Vitamin B information, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains everything you need to know about vitamin B.

What is vitamin B and what does it do?

Vitamin B (or vitamin-B complex) is actually eight, water soluble vitamins. The term vitamin B, or vitamin B complex, is simply the term to describe the entire group. These eight vitamins are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cyanocobalamin (B12), folic acid and biotin. Each has their own traits and characteristics.

The B vitamins are responsible for a plethora of crucial tasks in your body. These tasks can include the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (creating energy), the breakdown of fats and proteins (aiding in the regular operations of the central nervous system), muscle toning in the stomach and intestinal tract, as well assistance in the creation and bodily functions of the skin, hair, eyes, and mouth. (1)

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What foods contain vitamin B?

Most of Vitamin B is found in Brewer’s yeast, whole grains, liver, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and nuts. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, such as meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood. Studies have shown that people in their older years (50 an older) lose the ability to absorb adequate amounts of vitamin B12 from meat or dairy products. This is where vitamin B supplements can be required.

B Vitamin Food Source
Thiamine (B1) cereal, bread, meat, rice, yeast, corn, nuts
Riboflavin (B2) grains, milk, meat, eggs, cheese, peas
Niacin (B3) meat, milk, eggs, fish, legumes, potatoes
Pyridoxine (B6) organ meats, brown rice, fish, butter, soybeans
Folic acid (B9) yeast, liver, green vegetables, whole grain cereal
Pantothenic acid meats, legumes, whole-grain cereals
Biotin beef liver, egg yolk, brewer's yeast, mushrooms
B12 liver, meat, eggs, poultry, milk

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What is the suggested intake of vitamin B?

In the United States, the RDA or recommended daily allowance for Vitamin B can be seen in the chart below. I represents infant, C child, and A for adults. (2)

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults:

B Vitamin RDA
Thiamine (B1) 1.5mg
Riboflavin (B2) 1.7mg
Niacin (B3) 15-20mg
Pyridoxine (B6) 2-2.5mg
Folic acid (B9) 400mcg
Pantothenic acid 10mg
Biotin 300mcg
B12 4-6mcg

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What are the signs of vitamin B deficiency?

Because of vitamin B’s important role in our bodies, symptoms of deficiency are as severe as they are apparent when they appear. Each vitamin grouped into the vitamin B complex performs a different role in our bodies, and such, has different signs of deficiency.

Vitamin B1, thiamine – Deficiency causes beriberi. This disease is one of the nervous system and causes weight loss, emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perceptions, weakness in the limbs, irregular heartbeat, and swelling of body tissues (edema). In severe cases, heart failure and death can occur. Chronic thiamine deficiency can also produce amnesia.

Vitamin B2, riboflavin – Deficiency causes ariboflavinosis. These symptoms can include cracks in the lips, high aggrevation and sensitivity to sunlight, inflammation of the tongue, hyperemia, and swelling of the pharyngeal (throat).

Vitamin B3, niacin – Deficiency can cause pellagra. Pellagra leads to aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, confusion mentally, and diarrhea. Just like thiamine, in several cases of deficiency it can lead to dementia and death. (4)

Vitamin B5, pantothenic – Deficiency can result in acne and paresthesia (skin tingling).

Vitamin B6, pyridoxine – Deficiency can lead to anemia, depression, high blood pressure, dermatitis, water retention, and high levels of homocysteine.

Vitamin B7, biotin – No typical symptoms of deficiency has been found in adults. In infants however, a biotin deficiency can lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders.

Vitamin B9, folic acid – Deficiency can result in macrocytic anemia, as well as higher levels of homocysteine. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can cause birth defects, which is why it is recommended for pregnant women to supplement the vitamin. Studies have also shown that folic acid may slow the negative effects of age on the brain. (3)

Vitamin B12, cobalamin – B12 is one of the most prolific B vitamins. A deficiency causes macrocytic anemia, elevated homocysteine, memory loss, as well as other cognitive negative effects. Definiency is most likely to occur among the elderly population, as absorption declines with age. In very extreme cases of deficiency, paralysis can take effect.

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Who can benefit from using vitamin B supplements?

Everybody can benefit from taking vitamin B. All the vitamins in the vitamin B-complex group work together to deliver many health benefits to the body. These health benefits include increasing the rate of metabolism, maintaining a healthy skin and muscle tone, enhancing immune and nervous system function, and promoting cell growth and division.

In addition to these health benefits, they also help fight the causes of stress, depression, and cardiovascular disease

Benefits to bodybuilders/athletes:

  • Helps maintain high energy levels
  • Aids in digestion of carbohydrates an fats

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Does vitamin B have any side effects?

When used in recommended daily doses (table above), vitamin B is not known to have any adverse common side effects. (2)

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1. Herbert V. Vitamin B12 in Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 17th ed. Washington, D.C.: International Life Sciences Institute Press, 1996.2. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline. National Academy Press. Washington, DC, 1998.3. Melamed E et al. Reversible central nervous system dyafunction in folats deficiency. J Neurol Sci 25:93-98, 19754. Stabler Spot al. The use of homocysteine and other metabolites in the specific diagnosis of vitamin 5-12 deficiency. J Nutr 126(4 Suppl):1266S-71272S, 1996