How Many Types of Vitamin B are There? Details on Each One

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If you’ve ever wondered how many types of vitamin B are there – you’ve come to the right spot.

There are 8 types of vitamin B in total. They are:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Each with its own set of effects and benefits on the body. 

B-complex vitamins are essential for our overall health and well-being, so knowing a thing or two about each of them is key to figuring out an optimal dietary supplement intake.

Or is it? Let’s find out.

What are the 8 Types of Vitamin B?

There are eight different types of B vitamins, also known as the B-complex vitamins.

Let’s learn a thing or two about each.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Thiamin, more commonly known as vitamin B1, is essential for energy production and the proper function of metabolism.

It helps turn food into energy by aiding in the digestion of carbohydrates. It also helps to keep the nervous and cardiovascular systems healthy, and it plays a significant role in muscle activity.

It is an essential component in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the body’s main energy source. [1] However, how exactly this process works on a cellular level is beyond the scope of today’s medicine.

It is present in foods like pork, beans, or fish.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

B2 or Riboflavin is involved in energy production, too. It helps to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy. We’ll soon learn that the entire B-complex does so.

It plays an important role in various processes within the body, including cell growth, hormone production, the metabolism of steroids and medications, maintaining a healthy liver, etc.

Riboflavin also plays an important role in the reduction of oxidative stress and nerve inflammation, which is thought to lead to less frequent and severe migraines.

It is also produced within our bodies (in the gut), but the amount produced is insufficient to meet our daily needs.

Thankfully, eggs, dairy products, lean and organ meats, and almonds are great sources of vitamin B2.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3, or Niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in energy production and the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol.

Niacin is also essential for proper cell function and DNA production and repair. It also plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and the digestive system, as well as the nervous and endocrine systems.

Despite its effects on cholesterol levels (increasing HDL, lowering LDL), B3 is rarely an effective treatment for high cholesterol.

As a supplement, it’s found in two forms: nicotinic acid and niacinamide, but you can usually get enough of it from Niacin-rich foods like red meat, turkey, fish, and brown rice.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is involved in numerous metabolic processes within the body. Just like the rest, it helps to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy.

It is also essential for the production of hormones like testosterone, which increases libido and muscle growth. However, it’s highly unlikely that supplementing with B5 will lead to a significant boost in testosterone levels. It’s more along the lines that the deficiency of it can lead to problems with testosterone production.

Just like all the others, it’s found in meat, dairy, and nuts, but also in vegetables like broccoli.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

B6 is vital for brain development and the formation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, or GABA.

As such, it is associated with mood regulation and can help with symptoms associated with depression.

Moreover, B6 is known for its effects on the immune system, making it one of the most essential vitamins for disease prevention.

Liver, tuna, dairy, or salmon, are all fantastic sources of vitamin B6, but you can also find it in dark leafy greens or bananas.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Biotin, B7, or sometimes even vitamin H, is another important B vitamin involved in energy production in our body although it is mostly known for its effects on hair, nail, and skin health, which is why you’ll often find it as one of the components in cosmetic products. Unfortunately, conclusive evidence supporting this is very scarce.

Thankfully, biotin is not just a beauty aid. It plays an essential role in the metabolism of glucose and amino acids and is responsible for the production of fatty acids.

While not abundant in foods, biotin can be found in egg yolks, nuts, beef liver, salmon, and milk.

Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)

Folic acid, Folate, or vitamin B9, is vital for the formation of red blood cells and overall cell growth and function.

It is especially important during pregnancy as it helps prevent birth defects in the baby.

On top of that, folate is involved in the detoxification process and helps to maintain healthy levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, citrus fruits, or beef liver are rich sources of this vitamin.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

B12, or Cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that plays a role in cell metabolism, red blood cell formation, and nerve function. It’s also involved in the synthesis of DNA.

It’s also known for its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, as deficiencies in this vitamin have been linked to an increased risk of myocardial infarction and other heart diseases. [2]

It can be found in many animal-based products like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy.

Vegetarians and vegans need to be especially aware of their B12 intake as they might not get enough from their dietary sources, so supplementing is highly recommended.

Which Type of Vitamin B is Best for Bodybuilders and Athletes?

All types of vitamin B are important for healthy body function and could benefit both athletes and bodybuilders.

Vitamin B3 is often considered the best option for athletes due to its effect on muscle cell growth, but every other type of B vitamin plays a similar and equally significant role in energy production and metabolism.

Therefore, a balanced diet rich in all types of B vitamins is the best way to ensure athletes and bodybuilders have a sufficient intake of this essential nutrient.

However, it’s important to note that, unlike many other fitness supplements, B vitamins won’t have a profound or immediate effect on muscle growth, recovery, or performance.

What is a Vitamin B Complex Supplement?

A Vitamin B complex supplement is a dietary supplement that contains a combination of all eight B vitamins.

B-complex supplements are often used to improve overall well-being and boost health.

They are especially beneficial for people with increased needs due to medical conditions or lifestyle choices. For example, individuals with anemia, poor diets, or vegans may benefit from taking B-complex supplements.

What are the Benefits of Taking a Vitamin B Complex Supplement?

Taking vitamin B complex supplements can have an array of benefits for our bodies.

Here are some:

  • Improved energy production

As we’ve learned, B vitamins are essential for ATP production and regular energy metabolism, so taking a B-complex supplement should help improve our energy levels and reduce fatigue. This could be especially beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders lacking energy and struggling to perform at optimal levels in the gym.

  • Promoting nerve health and cognitive function

Mental clarity, nerve health, and overall brain function is just as important (if not more) as physical performance. Not only will B complex vitamins regulate mood and improve cognitive function, which could lead to better performance in the gym, but some of them have been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. [3]

  • Immune system support and disease prevention

Supporting the immune system with B vitamins can help protect our bodies from illnesses and ensure they are healthy and strong enough to cope with the physical demands of training.

And as we’ve said earlier, vitamin B deficiency can lead to a myriad of health issues, so taking a B complex supplement can help prevent deficiency-related diseases.

  • Other notable benefits include healthier skin, hair, and nails and improved digestive health.

Overall, Vitamin B complex supplements are an excellent way to stay healthy and ensure our bodies have the nutrients they need for optimal performance in both everyday life and the gym.

What is the Best Dosage for a Vitamin B Complex Supplement?

Because an excess of B vitamins can be just as hazardous to your health as a deficiency, it’s important not to exceed the daily recommended dosage for each type.

With that in mind, here’s how much you’ll need on a daily basis for each of the eight B vitamins, according to NIH:

Men:

B11.2 mg
B21.3 mg
B316 mg NE
B55 mg
B61.3 mg
B730 mcg
B9400 mcg DFE
B122.4 mcg

Women:

B11.1 mg
B21.1 mg
B314 mg NE
B55 mg
B61.3 mg
B730 mcg
B9400 mcg DFE
B122.4 mcg

It’s important to note that except for B12, no other B vitamin remains in your body for more than a day. Once your body takes as much as it needs, the rest will be excreted in the urine.

So, for maximum benefit, taking B vitamins every day is recommended.

Do Vitamin B Complex Supplements Have Any Side Effects?

While generally considered safe for most people, Vitamin B complex supplements can cause some side effects.

The most common ones are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Skin flushes
  • Blood sugar spikes
  • Cramps
  • Itching

In fairness, these side effects usually occur when taking too much of a particular B vitamin. So, even though you don’t store B vitamins for very long, it’s important to stick to the daily recommended dosage to avoid potential problems.

What’s the Best Type of Vitamin B Complex Supplement to Take?

Vitamin B complex supplements usually come in the form of capsules, which are arguably the best option. You could also find them in tablet or liquid form. Lately, we’ve seen a surge in vitamin B gummies, which are easy to consume and taste good.

That said, the type of vitamin B complex supplement you take is up to your personal preference since the form has little to no bearing on the effectiveness of the supplement.

Instead, you should focus on things like:

  • Vitamin formulation
  • Lack of additives and fillers
  • Third-party testing
  • Price

Best Vitamin B Complex Supplements

Here are some of the best vitamin B complex supplements on the market:

Nordic Naturals Vitamin B Complex

Nordic Naturals Vitamin B Complex

One of the best choices on the market, Nordic Naturals’ B complex is an excellent formula that utilizes easily absorbable forms of B vitamins, such as methylcobalamin.

On top of that, it is fairly reasonably priced for a 45-pack, and since it’s third-party tested, you don’t really have to worry about its quality or purity.

Integrative Therapeutics – Active B-Complex

Integrative Therapeutics Active B Complex

Here we have another excellent B complex that is formulated for maximum absorption, only this time, you get 50 capsules per bottle at the noticeably lower price point.

Another thing to note about this one is that aside from all eight vitamins, this one also contains choline and inositol at 250 mg, so that’s a plus, too.

Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Plus

Pure Encapsulations Vitamin B Complex

Finally, we have the most affordable B complex of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. On the contrary.

This one also has a great formula with easily absorbable forms of vitamin B and is third-party tested according to the highest standards.

Also, if you like to buy your supplements in bulk, this one’s great because it comes in 60 and 120-capsule bottles.

Do Multivitamins Contain All 8 Types of Vitamin B?

Some multivitamins contain all eight types of vitamin B, but generally speaking, most multivitamins don’t. More often than not, you’ll get 4-6.

It’s best to check the label of any multivitamin product you plan on taking to make sure it contains the full range of B vitamins or any other vitamins you may want or need.

It’s also important to note that the forms of vitamin B included in multivitamins can be different from those included in B complex supplements in order to save cost, so that may be another thing you want to keep an eye out for.

That said, taking a multivitamin rather than a standalone B complex supplement is generally better since it contains other essential vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from B vitamins alone. With that in mind…

Best Multivitamins with Vitamin B Complex

The best multivitamins you can take are:

Huge Multivitamin

Huge Supplements Multivitamin

Huge Nutrition’s multivitamin is one of the most complete multivitamins on the market, with 32 different ingredients, including all eight types of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

A full breakdown of this supplement would be too long, but aside from a few pixie-dusted and potentially unnecessary ingredients, this one’s a solid choice at a reasonable price.

It’s a 120-capsule 30-serving bottle, but you could use less if you wanted to.

Legion Triumph Women’s Multivitamin

Aimed at women, Legion Triumph’s Women’s multivitamin formula contains 22 essential vitamins (full vitamin B complex) and minerals alongside ten additional ingredients, including Chaste Berry extract, which is thought to alleviate some of the menstrual cycle side effects.

Once again, we have a 30-serving bottle, only this time, you’re supposed to take eight capsules a day, which could prove to be a nuisance for many.

Other than that, it is a really good, third-party-tested formula.

Foods that are High in Vitamin B

Vitamin B is primarily found in foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

Other foods that are high in vitamin B complex include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and some vegetables.

While a healthy diet could be sufficient to get your recommended daily dose of B vitamins, it can prove to be quite tricky as there’s no way to know for sure just how much of each vitamin you’re ingesting.

For that reason, supplementation is often recommended to ensure optimal levels of all vitamins in your body.

Is Vitamin B an Essential Supplement?

Vitamin B is not an essential supplement.

A healthy, well-balanced diet, in addition to just about any multivitamin, should provide you with enough of all eight B vitamins, so there’s rarely a need to take specific vitamin B supplements.

That said, it really can’t hurt.

It is more than beneficial to maintain optimal levels of all B vitamins since they are involved in a wide range of bodily functions and metabolic processes, so if you want to supplement with them – you’re more than welcome to.

Conclusion

That about sums up everything you need or want to know about B vitamins and supplements containing them.

While B vitamins are certainly an incredibly vital part of the human body and processes within it, you don’t necessarily need to take specific B vitamin supplements unless you’re suffering from a deficiency.

That said – if you want to – they certainly can’t hurt you.

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Aesthetyk

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