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Ep69 – The Micronutrient Series: Water Soluble Vitamins Part 2 (Vitamin B)

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Ep69 – The Micronutrients Series – Water Soluble Vitamins Pt2


Hi, I’m Katie Bradbury, a registered nurse and nutritional therapist. Today’s podcast episode is The micronutrient series, water-soluble vitamins part 2.


So, in today’s episode, I’m going to be introducing you to the second set of water-soluble vitamins, and that is the B vitamins. I’ve thought long and hard about how to do this because there are actually quite a number of B vitamins. So there’s vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12, and they all work quite synergistically, so it’s kind of difficult to break them down, like the other ones where I’ve done for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, I covered those in an episode per vitamin. And again, with the water-soluble vitamins part one, which was vitamin C, I covered in one episode as well. So the B vitamins are a bit of a funny one, and I’ve wondered how best to actually present this episode because it felt as though there was too much to say about the B vitamins to do it all in one episode because some of them have particularly significant relevance for fertility. But equally, it didn’t really make sense to go through and have a whole episode on each of the six B vitamins. So what I decided to do and I started writing some notes this afternoon about going through some of them, and I was going to group them together. I was going to do in today’s episode, I was going to do B1 through B3, or possibly through to B6, and then I was going to do separate episodes on B9, which is folate. I have already done an episode on folate, actually, but it was quite a long time ago now, and I have referred people to it a few times, but I think because it is such an important nutrient for fertility, I think I will do an episode on B9 specifically and then on the B12 as well as that’s also another really important one for fertility. But I will tell you what I’m going to do instead, and that is to just give you a general intro today and a general overview as to the B vitamins as a collective, and then in the next episode, I will shine the spotlight specifically on some functions around fertility. So I will shine the spotlight on B9, which is folate and B12, as I said, and the reason I’m going to do it like that is because I don’t actually want to spend too long in my husband’s studio tonight. And it’s absolutely not because I don’t want to come and talk to you because I love coming to talk to you. I’ve been doing it for a long time now, and I am especially full of VAVA voom to come and talk to you because if you’re a regular listener, you will know that I took a little break last week when I was on holiday. And it was just delightful. So I’m like full of beans, and I’m raring to go. However, I’m gonna have to tell you this story as any of you who are based in the UK or Europe at the moment will know that we are in the midst of a bit of a heatwave. It’s going to be descending in on us a little bit more over the next couple of days, but my husband and I today, as it’s Sunday, it’s been the weekend, so we’ve been around the house this weekend. My husband and I today have been adopting the principles in a bid to keep the rooms in the house as cool as possible. If it’s hotter outdoors than it is indoors, then the windows and curtains stay closed to try and retain the coolness in the house. If it’s cooler outdoors, then we open the windows and doors. So it’s Sunday evening now, and we have just got back from my parent’s house for dinner. And you know, the air has cooled down a bit, so we’re kind of going through the process of opening all the windows and doors. So the studio where I record this podcast which is my husband’s music studio at the bottom of the garden, which a lot of you regular listeners will know already, we’d thrown the doors open when we got back, and my husband devotedly set up the podcast for me.


And then I came in, and I was just sitting here kind of just finalising, well, you know, carrying on with a few of my notes and preparing what I was going to say to you today, and we get quite a lot of mosquitoes around where we live, God knows why we live in the middle of London, well not in the middle, but we live in the East End of London, we don’t live near any stagnant water that I know of, we live like fairly close to the River Thames, which is flowing water, I’ve no idea why there was such an abundance of mosquitoes in our area. And it’s so bad that we can’t actually leave the windows open at nighttime because we just get bitten to shreds. I’m sitting in the studio and just preparing what I was going to say to you, and the doors were wide open in this bid to keep the studio, to cool it down because my husband has to come and work in here all day tomorrow. And Oh, I noticed a couple of mosquitoes, right. And that’s nothing unusual. As I say, we do get quite a few mosquitoes. And I kind of, you know, clapped a couple of my hands to kill them. Sorry, if anybody is a devout mosquito lover, you might want to not listen to the next part. And then I was like, do you know what, like there are quite a few mosquitoes in here now, and I’m in here with the light on, and the door is wide open, so I’m just going to shut the door while I record and then I will leave it open again afterwards to cool the room down. So I closed the door, and then I turned around to look back at the wall. The walls in this room are painted a brilliant white, and it was like something out of a horror story. I just turned around and looked, and they were just everywhere. There must have been about 30 mosquitoes in here just like sat like across the ceiling, and the wall was so just before hitting play on this episode. I’ve just been on a mosquito massacre. And yeah, my adrenaline was properly pumping. So that’s what I’ve just finished doing. Thankfully, none of them were bloody, so none of them have got me, and I’m hoping that I’ve got all of them, and then there weren’t any sneaky ones hiding. But you know, when you kill them, I’m gonna have to come and clean my husband’s walls tomorrow because there are just mosquitoes smeared all over the walls. I feel really bad anyway. So for part of that reason, I don’t want to spend too much time in the studio this evening because I don’t want to get eaten alive by any, ah! And I’ve actually just seen one, there, Oh you little sneaky you. So there are definitely still a few lurking about, and they’ve got their eye on me because I’ve killed their cousins. So, yeah, that’s my little story out of the way.


What I thought I would do today actually is just have, instead of going through the B vitamins one by one, just give you a bit of an overview about the B vitamins in general because B vitamins are really, really important. For fertility, yes, as for specific parts of fertility. But just generally, in terms of the way our body can function like we could not function without B vitamins. And the reason for that is because the B vitamins are the vitamin that is primarily associated with energy. Primarily associated with our body’s ability to actually convert the macronutrients that we eat, so the proteins, the fats and the carbs into actual energy. And so the unit of energy that our body uses at a cellular level to complete hundreds of 1000s of different things is ATP, which stands for, can I even remember what ATP stands for now? It stands for adenosine triphosphate, which, as I say, it’s the unit of energy that is used for so many cellular processes across the body, so energy metabolism. So, how many of you have low energy, right? Probably a lot. It’s really, really common to have low energy. And I’m not saying that that’s because you’re deficient in B vitamins, necessarily; although you might be, B vitamins often have a lot to do with it. And so, there are lots of things that can deplete the B vitamins as well. And one of the big ones is the oral contraceptive pill. So that’s really significant, isn’t it and the amount of clients that I’ve had that have come to me, and I was in this situation as well, I was on the oral contraceptive pill for probably about 11 years or so before I came off, and I didn’t even start to try to conceive immediately when it came off the oral contraceptive pill because I knew it might take a while for my body to regulate again. But one of the things that I would have been depleted in after taking the contraceptive pill for so long would have been B vitamins. So yeah, that’s, that’s really the overview of the B vitamins. And another really important role that they play is in DNA synthesis. So again, that’s one of the reasons they are important for fertility. So those are huge reasons in their own right as to why B vitamins are really some of the first vitamins that we should be thinking about making sure that we have enough of from a fertility point of view.


Lots of us, as I say, the reason that you might be depleted in them is that you don’t have enough of them in your diet. They are widely found, B vitamins are widely, and they’re slightly different. Each B vitamin is found in slightly different or is high in slightly different sets of foods. But generally speaking, when we’re thinking about the B vitamins, we’re often thinking about animal products, right? So we’re often thinking about meats, fish, and poultry, but they are found in lots of other things, they’re found widely across the food world, but we just might not have quite enough of them to meet our needs a lot of the time. So all the things that I talked about if you’re eating a Mediterranean diet, and you’re having like your dark green leafy veg, and your nuts and your seeds and your variety of plant foods. And if you tolerate it well, then some dairy, and then there’s fish, legumes, beans and also there are some fortified foods as well, that have been fortified with B vitamins.


So if you are eating that Mediterranean style diet, then you will have a nice amount of B vitamins in your body. And, but they can often become depleted because we actually have a higher need for them than normal. So as I say, the reasons for having low numbers of B vitamins in our system could be that we don’t actually intake enough, but it could be that we have increased requirements. And things like strenuous exercise, stress, pregnancy, and the oral contraceptive pill, all of those things mean that we have a higher requirement for some of the B vitamins, so they can all have an impact as to why our B vits might be low. So definitely worth thinking about all of the above.


Some of the other things that the B vitamins do as well work to actually feed the brain and the nervous system. And like a deficiency in B vitamins can be associated with like some of those, I mean, this probably isn’t something that you’re thinking about right now. But for you know, in terms of future proofing is things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, so you know, in terms of doing the work now to ensure that kind of health later on, so not just from a reproductive health point of view, but from a general health point of view, the B vitamins, I could not be more important.


So I’m gonna talk a bit more in the next episode. I’m gonna zoom in a little bit on as I say on folate and B12, specifically, but for now, I just wanted to give you that really I guess, overview, and one of the most important things to say about the B vitamins is that they work synergistically. So if anyone is supplementing with B vitamins, which many of you may be, it’s usually a good idea to take them, and as you know, I don’t give supplemental advice over the podcast because it would be unsafe for me to do so. But just to let you know, as a general principle, if any of you are taking specific B vitamins, then you might want to consider taking them in a complex, which is a mix of all the B vitamins because they all impact one another and they work synergistically. And often, one can’t work properly without another, for example, B1, which is thymine and if you have low folate and low B12, that can impact the absorption of thymine, B1. So you know that, as I say, they all work synergistically. And one of the things that they do require is that solid, and please, please do go back if you haven’t listened to the digestive health mini series that I did a little while back. But one of the big things is that you need really great digestion enabled to actually absorb and assimilate those B vitamins properly, because some of the B vitamins, especially B12, which I will talk about next episode, a lot has to happen to B12 from the moment it actually enters our mouth to the point where it’s actually able to be utilised by the cells. The critical part of the equation there is the B vitamins in the digestive tract being optimised from top to bottom. So if you haven’t listened to the digestive mini series, please do go back and listen to that because you might think that digestion is not related to fertility, but I can promise you it is. And it’s very, very uncommon for me to have a fertility client come through the doors that don’t have some kind of gastrointestinal issues going on.


So I will leave it there for today. I hope none of you has been put off by my mosquito massacre story. I hope that if you’re listening to this, you have a happy heat wave. I’m gonna say a happy heat wave because I feel like there has been a huge amount of scaremongering about this heatwave, and we’ve all got like really terrified about it. And if you are struggling with the heatwave, please be safe. Of course, be safe, but you know, enjoy it as well. If you can, you know, enjoy some snippets of sunshine if you get a chance to, and you know, just remember it’s only a couple of days that we’ve got ahead. And if you’re in the UK, that is, if you’re in South Spain, then not so much. But yeah, okay, well, I will leave it there for today. Next week, will be a spotlight on a few really important B vitamins as they relate to fertility. If you’ve got any questions on B vitamins that you would like me to cover in next week’s episode while I wrap up the vitamins section of the micronutrient series, then just let me know. You can contact me as always at, or you can find me on Instagram @katybradburyhealth, or you can, of course, come and join my wonderful Facebook group ‘Fertility and the First 1000 Days’ it’s the same title as this podcast, and I’m always happy to answer any questions in that group too.


Alright, take care, and I will speak again next week.

Links mentioned in the podcast: The Digestive Series (starting episode)

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