Discover What Makes B-Complex Vitamins so Useful & Necessary

By Ava Brown, June 4, 2020

We are all familiar with B vitamins but how much do we actually know about these powerful supplements? B vitamins play an essential role in your body. People who follow a well-balanced diet usually get the recommended amounts of them through food. However, in some cases, certain factors such as age, genetics, dietary choices, alcohol and medication use, as well as some medical conditions can increase your body’s need for vitamin B. This is where vitamin B supplements come into play.

What are B-complex vitamins?

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Supplements that contain all eight vitamins from the B group are referred to as B-complex vitamins. This means that all eight B vitamins are packed into one pill. They are water-soluble, which means your body doesn’t store them for long and that’s why you need to take them on a daily basis. Taking vitamin B supplements is vital for maintaining good health and well-being. B-complex supplements usually contain the following:

  • B1 is known as thiamine and it plays an important role in the metabolism by converting nutrients into energy;
  • B2 or riboflavin helps convert food into energy and acts as an antioxidant;
  • B3 is known as niacin and plays an essential role in cellular signalling, DNA and metabolism production and repair;
  • B5 or pantothenic acid helps your body obtain energy from food but it also plays a role in cholesterol and hormone production;
  • B6 is known as pyridoxine and it affects red blood cell production, amino acid metabolism and the creation of neurotransmitters;
  • B7 or biotin is essential for fat metabolism and carbohydrate and also regulates gene expression;
  • B9 vitamin is known as folate which is needed for cell growth, proper cell division and the formation of white and red blood cells.
  • B12 is known as cobalamin and it is the most popular of all B vitamins – it’s vital for DNA production, neurological function and red blood cell development.

Why take vitamin B supplements?

B vitamins help prevent infections and help promote or support cell health, growth of red blood cells, energy levels, good eyesight, healthy brain function, good digestion. They also promote healthy appetite, proper nerve function, hormones and cholesterol production, cardiovascular health, muscle tone and much more.

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These vitamins are especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women. They aid in the baby’s brain development while also reducing the risk of birth defects. They can also help new mums to boost their energy levels, lower the risk of developing preeclampsia and ease nausea. They can also help increase strength and build muscle. In men, they can increase testosterone levels which naturally decrease with age.

Can you overdose on vitamin B supplements?

You are very unlikely to get too many vitamins B from your diet because they are water-soluble and cannot be stored in your body. Instead, they are excreted in your urine daily. This is also the case when taking vitamin B tablets. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot overdose. Overdose is possible especially if you are taking supplements without being diagnosed with deficiency by your doctor. Symptoms from B complex overdose include skin conditions, excessive thirst, blurry vision, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, increased urination, diarrhea and skin flushing. If you think that you are experiencing overdose symptoms make sure you seek immediate medical help.

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Check with your doctor before you start taking supplements because taking too much B-complex for a longer period of time may lead to nerve damage. This applies for any other supplement you want to include in your routine. You can discuss your desired health goal and why you need to take supplements. Your doctor will help you determine whether this is a good treatment option for you and advise you about further steps. Some supplements can interact with certain medications and conditions which is another reason why talking to your doctor and keeping them informed is important.