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We all know how important a balanced and healthy diet is. Sometimes everything that our bodies need can bedelivered to our organism through food. Still, some vitamins and minerals have to be taken additionally. Vitamin B complex is one of them and delivers eight of the B vitamins.

They are: Cobalamin (B12); folate (B9); biotin (B7); pyridoxine (B6); pantothenic acid(B5); niacin (B3); riboflavin (B2); thiamin (B1). The B group vitamins are water-soluble and each of them has an important role in somebodily functions. They help our bodies to form red blood cells and to transform the food we eat into energy. Althoughsome foods like meat, fortified cereals, whole grains, and nuts contain vitaminsfrom the B group, there are specific conditions that require additional intake.

Who should take B complex supplements?

Vegetarians and vegans – as this way of feeding increases the risk of decreasing the B12 vitamin levels. This specific vitaminis present in animal-based foods and meat. People who eat some dairy foods and eggs may be getting it from there. Still, it is good for levels to be measured by special blood tests and if needed – to be taken additionally as a supplement.

Older adults – some researchers point out that low levels of cobalamin, folate, and pyridoxine may be associated with  depression in older people. But that’s not all – some B vitamins are slowing down the cell’s aging process.

People who are taking specific medications, as can lead to deficiency in B vitamins. For example, birth control pills canaffect several B vitamins, including B2, B6, B9, and B12.  Also, the intake of B complex is very important during pregnancy and nursing. Especially if you are pregnant, folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12) are necessary to support fetal development.

What are the benefits of taking B vitamins?

They support hormone production, especially B3 and B5, which are responsible for the production of hormones in the adrenal glands, such as stress and sex hormones. Not to mention that vitamin B6 has a major role in neurotransmitter stimulation and hormones that affect the mood and regulate the body’s biological clock. May boost the mood, improve mental health and reduce stress. Of course, they cannotcure mental health conditions but may help in reducing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

According to some studies B vitamins can improve cognitive performance, reduce mental fatigue, and will make you feel better emotionally and physically. Vitamin B complex may help with migraines. In a report from 2015, the effect of vitaminB supplementation intake on people who suffer from migraines was analyzed. Specialists determined that when homocysteine levels are lowered with B6, B12, and folic acid (a synthetic form of B9) – this may help in reducing symptoms of recurring headache with sensory disturbances (migraine with aura). However, deeper research is needed.

It is a common fact that the B complex has multiple benefits for our health and nervous system, still, we have to be careful with the dosage. Here is the recommended daily intake (RDI):

  • Cobalamin (B12): 2.4 mcg;
  • Folate (B9): 400 mcg;
  • Biotin (B7): 30 mcg;
  • Pyridoxine (B6): 1.3 mg;
  • Pantothenic acid (B5):
  • Niacin (B3): 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women;
  • Riboflavin (B2): 1.3 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women;
  • Thiamin (B1): 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women.

NOTE: If you are pregnant or lactating, you may need higher amounts of B vitamins, also if you have a vitamin deficiency. Best consult your doctor and conduct the necessary blood test to determine your needs. Remember – food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet.

What vitamins make up B complex?

The B complex supplements are one of the essential vitamins that our bodies need. They may help with some health problems. In our previous article “Why is the Vitamin B complex important?” The focus was on the benefits and dosage. There were mentioned all of the eight main B vitamins and their influence on our organism. However, in this article we will take a look at each of them and what they are good for.

Cobalamin (vitamin B12)

This vitamin is useful for our blood and nerve cells, and also is helping the body to build healthy DNA structures. This is why it is good to take it during pregnancy as it supports fetal development. According to some sources, it may help if you suffer from anemia and can be used as a prevention of chronic disease, cancer, and anemia.

Folic Acid (B9)

Also known as folate (the natural form) is important for the DNA and genetic material. This is why doctors recommend the intake to start before pregnancy and to continue taking it after getting pregnant. It has a major role in women’s health, especially in reducing the risk of certain birth issues. It is also needed for the growth and for the production of red blood cells.

Biotin (vitamin B7)

Lots of people take to support the healthy growth of nails and hair. B7 is essential for the right functioning of our nerve system.

Pyridoxine (B6)

This vitamin helps the body in the process of making new red blood cells – they are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. That vitamin is of major importance to our immune system as it keeps it strong. It combines very well with vitamin D and magnesium during the cold seasons.

Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5

It promotes nervous system and brain health. Also helps in the process of reducing the cholesterol that our bodies produce.

Niacin (B3)

This vitamin along with B5 are both responsible for the production of hormones in the adrenal glands like stress and sex hormones. Vitamin B3 maintains the health of our digestion and nervous systems and skin. Doctors recommend it for improving cholesterol levels.

Riboflavin (B2)

Vitamin B2 has many functions. That vitamin is maintaining our nervous system, skin, and eyes healthy. It also plays a role in the process of turning the food into energy and helps enzymes in the body function properly. Moreover, it makes and repairs DNA, and is helping with the proper function of the digestive and nervous systems.

Thiamin (also known as Thiamine or vitamin B1)

It helps support our organs and their proper functioning. Also is important for healthy growth.


All vitamins of the B group are vital for our health. People can take them in the form of supplements or via healthy meals. They are in a variety of food sources such as fresh vegetables, legumes, milk, fish, eggs, poultry and meat, fortified cereals, and whole grains. A lot of B-complex supplements contain almost 100% of the RDA of each of the eight B vitamins. Still, some may contain too high levels of certain B vitamins. Before taking a high-dose supplement, consult with a doctor or nutritionist.

Dr. Disha Trivedi

Author Dr. Disha Trivedi

Dr. Disha Trivedi is PhD in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology. She is working as a medical writer and researcher at MVS Pharma GmbH.

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