The B Vitamins

Updated: Mar 11


The B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that are important in cell metabolism and the production of red blood cells. There are actually 8 different ones of these B vitamins but as they usually show up together in certain foods, they all share the same name of B. Each vitamin B is either a cofactor for an enzyme, which is a molecule that makes metabolic processes happen, or a precursor for a cofactor.


A nutritional supplement that contains all 8 of these different compounds is referred to as vitamin B complex and you can get B-50 which contains 50 mg or mcg of each B with the exception of folic acid, which is dosed at 0.4 mg or B 100 which contains 100 mg or mcg of each vitamin with the exception of folic acid which is dosed at the same 0.4 mg. You can cover your bases by taking one of these complexes and then supplement individual Bs if you need more of them. Andy suggested some really high doses for some B vitamins.


The B vitamins are:

B1 or thiamine

B2 or riboflavin

B3 or niacin

B5 or pantothenic acid

B6 or pyroxidine

B7 or biotin

B9 or folate

B12 or cyanocobalamin


There used to be a vitamin B4, B8, B10 and B11 but they no longer fit the official definition of what a vitamin is, so they got purged from the list.


I used the book, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, by Michael T Murray, N.