Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex includes eight B vitamins and all essential water-soluble vitamins barring vitamin C. The B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), panthothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid or folates (B9), and cobalamins (B12). Each of them plays a vital role in the functioning of our body and provides several health benefits. However, excess consumption of Vitamin B complex is unsafe and could cause side effects as well. On the other hand, B complex deficiencies could also lead to several problems. It is thus best to consult a doctor before taking any B complex supplements so that he/she can recommend an appropriate dosage for you, depending on your need.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended daily dosage according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each component is as follows. Various factors like drinking alcohol, smoking, or constant health problems could require a larger dose, which it is best decided after consultation with your doctor.

  • Thiamin (B1) – 1.5 mg
  • Riboflavin (B2) – 1.7 mg
  • Niacin (B3) – 20 mg
  • Panthothenic acid (B5) – 10 mg
  • Pyridoxine (B6) – 2 mg
  • Biotin (B7) – 300 mcg
  • Folates (B9) – 400 mcg
  • Cobalamins (B12) – 6 mcg

Vitamin B Complex Injections

Vitamin B complex injections are also available in the market, and people claim that it is more effective than the oral supplements. Generally, people who are trying to lose weight opt for B12 injections. The injection can be given either intravenously or intramuscularly. While injections cost much more than the supplements, your doctor may prescribe a shot of vitamin B complex to help boost your energy or vitality. Dosage varies from person to person, depending on various factors.

Injections are better because the vitamins are absorbed into the body quicker than supplements, and they are usually given to people who require higher levels of energy to perform various activities. B complex injections can be used to treat B complex deficiencies like anemia, dermatitis, difficulty in assimilation, increased fatigue, psoriasis, neuritis, and stomatitis, to name a few. However, if used for long periods (or taken in improper/high dosages), there could also be side effects such as dehydration, depression, edema, joint pain, low calcium, ulcers, and reduced protein metabolism.

Symptoms of B complex Deficiency

B complex deficiency can manifest as various diseases like anemia, beriberi, dermatitis, encephalitis and pellagra, and disease has its own set of symptoms.

  • Lack of vitamin B1 causes beriberi; symptoms include mood swings, weight loss, pain and weakness in the limbs, irregular heartbeats, and edema. This disease can be treated by taking B1 supplements.
  • Insufficient amounts of vitamin B2 can cause ariboflavinosis; symptoms include cracks in the corners of the mouth, sensitivity to sunlight, and a swollen tongue, among others.
  • Deficiency of vitamin B3 could cause pellagra, which could lead to diarrhea, dementia, and dermatitis. Other symptoms to watch out for are hostility towards others, insomnia, mental confusion, skin lesions, loss of appetite, and weakness. However, high dosage of vitamin B3 (to combat the deficiency) could lead to flushing of the skin, stomach pain, headaches, and dizziness.
  • Vitamin B5 deficiency is rare, but if it occurs, it could result in paresthesia, which is itching, pricking, burning, or tingling of the skin. Nausea and diarrhea along with muscle cramping and fatigue are also noticed.
  • Deficiency of vitamin B6 could lead to various health conditions such as depression, hypertension, anemia, dermatitis, and increased levels of homocysteine.
  • Vitamin B7 deficiency affects children more than adults. Since biotin is responsible for hair growth, a deficiency would manifest as weak or dry hair. Other signs include scaly skin patches, dry skin, dandruff, etc.
  • B9 deficiency could manifest as loss of appetite (resulting in weight loss), irritability, weakness, palpitations, anemia, etc. Lack of Vitamin B9 in pregnant women could result in birth defects in the baby.
  • Regarded as the most important of the B vitamins, a deficiency of B12 could lead to considerable fatigue, weakened memory, and poor concentration. Other signs include depression, disturbed sleep, irritability, loss of appetite, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, and anemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency usually affects the elderly.

Benefits of Vitamin B Complex

There are various benefits that one gets from taking Vitamin B complex. Some of the benefits are listed below.

Increased energy as the B1 helps convert the carbohydrates from your food into glucose. Vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B7 are necessary for optimum energy levels. Lack of these vitamins will cause you to feel lethargic and exhausted.

  • Vitamin B complex aids with digestion as vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6 all play a vital role in digestion.
  • Vitamin B complex helps you maintain healthy nervous and neural systems. Vitamins required for this are B1, B6 and B12.
  • Vitamin B9 is excellent for pregnant women as it facilitates in the development of a healthy fetus and baby. This vitamin also guards you against stress and depression.
  • For those who are looking to improve the condition of their nails, hair, and skin, vitamin B complex helps prevent conditions like splitting nails, falling hair and dermatitis.
  • Vitamin B3 is known to help lower levels of bad cholesterol and enhance levels of good cholesterol.
  • Vitamin B complex is also good for a stiff neck as it helps alleviate pain in stiff and painful joints.

Make sure you consult your doctor before starting to take B complex vitamins as they will prescribe you the correct dosage according to your requirements. Overdose or prolonged usage could result in side effects, as listed below.

Side Effects

  • High blood sugar levels
  • Gout
  • Skin problems
  • Liver and heart complications
  • Problems with sight
  • Vomiting and nausea (can be overcoming by taking the supplement just before you eat your meal)
  • Diarrhea
  • Deterioration of stomach ulcers
  • Contradiction with drugs used for chemotherapy
  • Urine discoloration (turning to bright yellow or dark yellow)
  • Stomach pain and bloating
  • Flatulence of excessive gas
  • Heightened levels of anxiety, especially if you are suffering from heart problems or hyperthyroidism
  • Irregular heartbeat, which could lead to a stroke or a heart attack
  • High blood pressure