Known also as adenine, vitamin B4 is a water soluble and infamous vitamin. It is a component of DNA, RNA, ATP, and the three coenzymes NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), NADH (a reduced form of NAD) and FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide). Adenine functions synergistically and closely with vitamins B2 and B3 to generate energy.
Food Sources and Absorption:
Brewer's yeast is the best food source of vitamin B4. Other foods rich in adenine are whole grains,bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis, spirulina, aloe vera, kelp, green leafy vegetables, honey, cayenne pepper, and berries. Smaller amounts can be found in herbs and spices such as hops, sage, spearmint, caraway, cinnamon, sumac, and ginger.
It is absorbed from the upper part of the small intestine. Though the body does not store this vitamin, the highest concentrations of vitamin B4 are found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, red blood cells, heart, and vascular endothelial cells.
Functions of Vitamin B4:
- It helps with protein synthesis.
- Working closely with vitamins B2 and B3, it involves in generating energy by being a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
- It may increase sensitivity of the cells to insulin.
- When combined with ribose, it forms adenosine which is highly important for normal heart function.
- It may stimulate the release of the hormone “motilin” from the GI tract.
- It may enhance antibody formation by the immune system.
- It poses an antioxidant activity.
Athletic Benefits of Vitamin B4:
- Boosts energy level.
- Helps athletes overcome jet lag easily.
- Delays fatigue and exhaustion time.
- Decreases reaction time.
- May improve endurance.
- May improve mental alertness and clarity.
- In the form of NADH, it may enhance the release of growth hormone.
Non – Athletic Benefits of Vitamin B4:
The following condition may benefit from vitamin B4:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Cardiac arrhythmias.
- Chronic constipation.
- HIV support.
- Compromised immune system.
- Hair loss.
- Parkinson`s disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Weight management.
No RDA has been established for this vitamin. It is available as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and NADH (reduced form of NAD). NAD is usually taken 25 – 75 mg a day on an empty stomach. Sometimes it is combined with 200 mg of ribose.
For more information about NADH, see "NADH" under the section of “Sports - Performance Enhancers”, and for more information about NAD, see “Vitamin B3” under the section of “GH Enhancers”.
Adenosine is formed by combining adenine and ribose. Adenosine and adenine – containing products (NAD and NADH) are not recommended in people with asthma, as they may exacerbate the symptoms.
Caffeine (in coffee, tea, and soft drinks), theophylline (in cocoa beans and tea), and theobromine (in chocolate, tea, and cola) may reduce the effectiveness of adenosine.