15% off £30 OR 20% off £35

Code:PICKME
 

15% off £30 OR 20% off £35

Code:PICKME

🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Short DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeSulphites FreeCrustaceans FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNApplied NutritionGrenadePhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPhDPulsinEat WaterNatures AidNew NordicSlimExpertDairy FreeSugar FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

Vitamin B complex: functions, foods, deficiency and supplements

Vitamin B helps the body use carbohydrates and sugar as energy, and plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function. Visit the website to find out more.
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

Functions of vitamin B

What do the B vitamins do in the body?

thiamin – helps turn carbohydrates and sugar into energy, plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function, and is essential for a healthy brain riboflavin – important for energy release, helps the body to absorb nutrients, including iron, and is crucial for healthy eyes, skin and nervous system8 niacin – helps release energy from food, keeps the nervous and digestive systems healthy, and is essential for normal growth and healthy skin9 pantothenic acid – helps the body turn protein and fat into energy, and is needed for healthy growth10 pyridoxine – helps break down protein from food, reduces tiredness and fatigue, and is essential for healthy red blood cells and nervous system11 biotin – helps the body break down nutrients from food and process glucose, maintain mucous membranes, and keeps skin and nails healthy12 folate/folic acid – essential during pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects (spina bifida) in babies, helps maintain healthy red blood cells, and contributes to reduction of fatigue13 vitamin B12  – vital for the nervous and immune systems, helps fight tiredness and fatigue, and needed for healthy DNA14

How much of each B vitamin do I need?

The amount of vitamin B you need depends on your age, sex and other factors, like whether you’re pregnant. Below are the reference nutrient intakes (RNIs) for women and men:15
  • thiamin (B1) – women 0.8mg, men 1mg
  • riboflavin (B2) – women 1.1g, men 1.3mg
  • niacin (B3) – women 13.2mg, men 16.5mg
  • pantothenic acid (B5) – women and men up to 200mg
  • pyridoxine (B6) – women 1.2mg, men 1.5mg
  • biotin (B7) – up to 0.9mg a day for both women and men
  • folate (B9) – women and men 200mcg. However, women who are trying to conceive or pregnant should take 400mcg until 12 weeks pregnant
  • vitamin B12 – women and men 1.5mcg

Vitamin B foods

Which foods are the best sources of vitamin B?

It’s easy to eat a diet packed with B vitamins. Here’s where to find your eight essential B vitamins:
  • thiamin – wholemeal bread, peas, eggs, beans, brown rice16
  • riboflavin – milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, cheese, certain green veg17
  • niacin – bread, potatoes, peas, peanuts, brown rice, salmon18
  • pantothenic acid – wholegrains, eggs, green leafy veg, avocado, potatoes19
  • pyridoxine – wholegrains, eggs, soya beans, fish, vegetables, peanuts, milk, potatoes20
  • biotin – egg yolk, legumes, yeast, nuts, milk21
  • folate  – Brussels sprouts, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, chickpeas, fortified breakfast cereals22
  • vitamin B12 – milk, cheese, eggs, salmon, meat, fortified breakfast cereals, plant milks23

Vitamin B deficiency

What are the symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency?

Vitamin B deficiency is rare in the UK, but two of the more common ones are a lack of vitamin B12 and folate. Older people and vegans are most at risk of low vitamin B12 levels: older people because they produce too little ‘intrinsic factor’ in the stomach – a natural chemical that boosts B12 absorption – and vegans because they eat mainly plant foods. Folic acid insufficiency now affects 75% of women of childbearing age in the UK, which could have a negative impact on foetal health. A vitamin B12 or folate deficiency can lead to a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia, where you produce red blood cells that are larger than normal. Symptoms include fatigue, feeling short of breath, racing heart, diarrhoea and nausea.24,25 What happens if I consume too much vitamin B? As B vitamins are water soluble, it’s tricky to get too much from your diet or from taking a vitamin B complex.26 However, taking large amounts of single B nutrients as supplements may cause side effects such as vomiting, liver damage or nerve damage.27,28,29 Shop Vitamins Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies. Written by Carole Beck on October 24, 2018 Reviewed by Dr Carrie Ruxton PhD on November 3, 2018 Sources 1. NHS. B vitamins and folic acid. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/ 2. As above 3. Jillian Kubala. B-Complex Vitamins: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage. Available from: www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-complex 4. Mayo Clinic. Vitamin B12. Available from: www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b12/art-20363663 5. As Source 3 6. NHS. Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamin-b12-or-folate-deficiency-anaemia/ 7. HSIS. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin or Thiamin). Available from: www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/vitamin-b1-thiamin-or-thiamin/ 8. Christian Nordqvist. Benefits and sources of vitamin B2. Available from: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219561.php 9. HSIS. Vitamin B3 (Niacin). Available from: www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/vitamin-b3-niacin/ 10. HSIS. Pantothenic acid. Available from: www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/pantothenic-acid/ 11. MedlinePlus. Vitamin B6. Available from: www.medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002402.htm 12. Medical News Today. Why do we need biotin, or Vitamin B7? Available from: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219718.php 13. HSIS. Folic acid. Available from: www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/folic-acid/ 14. HSIS. Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin). Available from: www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/vitamin-b12-cyanocobalamin/ 15. As Source 1 16. As Source 7 17. HSIS. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Available from: www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/vitamin-b2-riboflavin/ 18. Erica Julson. 16 Foods That Are High in Niacin (Vitamin B3). Available from: www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-niacin#section3 19. MedlinePlus. Pantothenic acid and biotin. Available from: www.medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002410.htm 20. As Source 1 21. As Source 19 22. As Source 1 23. As Source 1 24. Steven Kim. Megaloblastic Anemia. Available from: www.healthline.com/health/megaloblastic-anemia 25. As Source 1 26. Ellsworth MA, et al. Acute Liver Failure Secondary to Niacin Toxicity. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3965920/ 27. Mayo Clinic. Niacin. Available from: www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-niacin/art-20364984?pg=2 28. Jacquelyn Cafasso. Can You Overdose on Niacin? Available from: www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/niacin-overdose 29. As Source 1 30. ScienceDirect. B vitamins. Available from: www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/b-vitamins 31. Kennedy DO, et al. Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885294/ 32. Lewis JE, et al. The effect of methylated vitamin B complex on depressive and anxiety symptoms and quality of life in adults with depression. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23738221

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.