Vitamin B12 as the Ultimate Wingman – Book Excerpt of the Week

Vitamin B12 is the Ultimate Wingman! In this week’s book excerpt, we’ll discuss how B12 helps both folate and boring-basic-biotin, and why this makes B12 a good energy drink ingredient.

B12 as Folate’s Wingman

Remember when we talked about what folate does? Cells that rely on folate for growth and maturation also depend on B12 because it recycles folate, restoring it for the next round of DNA synthesis. Without B12, folate gets used up and stuck with a single carbon group. That’s like trying to take a cup of coffee from someone when you’re already holding a cup of water in each hand. To make sure sells get enough DNA to mature and divide, B12 and folate have to work as a team.

But that’s not the only vitamin B12 assists:

B12 as a side-kick to Boring Basic Biotin

One molecule of fat has three fatty acids, like a three-pronged fork. Each fatty acid is a chain of carbons. Each chain gets oxidized (broken down) two carbons at a time. This becomes a problem when there’s only thee left, so a special reaction takes place for the last three in the chain.

For the science nerds: That reaction is the transformation of a 3-carbon molecule (methylmalonyl CoA) to a 4-carbon molecule (succinyl CoA). CoA is short for coenzyme A.

Vitamin B12 helps Boring Basic Biotin handle these odd numbered units so they can get metabolized into energy through the Krebs cycle.

Why B12 makes a good energy drink ingredient

The Krebs cycle is a giant wheel of reactions that leads to massive amount of energy per turn. Since B12 helps fats get “into shape” (as in, from odd-to-even numbered) to enter the Krebs cycle, B12 is facilitating the production of energy. It may not be as boring as biotin or as amazing as niacin (my favorite B-vitamin), but B12 gets the award for the best team player.

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To learn more about B12 and the other B-vitamins, stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide (now on Audible!!!).

Let’s connect!

What is Vitamin B12, really? Book Excerpt of the Week

For last week’s book excerpt from the Energy Drink Guide, we talked about what vitamin B6 does. This week, we move into the Vitamin B12 chapter. Before we can talk about what B12 does, we have to talk about where it comes from…bacteria!

Did you know ALL B12 comes from bacterial fermentation?

Vitamin B12 can be found in food sources like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy because the animals are the vessel for this bacterial fermentation. Plants don’t make B12, and they only provide B12 if they’ve been contaminated with soil that contains it (e.g. from the animal gut to the poop to the soil to the plant).

Certain natural vitamins are superior to their synthetic counterparts, and vice versa — remember when we talked about synthetic vs natural folate and the bling rings? But with vitamin B12, all B12 compounds are made through fermentation of bacteria, fungi, or algae.

Whether this fermentation occurs in the stomach of a cow or in a lab doesn’t affect the active structure or function of the vitamin.

 

Okay, phew – so B12 comes from bacteria…and that’s fine…

…But we’re not done with the fear-mongering.

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DO NOT PANIC if you come across a website that suggests synthetic B12 is poison because it’s cyanide. The association is irrelevant, just like the association between Chloride and SODIUM Chloride. The context makes all the difference. Furthermore, the dosage makes the difference between a poison and a cure (paraphrasing the Father of Toxicology, Paracelsus).

To learn more about B12 and the other B-vitamins, stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide (now on Audible!!!).

Let’s connect!

 

GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge Day 10/10 – 10 Tips for Label Reading

For the 10th and final day of the GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge we review the 10 things on a label to check before consuming a caffeinated beverage or other health/functional beverage.

Thank you for playing along with the Caffeine Challenge! You can always share your favorite caffeinated beverages with me on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide.

Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.

Energy Drink of the Month – Jan 2016: Cran-Energy

If your New Year’s Resolution is to consume fewer energy drinks, you may be looking for some healthy swaps. How healthy is fruit juice, really? Obviously, it’s not as healthy as whole fruit, but usually healthier than soda. This energy drink (alternative) of the month is a healthy alternative to the stereotypical energy drink, but it is also an example of how “healthy” and “good for you” is a matter of context and perspective.

The Energy Drink of the Month is Cran-Energy Cranberry Energy Juice Drink.

On their own page, Ocean Spray’s clever distinction, “energy JUICE drink” highlights the ambiguity of how to classify this product. Since this product walks the line between the JUICE category and the ENERGY DRINK category, we’ll compare how healthy this product is relative to other products in each category.

Is it Juice or an Energy Drink? Product Category Confusion

If it was your job to tally the annual sales of different types of beverages, would you put this in the “energy drink” category or the “juice” category? In their article “Juice Gone Wild”, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has effectively put this in the juice category. However, on their own site, Ocean Spray compares this product to “other energy drinks”. Furthermore, BevNet’s product assessment definitively puts this drink in the energy drink category as this product was specifically designed to give people energy.

Cran-Energy versus the stereotypical ENERGY DRINK

Since Red Bull is the number one selling brand in the ENERGY DRINK product category, we’ll compare Cran-Energy to Red Bull.

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Click here to open and download the Cran-Energy vs Energy Drink DATASHEET

Against a stereotypical energy drink, Cran-Energy IS a healthy swap. The 2015-2016 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends sodium intake not exceed 2300 mg per day. With such a low limit, the lower sodium of Cran-Energy is a healthier option than Red Bull.

Furthermore, the 2015-2016 DGA recommendation is to limit intake of added sugars (like those in the Red Bull) to less than 10% of total calories per day [Source – FoodInsight.org].  It’s also important to note that since the sugars in the Cran-Energy come from grape and cranberry juice, they’re not TECHNICALLY “added sugars” because they’re natural in grape juice. (Though grape juice isn’t naturally added to cranberry juice, is it? Hello, loophole!)

But what about the Sucralose in Cran-Energy? The 2015-2016 DGA agrees with leading global authorities including the European Food Safety Authority that sweeteners like sucralose are safe to consume, though the DGA does note that “replacing added sugars with high-intensity sweeteners may reduce calorie intake in the short-term, yet, questions remain about their effectiveness as a long-term weight management strategy.” [Source – FoodInsight.org].

Cran-Energy versus Cranberry JUICE

To the rushed shopper, Cran-Energy might pass as fancy cranberry juice. Comparing Ocean Spray’s Cran-Energy to Ocean Spray’s Cranberry 100% Juice, Cran-Energy IS NOT a healthy swap.

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Click here to open and download the Cran-Energy vs Cranberry 100percent Juice DATASHEET

While the Cran-Energy offers a cluster of B-vitamins, it also contains artificial colors and sweeteners that aren’t in the Cranberry 100% juice. Furthermore, consider the juice content itself! Looking at the front of the label, you might think Ocean Spray Cranberry 100% juice is 100% cranberry juice when in fact other fruits like grape, apple, and pear are also used to make this 100% juice. (When you can’t add plain sugar, grape juice is a very sweet natural source) Cran-Energy is only 23% juice and is mostly filtered water. If you wanted to reap the benefits of cranberry juice, Cran-Energy is not going to help you.

BOTTOM LINE

It’s short-sighted to call anything (even 100% juice) healthy because a term like this deserves context. With proper context, we can see that Cran-Energy IS NOT a healthy swap for 100% juice (let alone whole fruit), but it IS a healthy swap for the stereotypical energy drink.

~GreenEyedGuide

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