All You Need to Know about Vitamin B Complex


Trivia about Vitamin B Complex – What is it really?

Well, we have all heard the name Vitamins in our daily lives, & as soon as we hear it, there is an innate curiosity that arises in our minds, & we directly correlate it with health and foods. There is a much broader sense to these terms than what meets the eye.

To understand Vitamin B complex, you must first understand what Vitamin B class is. Along with other classes of vitamins, class B of vitamins play an important part in cell metabolism and exist in foods along with other counterparts. They are distinguishable from other members of the same Vitamin family.

Most of the vitamin B supplements are well known by their numbers rather than the name. There are eight types of vitamin Bs in all; not necessarily in a consistent numerical pattern as we would see further.

Now that you have understood what Vitamin B class is and what it contains, lets move to Vitamin B complex. Well, its nothing but this entire group containing all eight types of Vitamin Bs. So next time, when you hear the name Vitamin B Complex Sources or Vitamin B Complex Supplements, you should comprehend it as a single entity containing all eight types of Vitamin Bs.

What are the types of Vitamin B Complex?

Below collated are the types of Vitamin Bs and a short description of what they are helpful for.

Vitamin B1 named Thiamine – This is instrumental in body metabolism.

Vitamin B2 named Riboflavin – This proves to be a highly effective antioxidant.

Vitamin B3 named Niacin – DNS repair and production.

Vitamin B5 named Panthothenic acid – Helps in hormone and cholesterol production.

Vitamin B6 named Pyridoxine, and there are two others in the same category – helps to produce RBCs in the body (Red Blood Cells).

Vitamin B7 named Biotin – Helps to metabolise fat.

Vitamin B9 named Folate – Helpful in cell growth and WBC production (white blood cells).0 Vitamin B12 – the most common is cyanocobalamin. There are others too – Predominant in helping neurological function.

What are the deficiency symptoms of Vitamin B Complex?

Our daily food contains a good proportion of these Vitamin B types. But as we grow old and our body is exposed to various kinds of adulteration like alcohol use, medical problems, bad diet, etc. and in women, pregnancies, we might need supplements that supply us a direct source of Vitamin B Complex. In older people too, decreased appetite and improper digestion cause Vitamin B deficiencies.

Hence we must be conscious of the various health benefits it brings and the multiple problems its deficiency can cause. Thus, it will be essential to know what a deficiency of this complex can cause. It, however, would widely differ across individuals spanning over multiple age groups.

Below are some of the important ones.

  • Skin rashes and Pale skin – B12 deficiency causes the skin to become quite pale and often skin of B12 deficient people have a mild yellow tinge to the skin tone. As you would have seen in the earlier section, because vitamin B helps to build red blood cells in the body (in bone marrow too mostly), its deficiency results in the RBCs getting diminished in numbers, thus rendering a pale appearance to the skin.
  • Cracks around the mouth, ulcers and Glossitis – This is a pretty bad side effect and a major symptom of Vitamin B deficiency. Ulcers and sometimes glossitis that changes the colour and shape of your tongue (sometimes red and swollen) can sometimes give you trouble speaking. Scaly scales along the lip line is also a bad side effect of Vitamin B Complex deficiency.
  • Fatigue & weakness – Red blood cells help carry oxygen throughout every nook and corner of a human body. So, a decrease in the number of red blood cells is detrimental to the human body. As there is a shortage of oxygen being received into all the body parts, it creates major fatigues and weaknesses in individuals. Oxygen, being one of the primal constituents of our existence is hence directly tied to Vitamin B Complex. B12 deficiency can be treated as the primary component responsible for RBC creation. In older people, severe deficiency of Vitamin B Complex can cause changes in mobility as well. It might affect their balance while walking. In some people, breathlessness, dizziness, and blurred visions have also been seen as a sign of Vitamin B complex deficiency.
  • Anaemia– Vitamin B12 helps the creation of RBCs as we have known till now. So, a decrease in the dosage can cause anaemia in some people.
  • Irritability or depression – This is most common in the older people who due to decreased diet and low rate of digestion do not get vitamin Bs in abundance. A severe lack of Vitamin B complex can also do severe tissue damage to brain centres and make a person have dementia and severe depression.
  • Diarrhoea and constipation – These are both different digestive disorders, but both somehow are an effect of Vitamin B Complex deficiencies in some cases. Vitamin B1 Thiamine helps in digestion. So, if that is less in your diet, it might result in bad digestion, resulting in either of the two mentioned problems. It should be, however, taken care that supplements should only be taken with extreme care as some supplements contain iron and calcium that further aggravates the condition of constipation. Nausea and abdominal cramps are also a symptom of Vitamin B Complex deficiency.

Pins and Needles – As you might have read in the earlier sections of this article, Vitamin B also helps cater to neurological functions. So a deficiency can take a toll on the neurological status of our body. You might have tingling sensations around the feet and most common of all “pins and needles” sensations. They might or might not be accompanied by anaemia as well.

There are some severe diseases that should be attended to properly in relation to Vitamin B Complex.

Celiac disease

Crohn’s disease

Kidney problems

Rheumatoid arthritis

Ulcerative colitis

Inflammatory bowel disease


Benefits of Vitamin B Complex?

Now that we know what deficiency of Vitamin B complex causes, lets now look at the brighter side of things. Below are the benefits of proper intake of Vitamin B Complex. These are almost the exact opposites of the deficiency symptoms.

  • Growth and health of both Red and White blood cells – What this does in return is that your skin and body tone is at the top level. It also maintains a good general health as the oxygen ingested is evenly spread in the body. This also saves you from being anaemic.
  • Accentuates energy levels in individuals – As a result of good oxygen distribution within the body, the energy levels in an individual is exponentially increased. It makes him or her feel more enthusiastic about things and fatigue doesn’t take any toll on these individuals.
  • Improves eye sight and brain function – Due to the neurological benefits of Vitamin B complex, the brain of the individual is mostly healthy always, and the optic health is also improved.
  • Optimum digestion and proper appetite – Again, due to the vitamins such as B1, the digestion in individuals improve and as a result, appetite is something that doesn’t go down.
  • Good hormone and cholesterol balance in the body – This is one of the many benefits of Vitamin B complex. Proper hormone production and good cholesterol balance is a must for any healthy individual. Be it, men or women, an imbalanced hormonal level may result in many problems.
  • Maintains good cardiovascular health – Lastly and most important, Vitamin B complex keeps our heart hale and sound.

Moreover,for men, the Vitamin B complex helps in erectile function and boosts testosterone. And as we all know, there are several benefits that can be enjoyed from testosterone alone. More women, when they are pregnant, Vitamin B complex is of much help. It helps minimize the chances of birth defects and keeps the female energetic and also ensures good skin, bones, etc. in the babies to an extent.

Sources of Vitamin B Complex?

As we go forward, its important to know where we can find a Vitamin B complex rich diet. As already said, it found in foods but if a person is already suffering from a deficit, is ill or is aged, it might so happen that he or she should take supplements of Vitamin B Complex in order to ingest it directly.

Vitamin B Complex is mostly found in non-vegetarian food. But fret not. There are alternatives for vegetarians and even vegans for that matter. Following is a table of vitamin A sources you can rely on.

Beans 20 mg
Avocado 300 mg
Aspagaragus 300 mg
Chikpeas 2 mg
Potato 2mg
Eggs 6mg
Tuna 2mg
Pork 1.5mg

Non-vegetarian LIST:

  • Animal Organ meat – Even some non-vegetarians don not like to have organ meat like livers and kidneys. Mostly cannot stand the strong flavours they emit. But organ meat is a strong contender in the list of foods that areare rich in Vitamin B Complex. They contain mostly all types of Vitamin Bs. There are various recipes on the internet that can be tried using Organ meat in a ground form that are not only comfortably edible, but finger licking tasty.
  • Salmons and Trouts– This fish although a slightly expensive option is a rich source of vitamin B complex. Apart from vitamin Bs, it comes with the very useful omega 3 fats. Among the eight types of vitamin Bs, Salmon contains almost 6, making it a very healthy option in your diet. And its beyond delicious (especially the based ones). Trouts are also a slightly cheaper alternative for Salmons.
  • Eggs – Yes, even eggs. For some, this is reluctant deal thinking about the cholesterol factor it brings to the table. But those who can manage, they can easily have at least one daily, considering that it is a rich source of biotin.
  • Animal Meat – Almost all animal meat is a rich source of Vitamin B complex. Pork, beef, chicken, turkey and just about any of these contain most of the types of Vitamin Bs in them. If you can be a bit selective in what types of portions you want and only focus on the fleshy parts rather than going for skins and fats, there is nothing like it.
  • Some sea food – Oysters, claims, etc. contain rich amount of Vitamin B complex in them. So if you a devour a mussel, be sure that you are in win-win situation.

Vegetarian LIST:

  • Milk – Yes! Anyone can have it and most people have it. It is a rich source of Roboflavin and three other essential vitamin Bs. So if you are vegetarian, you just as might drink a sufficient amount of milk everyday for Vitamin and Calcium gains.
  • Yogurt – If made out of milk, yes they too are a rich source of Vitamin B complex.

Vegan LIST:

  • Leafy Greens – Well everyone can have these isn’t it and one should. So be it a hard core non vegetarian, a life long vegetarian or a vegan by choice, you can and must have greens everyday. Spinach, turnips, etc. are an excellent source and one thing that would suit vegans more is that they are a better source in raw form.

Sunflower Seeds – One of the best sources, coming from plants, this too is a rich source of vitamin B complex.

Dosage and side effects of Vitamin B complex?

The dosage depends on many factors, your age and gender being the two most important ones. Below is a list in general of males and females (first and 2nd column respectivelydaily). There can also be side effects based upon certain factors in specific individuals depending upon whether they are pregnant or have a different sickness, etc. and its always prescribed to consult a doctor before intaking a Vitamin B complex supplements or capsules.

    Males Females
Vitamin B-1 1.2 mg 1.1 mg
Vitamin B-2 1.3 mg 1.1 mg
Vitamin B-3 16 mg 14 mg
Vitamin B-5 5 mg 5 mg
Vitamin B-6 1.3 mg 1.5 mg
Vitamin B-7 30 mcg 30 mcg
Vitamin B-9        400 mcg 400 mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.4 mcg 2.4 mcg


1)How can you tell you are vitamin B complex deficient?

You can check your body for symptoms that are mention above in this article and in case it looks familiar, there are chances you have a deficit.

2) Is it safe to take B complex everyday?

If it is coming from normal food, then it should be alright.

3) Are B complex supplements necessary?

Not at all. They should always be prescribed by a doctor.

4) What is the best time to take vitamin B complex?

Throughout your life, unless there are medical reasons due to which the doctor regulates your intake. If you are taking tablets, it can be taken in the morning hours on an empty stomach.

So, as we understand, Vitamin B complex is a major player in maintaining a person’s health and should not be taken for granted. It is essential to know the symptoms, if you are facing any, due to a deficit.

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