When you were young I bet you had all the energy you needed. Doesn’t it seem like kids below a certain age never run out of energy. They could run all day and still be bouncing off the walls when bedtime comes around.
If you’ve noticed that too, you aren’t alone.
I was sitting outside the other day at a State park just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Birds were chirping, squirrels were dashing through the brush and zipping up trees, occasionally I would hear the sound of a distant dog barking on a walk with their owner.
I also heard distant voices on the gentle breeze. It sounded like kids, maybe 4 or 5 years old walking with their dad. I could hear them counting their steps, reading signs along the path and asking questions left and right as inquisitive kids tend to do.
When they reached the trailhead I heard them say, “lets go around again!” You could hear their love for a good hike in their exuberant voices. But the response from their dad was, “not now, you tired me out.”
You don’t think about your energy levels when you are young, but as we creep up in age our energy production starts to fall.
Did you know, this might be because we become deficient in certain important vitamins as we age. B vitamins are typically low such as B6, B12, and B9 (or folate). The B vitamins are important for a number of things, but energy production is an important one.
But you might be saying, “I eat plenty of vitamin rich foods, and I even take a multi-vitamin.”
It turns out many of us may be deficient in key vitamins even though we have plenty of those vitamins in our system. The reason that might be is because about 60% of Americans have genetic mutations that prevent our bodies from converting these key elements into the active form our bodies need to make use of them.
These defects, called methylation defects or MTHFR, actually prevent us from utilizing the vitamins already in our system.
Put it this way you may not have a problem absorbing vitamin B12 but you may have a problem converting the inactive form into an active form.
Let’s take vitamin B12 for instance. The common synthetic form used in food enrichment and supplements is called cyanocobalamin. In a functioning system we convert that B12 into methylated B12 or vitamin B12 methylcobalamin. But if we happen to have a methylation defect that does not happen and it leads to a deficiency even though we may have plenty of B12 in our blood stream.
So what can we do? The good news for the 60% of us with a methylation defect is that we can take Methyl B vitamins. Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate use the active form of B12 and Folate that our body needs and can use without the conversion.
If you have MTHFR your only option is to choose methylated versions of these vitamins, but for the rest of us it may be beneficial to do so as well. For one, unless you have been tested you may not know if you have the genetic mutation. Better safe than sorry right?
It really isn’t a big deal, because Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate are readily available in supplement form. It’s as easy as a few clicks on Amazon, or a trip to your local grocery store even.
After that, you are ready for that extra loop on the hiking trail. Just make sure you packed a few snacks for the kiddies.
For a fun look at the benefits of methyl folate vs folic acid see the video below