Julie Wendt, MS, CNS, LDN | Mar 22, 2021
The Special Relationship Between the
Gang of B’s, Choline & Your Health
While there are many B vitamins that we need to get in daily, there is a group of them that we want to evaluate together to see if your current total nutrition meets your body’s needs. The Gang of B’s includes B2, B9, B6, Choline, and B12. We often associate B vitamins with energy production because they truly are essential to how your body extracts energy from food. However, together with choline, your Gang of B vitamins is critical for another lesser-known essential process called methylation. Think of methylation as the core of your human operating system. Methylation is the process of producing a “methyl group, ”which is a molecule made of three hydrogens attached to one carbon. Think of a methyl group as a hook that attaches to other molecules and turns them on so that they can do their job.
Methyl groups turn on so many processes in your body. Examples of methyl groups at work include: breaking down fight or flight hormones, producing the antioxidant CoQ10, the detoxifying agent glutathione, and even producing nitric oxide which helps with blood pressure management! Even more important, your body uses methyl groups to turn off genes when you don’t need their help. Your B vitamins are integral to how you produce methyl groups and deficiencies can cause inefficiencies in your operating system, kind of like a wheel that gets in a rut.
Here’s a cool fact: B vitamins work together to create methyl groups, but your body is really smart! When your B vitamins are not showing up to work, choline can step in and provide those essential methyl groups. You see, your body has a system and a backup system to make sure you’re covered for this critical process
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) helps you produce red blood cells and break down food for energy.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) helps to break down proteins, make and repair DNA, support red blood cell production, and sustain us when we’re growing or pregnant. In fact, folate is probably one of the most dynamic and essential vitamins in your entire diet!
Choline is technically not a vitamin or mineral for that matter. It is needed for cellular health, metabolism, liver health, and the nervous system. Your body can make choline, but not as much as you need. During pregnancy, Choline is even more important than usual.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps us turn food into energy, and supports the heart, brain, detoxification and immune system.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps us with a lot of the above-- forming red blood cells and DNA, supporting our brain, and keeping our nervous system and metabolism going. Over time, B12 deficiency can lead to complications like anemia, nerve damage, and fatigue.
Want to know how your diet and supplements are supporting your need for B vitamins? My favorite way to see how I am doing with my diet choices is to track my intake in an app for a few days. It takes a little bit of time but really helps me realign my food choices! My favorite diet tracking app is cronometer.com because you can see all of those micronutrients. If you find that you are coming up short, consider adding a high-quality multivitamin.
If you are interested in more professional nutritional guidance, schedule a consultation with our licensed nutritionist, Julie Wendt, MS, CNS, LDNSchedule Consultation
I offer functional nutrition counseling that is rooted in a simple and compelling belief: the human body has powerful healing capacities that, when supported, can bring a person to their optimal state of health.
Interested in a Consultation?Wellness Center
1. Li P, Yin Y-L, Li D, et al. Amino acids and immune function. Br J Nutr 2007;98(2):237-252. doi:10.1017/S000711450769936X
2. Grimm H, Kraus A. Immunonutrition – supplementary amino acids and fatty acids ameliorate immune deficiency in critically ill patients. Langenbecks Arch Surg 2001;386(5):369-376. doi:10.1007/s004230100241
3. Ward R, Crichton R, Taylor D, et al. Iron and the immune system. J Neural Transm Vienna Austria 1996 2010;118:315-328. doi:10.1007/s00702-010-0479-3
4. Percival S. Copper and immunity. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67(5):1064S-1068S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/67.5.1064S
5. Rail L, Meydani S. Vitamin B6 and immune competence. Nutr Rev 1993;51(8):217-225. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.1993.tb03109.