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Learn all about Vitamin B Complex

Also indexed as: B-Complex Vitamin
Vitamin B Complex
Top Selling Vitamin B Complex Supplement

eVitamins Vitamin B Complex
$6.95 for 100 Capsules

What is Vitamin B Complex?

The vitamin B-complex refers to all of the known essential water-soluble vitamins except for vitamin C. These include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins (vitamin B12).

"Vitamin B" was once thought to be a single nutrient that existed in extracts of rice, liver, or yeast. Researchers later discovered these extracts contained several vitamins, which were given distinguishing numbers. Unfortunately, this has led to an erroneous belief among non-scientists that these vitamins have a special relationship to each other. Further adding to confusion has been the "unofficial" designation of other substances as members of the B-complex, such as choline, inositol, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), even though they are not essential vitamins.


Each member of the B-complex has a unique structure and performs unique functions in the human body. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and biotin participate in different aspects of energy production, vitamin B6 is essential for amino acid metabolism, and vitamin B12 and folic acid facilitate steps required for cell division. Each of these vitamins has many additional functions. However no functions require all B-complex vitamins simultaneously.

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

Drug Interactions

Vitamin B-complex includes several different components, each of which has the potential to interact with drugs. It is recommended that you discuss the use of vitamin B-complex and your current medication(s) with your doctor or pharmacist.

How much should you take?

Human requirements for members of the B-complex vary considerably from 3 mcg per day for vitamin B12 to 18 mg per day for vitamin B3 in adult males, for example. Therefore, taking equal amounts of each one as provided in many B-complex supplements makes little sense. Furthermore, there is little evidence supporting the use of megadoses of B-complex vitamins to combat everyday stress, boost energy, or control food cravings, unless a person has a deficiency of one or more of them. Again, here is no evidence indicating people should take all B vitamins to avoid an imbalance when one or more individual B vitamin is taken for a specific health condition.

Most multi vitamin products contain the B-complex along with the rest of the essential vitamins and minerals. Since they are more complete than B-complex vitamins alone, multiple vitamin-mineral supplements are recommended to improve overall micronutrient intake and prevent deficiencies.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary Star-Rating system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

Vitamin B Complex has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Wound Healing
Follow label directions3 stars[3 stars] Thiamine (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and other B vitamins have all been shown to play a role in wound healing. For this reason, some healthcare practitioners recommend a high-potency B vitamin supplement to promote wound healing.
Canker Sores
300 mg B1 daily, 20 mg B2 daily, 150 mg B6 daily2 stars[2 stars] People with recurrent canker sores may have a B vitamin deficiency. Supplementing with vitamins B1, B2, and B6 has been reported to provide relief.
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] The relationship between B vitamins and rosacea is unclear, one study found it caused rocacea-like symptoms, other preliminary reports have found benefits.
Alcohol Withdrawal
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Research suggests it is possible that successful treatment of B-complex vitamin deficiencies may actually reduce alcohol cravings, because animals crave alcohol when fed a B-complex-deficient diet.
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]

Double-blind research suggests that supplementing with vitamin B-complex multivitamin may reduce feelings of anxiety, perceived stress, and tiredness.

Athletic Performance
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] B-complex vitamins are needed to produce energy from carbohydrates. Exercisers may have slightly increased requirements for some of the B vitamins, including vitamins B2, B6, and B5, athletic performance can suffer if these slightly increased needs are not met.
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] B vitamins have been used for ADHD. High amounts of B vitamins have shown mixed results in relieving ADHD symptoms.
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] In one study, treatment with a hydrochloric acid supplement and a vitamin B-complex supplement helped to treat people with hives.
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity, and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] For people who have inadequate absorption of vitamin B12 due to low stomach acid, supplementing with vitamin B complex can help correct a deficiency.
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] In one trial postmenopausal women who combined hormone replacement therapy with B vitamins and other nutrients and dietary changes increased their bone density by a remarkable 11%.
Premenstrual Syndrome
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] Research has linked B vitamin deficiencies to PMS, so some women may benefit from supplementing with B-complex vitamins for symptom relief.
Tardive Dyskinesia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] In some studies, taking vitamin B-complex along with other nutrients appeared to prevent the development of tardive dyskinesia.
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star] PABA, a compound commonly found in B-complex vitamins, has been shown to repigment skin affected by vitiligo.
This page was last checked for content and accuracy by Dr. Matt Marturano on January 11, 2019. Dr. Marturano is a licensed naturopathic physician and received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. In addition, Dr. Marturano currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is the Director of Recruitment - Integrative Medicine for Orchid Holistic Search.
1. Alvarez OM, Gilbreath RL. Effect of dietary thiamine on intermolecular collagen cross-linking during wound repair: a mechanical and biochemical assessment.J Trauma 1982;22:204.
2. Aprahamian M, Dentinger A, Stock-Damge C, et al. Effects of supplemental pantothenic acid on wound healing: experimental study in rabbit. Am J Clin Nutr 1985;41:578 89.
3. Bosse MD, Axelrod AE. Wound healing in rats with biotin, pyridoxin, or riboflavin deficiencies. ProcSoc Exp Biol Med 1948;67:418 21.
4. Porter SR, Scully C, Flint S. Hematologic status in recurrent aphthous stomatitis compared to other oral disease. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1988;66:41 4.
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11. Wray D, Ferguson MM, Mason DK, et al. Recurrent aphthae: treatment with vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron. Br Med J 1975;2(5969):490 3.
12. Nolan A, McIntosh WB, Allam BF, Lamey PJ. Recurrent aphthous ulceration: vitamin B1, B2 and B6 status and response to replacement therapy. J Oral Pathol Med 1991;20:389 91.
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15. Stillians AW. Pyridoxine in treatment of acne vulgaris. J Invest Dermatol 1946;7:150 1.
16. Johnson L, Eckardt R. Rosacea keratitis and conditions with vascularization of the cornea treated with riboflavin. Arch Ophthamol 1940;23:899 907.
17. Sherertz EF. Acneiform eruption due to megadose vitamins B6 and B12. Cutis 1991;48:119 20.
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19. Schuckit MA. Alcohol and Alcoholism. In: Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, et al, eds, Harrison s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998, 2503 8.
20. Norton VP. Interrelationships of nutrition and voluntary alcohol consumption in experimental animals. Br J Addiction 1977;72:205 12.
21. Carroll D, Ring C, Suter M, Willemsen G. The effects of an oral multivitamin combination with calcium, magnesium, and zinc on psychological well-being in healthy young male volunteers: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology 2000;150:220-5.
22. Keith R, Alt L. Riboflavin status of female athletes consuming normal diets. Nutr Res 1991;11:727 34.
23. Van der Beek EJ, Van Dokkum W, Wedel M, et al. Thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6: impact of restricted intake on physical performance in man. J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13:629 40.
24. Van der Beek EJ. Vitamin supplementation and physical exercise performance. J Sports Sci 1991;9:77 90 [review].
25. Winters LR, Yoon JS, Kalkwarf HJ, et al. Riboflavin requirements and exercise adaptation in older women. Am J Clin Nutr 1992;56:526 32.
26. Tremblay A, Boiland F, Breton M, et al. The effects of riboflavin supplementation on the nutritional status and performance of elite swimmers. Nutr Res 1984;4:201 8.
27. Murray R, Bartoli WP, Eddy DE, et al. Physiological and performance responses to nicotinic-acid ingestion during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1995;27:1057 62.
28. Manore MM. Vitamin B6 and exercise. Int J Sport Nutr 1994;4:89 103.
29. Murray R, Bartoli WP, Eddy DE, et al. Physiological and performance responses to nicotinic-acid ingestion during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1995;27:1057 62.
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31. Coleman M, Steinberg G, Tippett J, et al. A preliminary study of the effect of pyridoxine administration in a subgroup of hyperkinetic children: a double-blind crossover comparison with methylphenidate. Biol Psychiatry 1979;14:741 51.
32. Brenner A. The effects of megadoses of selected B complex vitamins on children with hyperkinesis: controlled studies with long term followup. J Learning Dis 1982;15:258 64.
33. Haslam RHA. Is there a role for megavitamin therapy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Adv Neurol 1992;58:303 10.
34. Rawls WB, Ancona VC. Chronic urticaria associated with hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria. Rev Gastroenterol 1951;18:267 71.
35. Allison JR. The relation of hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex deficiency in certain skin diseases. South Med J 1945;38:235 41.
36. Gumurdulu Y, Serin E, Ozer B, et al. The impact of B12 treatment on gastric emptying time in patients with Helicobacter pylori infection. *J Clin Gastroenterol* 2003;37:230 3.
37. Abraham GE, Grewal H. A total dietary program emphasizing magnesium instead of calcium. J Reprod Med 1990;35:503 7.
38. Biskind MS. Nutritional deficiency in the etiology of menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, cystic mastitis and premenstrual tension: treatment with vitamin B-complex. J Clin Endocrinol Metabol 1943;3:227 34.
39. Biskind MS, Biskind GR, Biskind LH. Nutritional deficiency in the etiology of menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, cystic mastitis and premenstrual tension. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1944;78:49 57.
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42. Toll N. To the editor. J Orthomolec Psychiatry 1982;11:42.
43. Sieve BF. Further investigations in the treatment of vitiligo. Virginia Med Monthly 1945;Jan:6 17.

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