What are B Complex Vitamins

Vitamins are vital for everyday functioning of the body. Vitamin intake is ensured when we eat a well-balanced and healthy diet that provides our body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. B vitamins are one of the most essential groups of vitamins as they work in varied and different ways to ensure the proper functioning to the endocrine and nervous systems of the body. B vitamins are group of water soluble that are not stored in the body, and thus, they need to be replaced every day. The group consists of eight vitamins, and each of the eight B vitamins is unique in its contribution to the body. The eight different B vitamins put together are collectively termed B complex.

The eight B vitamins are thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folic acid (vitamin B9), and cobalamin (vitamin B12).

What is the Role of Vitamin B Complex?

The primary role of the B complex vitamins is to enhance metabolism and to acquire energy from the food we eat and supply it to the body. So what does B complex do? It boosts normal appetite, improves vision, helps in the working of the nervous system, improves eyesight, keeps the skin healthy, aids in digestion, promotes protein metabolism, helps use body fats, advances red blood cell production, prevents birth defects of the spine and brain, and lowers homocystein level (thus preventing coronary heart disease). In addition, vitamin B complex helps in building of genetic material, aids in the formation of hormones, aids in the release of energy from carbohydrates, and helps hair growth. Vitamin B complex intake is also very essential for preventing beriberi pellagra and pernicious anemia that are caused due to B complex deficiency.

What is B complex Used for?

  • As mentioned above, vitamin B complex has many uses in the body. Here’s a list of what B complex is good for.
  • Vitamins B1 and B5 play essential role in healing of wounds.
  • Vitamins B2 and B6 help in healing canker sores.
  • Vitamin B complex is also used to reduce alcohol cravings and alcohol withdrawal.
  • Vitamin B complex is useful in reducing anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
  • Athletes require additional amount of energy and vitamin B complex supplements for energy.
  • B complex can help in treating hives.
  • Vitamin B complex is found to be beneficial in treating ADHD, though there are mixed results.
  • B complex is effective in managing indigestion, low stomach acidity, and heartburn.
  • Vitamin B complex is used for treating vitiligo.
  • Vitamin B complex helps in fighting osteoporosis that can be a result of menopause.
  • Vitamin B complex helps women during pregnancy and the postnatal period. It also aids in countering premenstrual syndrome.
  • Vitamin B complex helps to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Vitamin B complex helps prevent hair loss, conjunctivitis, bleeding and swelling of the gums, joint stiffness.
  • B complex has been found to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, dementia, and other neurological conditions.

What are the Symptoms of a Deficiency?

The lack vitamin B complex can cause inflammation of the skin, lips and tongue; nervous disorders; dermatitis; and anemia. Other signs include depression, confusion, weakness, headaches, and restlessness. Consult your doctor if you feel you may have a deficiency, as these symptoms are generic. It is best to avoid supplementation without proper diagnosis.

What to Eat?

Since vitamins are not produced by the body itself to meet the needs, we need to eat vitamin-rich foods to meet the body’s requirements. Vitamin B complex can be obtained from various foods such as pork, liver, fish, oysters, shellfish, poultry, and meat; whole grains, enriched grain products, and cereals; legumes, peas, dark green vegetables; peanuts; citrus fruits; eggs and egg yolks; and milk.

In addition, often vitamins are lost while cooking and storing, and hence, it is best to eat fresh vegetables and salads and well as lightly cooked and steamed food to ensure that not all nutrition is lost. Staple foods such as rice, wheat and other grained products are processed, polished and refined so much that the vital nutrients and vitamins are lost. Thus, whole grain products and fortified and enriched grains are a good option.

What about B Complex Supplements?

B complex supplements are also available in tablet form. In certain cases, the need for vitamin B complex is increased, for instance, in the case of pregnant women and lactating women. Here, the doctor may prescribe additional supplements to meet this need. Additionally, vitamin B complex supplements may be prescribed to treat various illnesses where daily intake through diet is not enough. However, it is best to consult a doctor before making any drastic changes to one’s diet or consuming supplementation. While B vitamins are not stored in the body and all excess is flushed out, reducing the number of side effects, it is best not to overdose the body either.


  1. http://www.evitamins.com/encyclopedia/assets/nutritional-supplement/vitamin-b-complex/~default
  2. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09312.html/