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Vitamin B complex: functions, foods, deficiency and supplements

16 May 2024 • 0 min read

Find out all about vitamin B, including what it does, how much you need, where to find it, and who might need to supplement their diet.

Overview of vitamin B

What is vitamin B complex and what does it do?

Vitamin B is the name for a group of eight B vitamins that are essential for the healthy functioning of the body, while vitamin B complex is a supplement containing all the B vitamins you need each day.1

Vitamin B complex
 usually contains these nutrients:2
  • thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • niacin (vitamin B3)
  • pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • biotin (vitamin B7)
  • folic acid (vitamin B9) – this is the synthetic version of folate
  • cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
Each B vitamin has a different function and is needed in different amounts. In general, B vitamins help to release energy from food while keeping your blood, skin and nervous system healthy.3 The B vitamins are water soluble, which means that – with the exception of vitamin B12 – they can’t be stored in the body, so you need to replace them every day.4 Most people get all the B vits they need from their diet, with good sources including seeds, fish, eggs, meat, poultry, and leafy greens.5 If you’re vegan, you could be at risk of B12 deficiency because this nutrient is only found in animal sources such as meat, fish and dairy. Symptoms include muscle weakness and extreme tiredness.6