Boost metabolism! Generate energy! Increase aerobic potential!
Sound like an energy drink commercial? Actually, it’s the work of B vitamins.
B vitamins are a group of 8 water soluble vitamins: Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), Folic Acid (B9), and Cyanocobalamin (B12). The B vitamins have many complex jobs that help your body function. Biotin is involved in RNA and DNA production and nerve function. B12 is essential for blood production. Riboflavin is needed to produce energy for the electron transport chain-which transports oxygen through our bodies and produces ATP-the source of energy for physiological reactions such as muscle contraction. Folic Acid is needed for cell division, making it an important role in a pregnant woman’s diet. All 8 B vitamins mentioned are involved various forms of cell metabolism, helping the body generate and transfer energy. There are many good sources of B vitamins including whole grains, lentils, beans, bananas, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and brewer’s yeast.
At EPL, we analyze samples for all 8 B vitamins using a variety of methods. Microbiological methods can be used to test B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9. In these methods, auxotrophic microorganisms (bacteria or yeast) are used to determine the amount of vitamin content in a sample. The specific auxotrophic microorganisms are not able to produce the vitamin of interest (if looking for B6 use a microorganism that can’t make its own B6). The microorganisms are added after sample preparation and allowed to grow overnight. The amount of growth in each sample is compared against a standard curve with known amounts of the vitamin of interest.
Chromatography methods are used to test the remaining B vitamins: B1, B7, B12, and B2 for some matrices. The vitamins are extracted from the matrix and analyzed by HPLC-MS (high performance liquid chromatography/ mass spectrometry) or UHPLC-MS (ultra high performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. These instruments record specific peak signals for each vitamin compound. The concentration of each vitamin is calculated by comparing the area under the peak against a standard curve with known amounts of each vitamin.