The ultimate guide to vitamin B complex

The vitamin B complex is essential for many aspects of health, and while it can be found in food sources, you can also supplement with vitamin B complex gummies. Here is what science has to say about the importance of B vitamins and why you may want to consider adding them to your supplement routine.

If you’ve ever taken a stroll through the supplement aisle, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. After all, with so many supplements available, how do you know which ones are worth taking to help benefit your health?

While this question rings true for almost every supplement, it’s especially pertinent to vitamin B complex. This blend consists of all B vitamins, but why is it important, what makes it different from individual B vitamins, and should you consider adding this supplement to your routine?

This article covers everything you need to know about vitamin B complex, from health benefits to gummy vitamins. But before we dive deeper, let’s first understand what vitamin B complex is and its impact on your body. 

Pouring vitamins into hand

What is vitamin B complex? 

Vitamin B complex is a blend that combines all forms of B vitamins into a single product. All B vitamins are water-soluble. A vitamin B complex typically contains thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid (vitamin B9), and cobalamin (vitamin B12).

Let’s briefly break down each vitamin B to understand its impact on your body better. 

Thiamin (vitamin B1)

Thiamin is needed for cellular energy production (aids in releasing energy from foods), supports the normal nervous system function, and plays a critical role in energy metabolism and cell growth, development, and function [



Thiamin is found in foods like peas, pork, liver, and fortified foods. Thiamin deficiency is known as beriberi and, although rare, can lead to mental confusion and muscle weakness, among other mental symptoms [



Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, plays a role in energy production. Because riboflavin is an antioxidant, it helps protect the body from free radical damage (which can contribute to many chronic health problems). It contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help with inflammatory nerve responses like migraines [


]. Interestingly, research shows that supplementation of riboflavin may decrease pain score, duration, and frequency of migraines [



Riboflavin can be found in foods like eggs, organ meats, and milk. While riboflavin deficiency is rare, inadequacy can lead to skin disorders (like dermatitis), lesions or cracks in the corner of the mouth, and a beefy red tongue [



Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin, otherwise known as vitamin B3, converts food into energy and supports the body’s nervous, digestive, and skin. It’s also needed to metabolize dietary carbohydrates and fats, synthesize cholesterol and fats in the body, and create and repair DNA



Niacin can be found in many foods, including poultry, beef, nuts, grains, and more, so deficiency is not very common. Nevertheless, niacin deficiency is known as pellagra and can lead to nausea, mental confusion, and skin problems [



Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 

Pantothenic acid is involved in the metabolism of fats from food, breaking down fatty acids for energy production.

Similar to the other B vitamins, it can be found in a large variety of foods like beef, nuts, dairy milk, yogurt, and more. Vitamin B5 can also be synthesized by gut bacteria in small amounts; however, it’s typically not enough to meet the requirement for pantothenic acid [


]. Pantothenic acid deficiency may cause headache, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, among other symptoms [



Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)

Vitamin B6 aids in red blood cell formation and the production of hemoglobin, which is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen through the body. Following a diet high in protein may increase the body’s need for pyridoxine because it aids in the breakdown of protein [


]. Additionally, supplemental vitamin B6 can help alleviate morning sickness symptoms during pregnancy [


]. Furthermore, research shows that supplementing iron and vitamin B6 may be more effective in treating anemia during the second trimester of pregnancy than iron alone [



Vitamin B6 can be found in foods like liver, bananas, and avocados. Deficiency of vitamin B6 may be linked to anemia, skin disorders, and nausea [



Folic acid (vitamin B9)

Folic acid plays a prominent role in the production of genetic material. This is crucial during periods when our cells and tissues are rapidly growing (like infancy and puberty), but it’s imperative during early pregnancy, as a folate deficiency can lead to impaired growth and can result in a baby with neural tube defects. Interestingly, research shows that starting folic acid supplementation before conception can reduce the risk of neural tube defect by 50-70% [



A folate deficiency can also lead to megaloblastic anemia, characterized by fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath [


]. Additionally, people who have genetic changes to the MTHFR gene (which aids in the conversion of vitamin B9 into its active and usable form) are more at risk for developing folic acid deficiency [



Although folic acid is found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables and beans, it may not be enough to reach the daily recommended intake, so supplementation may be necessary. 

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Cobalamin (vitamin B12)

Vitamin B12

, or cobalamin, supports healthy red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis and aids in the functioning of the central nervous system. Adequate intake of B12 is also essential for energy production and breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid obtained from dietary protein, to make other amino acids important for health [



Vitamin B12 is typically found in animal products like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed without the intrinsic factor (a protein produced in the stomach). Since intrinsic factor production decreases with age, older adults are at higher risk of B12 deficiency. Vegetarians and vegans may also be at a higher risk for developing a vitamin B12 deficiency, so supplementation may be beneficial for these populations.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to fatigue, numbness and tingling, muscle weakness, and may also cause megaloblastic anemia [



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What is the difference between vitamin B12 and B complex?

Vitamin B12 is one of the B vitamins that makes up the vitamin B complex. But when should you supplement them? If you are looking for a boost in energy, vitamin B12 might be a good fit. However, vitamin B complex is more suitable if you want to support your overall health, including your nervous system, energy levels, and brain function.

Some other indicators on which vitamin to supplement might be your diet. If you lead a complete and healthy diet, you probably take in most of your B vitamins. However, people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency because this vitamin is found in animal products. These people might want to supplement vitamin B12 rather than B complex, as they are specifically at risk for B12 deficiency.    

What are the best vitamin B complex supplements?

All the B vitamins play large roles in the body and are crucial for proper functioning. Apart from being found in foods, these B vitamins may be supplemented, and while they are all sold as supplements separately, it might be easier to take it with one go. This is where the vitamin B complex supplement comes into play.

When choosing a B complex supplement, keep in mind that the best choice for you depends on your preferences, needs, and health goals. Talk with your healthcare provider to see if this supplement is right for you.

woman holding smart gummies in her mouth

Vitamin B complex gummies

Gummy supplements are suitable for people who have a hard time swallowing pills or want a more palatable option for taking supplements. They are also an excellent one-and-done supplement option since you don’t have to take a bunch of different pills at once. 

Elo offers Smart Gummies, which are personalized 7-layer daily gummy supplements that are 3D printed to match your unique needs based on your personal needs, biomarkers, and more. Elo Smart Gummies are an easy and yummy way to incorporate essential vitamins and minerals into your diet.   

women holding Elo smart gummies

Try Elo Smart Gummies

While Elo Smart Gummies aren’t a specific B complex supplement, they contain a variety of B vitamins, including vitamin B12, folic acid, and more! These nutrients will help support your health and wellness goals, and the intense personalization of the product ensures that you’re getting exactly what you need in a single bite. 

Pills and injections

While pills are the most common supplement format, you can also choose to get vitamin B complex injections. The injections are more expensive and might be less convenient. Still, studies show that intravenous administration of drugs is the most effective format, as they offer a higher bioavailability of the vitamin, which can increase the absorption rate


What to look for in a B complex supplement

Here are a few things to remember when looking for a vitamin B complex supplement. 

  • Look at the ingredients to ensure that all B vitamins are included in the supplement. 

  • Evaluate the amounts for each vitamin to see if they help you reach the recommended dietary allowances.  

  • Look for supplements that are third-party tested, which helps ensure the quality and purity of the product [





  • Evaluate your health goals to determine which vitamin B complex supplement is right for you. For example, there are some vitamin B complexes specific for skin that include biotin or for energy with the addition of vitamin C.

Who should take vitamin B complex?

Certain populations may benefit from B complex, including [



  • people with HIV

  • people with alcohol use disorder

  • people with gastrointestinal disorders 

  • older adults

  • people who are pregnant

  • vegans and vegetarians

However, if you have kidney issues or any blockage in your excretion path, then it’s recommended to avoid taking B complex. This is because it prevents vitamin B complex from being excreted and may cause an excessive buildup in the body, which can cause skin flushes, nerve damage, mask vitamin B12 deficiency, and even lead to liver damage if long-term excessive use occurs [



When to take B complex

There is no set time to take vitamin B complex, as it can be taken at any time of the day. However, vitamin B complex plays a role in energy production, so it may be more beneficial to take it early in the day, as taking it later in the day may affect your sleep [


]. Additionally, this supplement may be taken with or without food, given that it is made of water-soluble vitamins. 

Can you take too much B complex? 

It is very difficult to overdo it when supplementing B vitamins. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, your body cannot store excess amounts of them for later use, so it disposes of them through the urine. The vitamin B complex stays in the body for a few days to a couple of weeks, but this range heavily depends on the individual’s metabolism. 

Due to rapid excretion, consistency is important when taking vitamin B complex supplements. Aim to take your vitamin B complex supplements daily (according to the serving on the label), as this will help you reach your nutritional goals and B vitamin requirements. 


The vitamin B complex is a supplement composed of all the B vitamins. These include thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid (vitamin B9), and cobalamin (vitamin B12). All B vitamins have unique functions and are found in many food sources. Deficiency of these vitamins can lead to different symptoms. Overall, the vitamin B complex may support cell health and growth, increase energy levels, and reduce stress. When choosing a vitamin B complex, take note of what the supplement contains to choose the best supplement to help you reach your goals.

Disclaimer: The text, images, videos, and other media on this page are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to treat, diagnose, or replace personalized medical care.

Key takeaways

  • The vitamin B complex is a blend of all B vitamins and may support cell health and growth, increase energy levels, and reduce stress.

  • Vitamin B complex can be supplemented in different formats, including pills, gummies, and injections. 

  • When choosing the best vitamin B complex supplement, look at the nutrition label to see what ingredients are included, look for third-party tested supplements, and evaluate your health goals to determine which vitamin B complex supplement is right for you.

  • You can get certain B vitamins with

    Elo Smart Gummies


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