Vitamin B-Complex

Vitamin B-Complex: Overview

The B-vitamins, like vitamin C, are water-soluble and are not stored in the body.  This means that they are needed on a daily basis in order for the body to maintain healthy levels.

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B-vitamins are part of a family that includes thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9) and cobalamin (B12).  They are important for many reasons, from helping your cells grow properly to converting food to energy.

Why it is Recommended

The B-vitamins are often called the "stress" vitamins.  When our bodies are forced to withstand the demands of physical or emotional stress, the B-vitamins and other key nutrients are the first to be depleted.  The body not only needs specific nutrients to combat stress, but it must also replace the nutrients that stress directly uses up.

B-complex has been shown to be beneficial in the following conditions:


Toxicity with the B-vitamins is somewhat rare even at relatively high dosages, except for niacin and pyridoxine.  The dosages typically found in high potency B-complex multiples are safe.

Vitamin B-Complex can help with the following:


Alcohol-related Problems

Regular use of a quality high potency multiple vitamin may be important in alcoholism.  Alcoholics are classically deficient in most of the B vitamins.  These deficiencies result from a variety of mechanisms: low dietary intake, deactivation of the active form, impaired conversion to the active form by ethanol or acetaldehyde, impaired absorption, and decreased storage capacity.  A thiamine deficiency is both the most common and the most serious of the B-vitamin deficiencies, since a deficiency causes beriberi and the Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.  A functional pyridoxine deficiency is also common in alcoholics, due not so much to inadequate intake as impaired conversion to its active form, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, and enhanced degradation.


Parkinson's Disease

Supplementation with vitamin B-complex may be necessary, especially for patients who take l-dopa medications.


Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

105 male and female subjects with coronary artery disease who received folic acid (1mg/day), vitamin B12 (400mcg/day) and vitamin B6 (10mg/day) experienced a significant reduction in reblockage after angioplasty over those who did not take the vitamins.  Homocysteine levels were reduced during the trial. [N Engl J Med November 29, 2001;345: pp.1593-1601]

Poor/Slow Wound Healing

B-vitamins are needed for cell proliferation and for the replacement and maturation of red blood cells lost through bleeding.  One response to a wound is a higher rate of metabolism.  This leads to higher energy-level requirements in order to heal a wound, and to increased requirements for thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin.



Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency

Several B-vitamins are needed to support hydrochloric acid production.


Pregnancy-Related Issues

Many naturopathic and other doctors suggest using vitamin B complex (50mg per day) with additional vitamin B6 and folic acid (800 to 1000mcg per day) for women planning to become pregnant and for those who are pregnant.  These preventive measures are supported by studies that suggest a connection between recurring miscarriages and problems metabolizing methionine and homocysteine in the body.  Folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and betaine all play a role in the proper use of these compounds.




A B-complex can enhance immune function, especially during times of stress.



A combination of vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12 improves mood.  These nutrients play an indirect but critical role in the formation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, and deficiencies – which are linked to high levels of homocysteine – are linked with mood disorders.  Although B-complex vitamins are not a stand-alone treatment for depression, they're an important adjunct.


Several of the B-vitamins are indicated in anxiety treatment.  When taking high doses of a particular B-vitamin, it is best to use a B-complex as well.

Poor Memory

B-vitamins can be supplemented in a B-complex vitamin (100mg daily) to support the nervous system and prevent imbalances from occurring.


There is evidence that high doses of B-complex vitamins in humans can reduce the immune-suppressing effects of stress. [Ann NY Acad Sci 1990;585: pp.513-5]


Susceptibility To Hangovers

The B-vitamins help to calm and strengthen the nervous system, reduce the toxic effects of alcohol and stop cravings for more.

Syndrome X / Metabolic Syndrome

Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12) helps the body to maintain good energy levels and healthy cells.

Nervous System


All vitamins of the B group have proven beneficial in the prevention and treatment of neuritis.  The disorder has been helped when vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and pantothenic acid have been given together.


Organ Health


B-complex (50 to 100mg per day), especially Folic Acid (800 to 1000mcg per day) and B12 (1000mcg per day) are needed for good liver function.


Body Odor

A high-potency B-vitamin (50mg or higher), when combined with magnesium, will help reduce certain secretions that can be a cause of odor.  Make sure you are getting 100mg of PABA and 100mg of B6.


The administration of large doses of B-vitamins has been shown to be effective, riboflavin being the most important.  While B-vitamins are important, some rosacea patients may be aggravated by large dosages of these nutrients.


B complex 50mg tid can help normalize cell multiplication.

Tumors, Benign

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Vitamin B-Complex can help prevent the following:


Alzheimer's Disease

Optimize your B-complex status, especially folic acid and B12.  In one study, 76 Alzheimer's patients had lower blood levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 than 108 age-matched control subjects.  In addition, researchers found that Alzheimer's patients had higher blood levels of homocysteine, which is already implicated in atherosclerosis.  Folic acid and B12 supplementation is known to reduce homocysteine levels.

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