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.


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!!!).

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The Difference Between Folate and Folic Acid – Book Excerpt of the Week

Have you ever wondered about the difference between folic acid and folate? In this Book Excerpt of the Week, we enter the Folate/Folic Acid chapter of the Energy Drink Guide: Part III – How Do They Work. Before we talk about what folate does, we have to talk about what it is, and where it comes from.

Folic Acid book excerpt

Folic Acid is a term reserved for the SYNTHETIC form of folate whereas Folate or Folacin are general names for a group of nutritionally identical compounds.

If the amino acid Glutamic Acid is a bling necklace, Folic Acid always has one, whereas the natural kind, folate, almost always has three.

Folic acid is synthetic but still prevents spina bifida like natural folate. In fact, because folic acid has less bling (fewer glutamic acids hanging off it) it is easier to digest than natural folate.

Folic Acid and folate are indistinguishable once they’re absorbed and get to the liver.

🌱🌳🌿☘🍀FOLATE gets its name from FOLIUM, the Latin word for LEAF. And wouldn’t you know it, dark green leafy veggies are the best sources of folate. Other sources include asparagus, dried beans, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals (obviously) and oranges.

❓Does your favorite energy drink have folate❓

STAY TUNED every Monday/Tuesday for more book excerpts and the science behind energy drink ingredients as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

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Boring Basic Biotin knows only one move: Book Excerpt of the Week

Biotin is really boring. Biotin only knows how to do one thing. Biotin helps our bodies derive energy from fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. New research suggests more than 2,000 human genes depend on biotin for expression. However, all of these processes and mechanisms described above involve delivering carbon dioxide from one place to another.

Biotin is like a dancer who only knows one move or a guitar player who only knows one chord

This is not to say biotin is not important, of course it is. For example, a fatty acid chain that is 3 carbons long is really hard to metabolize. It’s more difficult than three people trying to walk side-by-side down a narrow sidewalk. If you have four people, you can double-up and walk in two rows of two.

After biotin slaps on another carbon dioxide molecule to make the chain an even number of carbons long, it’s a lot easier for our bodies to continue that metabolism reaction.

I would love to tell you more about the specific enzyme that has this even-numbers-only fetish, but all my biochem books are in a box. Did you know GreenEyedGuide is moving from So Cal to Wisconsin? You can read about it on my other blog, West Coast Meets Midwest.

Biotin is important, but I will always think it is boring.

To learn more about the reactions where biotin gets to be the hero, get your copy of MY BOOK: “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”

STAY TUNED every Monday for more book excerpts and the science behind energy drink ingredients as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

Let’s connect!

The Energy Drink Guide is now on Audible! Listen to “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star” for FREE!

In August 2013 a book I’d been working on for 10 years was finally published! Now, August 2017, it’s available as an audiobook! My only regret is it took me so long to save enough to make this happen – I’m guessing if you’re busy enough to need caffeine, you’re busy enough to prefer an audiobook over the real thing.

Since I first started studying biochemistry and energy drinks in 2003, my biggest goal has been to help people consume caffeine safely.

Here’s how you can listen for free and help me promote “my baby”:

STEP ZERO: Make sure you’re not signed in to Amazon or Audible. If you already have an Audible account, skip to the bottom for Step Three.


STEP ONE: Visit this link and get a 30-day trial of Audible along with my book:

You should see a page that looks like this:

STEP TWO: Click “Sign Up Today & Save” and complete the check-out process

If you already have an Audible Account:

STEP THREE: You can use this link to find my book:

Audbile Proof of Purchase

That’s it! That’s all! In just a few steps you’ve helped me and put the ultimate guide to the science of energy drinks in your hands (or, ears, I suppose).


Thank you for helping me share this book. Special thanks to Agent Smith of the Double Cross Committee for bringing my baby to life and for literally giving a voice to all my cheesy puns throughout the book.

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