are not in a good place. Supplements only compliment a sound nutrition and training protocol. Supplements alone are not magic.
However, there is a supplement many women could benefit from outside of the most well-known: calcium, vitamin D...blah blah we all know this.
This vitamin is one you probably never heard of is Myelinated B Vitamin Complex.
You might be thinking, "No shit, B vitamins," but the keyword here is myelinated. Not all B vitamin complexes contain compounds that act as a methyl donor. Micronutrients such as folate, choline, betaine, vitamin B12, and other B vitamins contribute to DNA methylation. This is incredibly important for neurological function but also other cellular processes.
But before we break this down, let's identify the B vitamins themselves:
- Thiamin (vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- Biotin (vitamin B7)
- Folate and Folic Acid (vitamin B9)
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
When optimal methylation occurs, it has a significant positive impact on many biochemical reactions in the body that regulate the activity of the cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and detoxification systems, including those relating to fat and estrogen metabolism, liver health, and the function of our actual DNA. And considering the majority of women, these days walk around highly estrogen dominant, this matters!
What is interesting is optimal methylation requires B vitamins. Therefore, if you take a B vitamin supplement that doesn’t have methylation properties in the mix, you are largely missing the mark. And many B vitamin complexes you find at your local Walmart do not contain methylation properties (which is probably the kind you are taking, if you take any).
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So Why Should You Care?
Many women, especially those who take oral birth control pills, are B vitamin DEFICIENT due to malabsorption in the gut. Meaning they are also not myelinating optimally. Not even close. And it’s not so much that women aren’t getting the B vitamins in our food (we are), but we aren’t absorbing them well in our gut due to things like birth control, IBS, chronic stress, some autoimmune conditions, and digestive issues in general. Women struggle with these issues a lot more than men. Methylation is essential in the detox process and necessary to help form cells that line the GI tract.
There are a lot of “symptoms” women experience that can point back to B vitamin deficiencies and poor methylation.
Is your period haywire? B vitamin malabsorption/poor methylation could be a player here.
Is your hair brittle and shedding? B vitamin malabsorption/poor methylation could be a player here.
Do you feel constantly lethargic? B Vitamin malabsorption/poor methylation could be a player here.
Are you estrogen dominant? B vitamin malabsorption/poor methylation could be a player here.
Hence why a myelinated B vitamin complex is a game-changer for women’s health. But how do you know if your B vitamin complex contains methylation properties? Here are a few things to look for:
On the ingredient label, the supplement should contain Trimethly Glycine (TMG). TMG is what acts as a methyl donor. This assists with proper methylation. Also, as a bonus, if the supplements contain N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), even better. NAC supports the liver and can also form glutathione (this reduces oxidative stress and cell damage.) So to play it safe, if your B vitamin complex does not contain at least the TMG, I would search elsewhere.
Also, here is a list of foods high in B vitamins to offer your body an even bigger punch:
- Leafy Greens
- Organ Meat
- Sunflower Seeds
As you can see, a myelinated B vitamin complex is even more important if you are vegan or vegetarian. Other foods like certain fruits contain B vitamins, however, in relatively low amounts.
You still might be thinking, why is this important for me as a woman? The B vitamins as a whole are the building blocks of a healthy body. So while many people actually get enough B vitamins in their diet, as I mentioned above, they are not ABSORBING them—especially women. So whether you are on a fat loss journey, going for a world record, or trying to get pregnant, adequate B Vitamin absorption and methylation as a woman is vital.
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Alycia Israel is a nationally qualified NPC figure and bikini competitor and raw powerlifter. She has a master’s degree in exercise physiology, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist, and an ISSN-certified sports nutritionist. She was also the personal training coordinator at Ohio State University for seven years. She currently owns and operates Alycia's Barbell, an online training and nutrition business that helps clients lose fat for life or jump on the competitive bodybuilding stage. She can be contacted at email@example.com.