If you don’t get enough B vitamins from other sources, taking a B vitamin complex may benefit your health. This may include pregnant women, vegetarians or people with certain medical conditions.
B vitamins are a group of nutrients that play many important roles in the body. They are found in a variety of foods, so most people only get the recommended amount of these vitamins through food.
However, some factors may mean that your body requires more B vitamins. These factors include age, pregnancy, diet choices, health conditions, genetics, medications and alcohol consumption.
In this case, supplementation with vitamin B may be necessary. Dietary supplements containing all eight B vitamins are called vitamin B complex or B complex vitamins.
Here are the health benefits of B-complex vitamins, along with dosage recommendations and potential side effects.
B vitamins are water soluble, meaning your body does not store them. Therefore, your daily diet should provide them. They perform many important functions and are essential for maintaining good health.
Although these vitamins share some common characteristics, they all have unique functions and are needed in different amounts.
Although another important nutrient, choline, was previously considered a B vitamin and shares some similarities with them, it is actually neither a vitamin nor a mineral.
Because B vitamins are found in many foods, you are likely not at risk for vitamin B deficiency as long as you eat a balanced diet.
During pregnancy, the need for B vitamins (especially B12 and folic acid) increases. This is because they are essential to support fetal development.
For people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, especially those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, taking B vitamins is critical.
Lack of B12 or folic acid during pregnancy or breastfeeding can cause serious neurological damage or birth defects in the fetus or child.
As we age, our ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases and our appetite decreases, making it difficult for some people to get enough vitamin B12 through diet alone.
The body’s ability to release B12 from food for absorption depends on sufficient stomach acid.
However, it is estimated that 10-30% of people over 50 do not produce enough stomach acid to properly absorb B12. If you take stomach acid-reducing medications to treat acid reflux or heartburn, this may also interfere with B12 absorption.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with increased rates of depression and mood disorders in older adults.
People with certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, alcoholism, hypothyroidism, and anorexia, are more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies, including B vitamins.
Additionally, mutations in the MTHFR gene can affect the body’s metabolism of folate, leading to folate deficiency and other health problems.
What’s more, people who have had certain bariatric surgeries are also more likely to be deficient in B vitamins.
In such cases, people are often advised to take B vitamins to correct or avoid vitamin deficiencies.
Vegans and vegetarians may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency if they do not get enough vitamin B12 through fortified foods or supplements.
Taking a daily dose of B vitamins can help ensure that people who choose a diet free of animal products get enough of these important nutrients.
For example, proton pump inhibitors (drugs that reduce stomach acid) may reduce B12 absorption, and metformin (a popular diabetes medication) may reduce B12 and folate levels.
Birth control pills also deplete some B vitamins, including B6, B12, folic acid, and riboflavin.
Pregnancy, illness, surgery, genetics, medications, dietary restrictions and age can all affect how your body absorbs and uses B vitamins.
Although some people require B vitamin supplements in some cases, research suggests that taking B vitamin supplements may be beneficial even for those who do not have an increased need for these nutrients.
B vitamins are often used to reduce fatigue and improve mood. Some research suggests that B vitamins may improve mood and improve cognitive performance.
A 33-day study of 215 healthy men found that treatment with high doses of B-complex and mineral supplements improved overall mental health and reduced stress, as well as improved performance on cognitive tests.
Another study among young adults found that taking a multivitamin high in B vitamins for 90 days reduced stress and mental fatigue.
While B-complex vitamin supplements will not cure mental health problems, they may help relieve symptoms of depression or anxiety.
One study of 60 adults with depression found that 60 days of treatment with a vitamin B complex significantly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to placebo.
B vitamins may also enhance therapeutic response when used in combination with antidepressants.
One study found that taking vitamins containing B12, B6, and folic acid resulted in an enhanced and prolonged antidepressant response over one year compared to placebo.
Note that low blood levels of some B vitamins, including B12, B6, and folic acid, are associated with an increased risk of depression, so it’s important to rule out nutritional deficiencies if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression.
B-complex supplements can relieve stress, improve cognitive function, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, even in people who are not deficient in B vitamins.
Each B vitamin has a specific recommended daily intake, which varies depending on biological sex, age and pregnancy, among other factors.
Pregnant and nursing mothers require more B vitamins, while infants and children require less.
If you are deficient in B vitamins, you may need to take higher doses of B vitamins to make up for the deficiency.
For these reasons, it is important to choose a B complex supplement based on your individual needs for each B vitamin.
Discuss your specific nutritional needs with a healthcare professional based on your age and health.
Recommended intakes of B vitamins vary depending on age, nutritional needs, biological sex, and health status.
Because B vitamins are water soluble, you are unlikely to get too much of these nutrients from food or by taking a B complex supplement as directed.
However, taking supplements containing excessive and unnecessary amounts of B vitamins can cause serious side effects.
High doses of B3 (niacin) supplements can cause vomiting, high blood sugar, red skin, and even liver damage.
Additionally, high doses of B6 can cause nerve damage, photosensitivity, and painful skin lesions.
Another side effect of B-complex supplements is that they can turn your urine a bright yellow color. While discolored urine may be alarming, it’s not dangerous—it’s just the body getting rid of extra vitamins it can’t use.
If you need to take a B-complex supplement, be sure to choose reputable brands whose products are voluntarily independently verified by organizations such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
Although B complex vitamins are likely safe when taken as directed, taking high doses of B3 or B6 can cause serious side effects.
Pregnant women, older adults, vegetarians, and people with certain medical conditions may benefit from taking B-complex supplements.
Side effects are less likely if you follow recommended dosages, which vary depending on age, nutritional needs, gender and health conditions.
Post time: Nov-02-2023