Vitamin B Complex

What Is It?

A high-quality vitamin B complex supplement will provide, in one convenient pill, a full range of B vitamins, including biotin, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), and the six “numbered” B vitamins–vitamin B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine), and B-12 (cobalamin). Combination products can simplify the process of taking individual B vitamins for a range of ailments including alcoholism, depression, diabetes, hair problems, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and stress.

Vitamin B complex products are generally available in two forms: B-50s and B-100s. In a B-50 complex, look for a minimum of the following: 400 mcg folic acid, 50 mcg B-12 and biotin, and at least 50 mg of all the other B vitamins. Generally twice this amount is found in B-100 complexes, except for the folic acid (400 mcg), which remains the same. A B-100 typically contains 100 mcg B-12 and biotin, and 100 mg of all the other B vitamins.

While convenient, combination B vitamin products can produce an unpleasantly strong vitaminlike odor and cause queasiness if taken on an empty stomach. To minimize these side effects and enhance absorption, take this vitamin pill with food. A bright yellow hue to the urine following a B-complex vitamin is a harmless side effect of the riboflavin (B-2).

General Interaction

The amount of each individual ingredient in a vitamin B complex is usually quite small. The best approach for anyone concerned about possible interactions with a drug or dietary supplement is to refer to the separate entries (riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin B-12 in our WholeHealth Chicago Reference Library.

Cautions

See individual entries in the WholeHealth Chicago Reference Library for cautions on specific ingredients contained in your vitamin B complex.

Ailments-Dosage

Alcoholism 1 B-50 pill each morning and evening with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Alzheimer’s Disease 1 B-100 pill a day
Anxiety and Panic 1 B-50 pill each morning with food. Should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Canker Sores 1 B-50 pill each morning
Crohn’s Disease 1 B-50 pill twice a day with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Depression 1 B-50 pill twice a day with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Diabetes 1 B-100 pill each morning with food. Each pill should supply 100 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 100 mg all other B vitamins.
Epilepsy 1 B-50 pill twice a day with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Fatigue 1 B-50 pill each morning with food. Should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mcg all other B vitamins.
Hair Problems 1 B-50 pill twice a day with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Heart Disease Prevention 1 B-50 pill twice a day with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins; may be partially covered by your daily multivitamin.
Infertility, Female 1 B-50 pill each morning. These nutrients may already be covered by your daily multivitamin.
Multiple Sclerosis 1 B-100 pill twice a day for flare-ups; then reduce to 1 pill each morning as maintenance. Each pill should supply 100 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 100 mg all other B vitamins.
Psoriasis 1 B-50 pill twice a day with food. Each pill should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg of all other B vitamins
Rosacea 1 B-50 pill each morning with food. Should supply 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 50 mg all other B vitamins.
Stress 1 B-100 once a day. Each pill should supply 100 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, and 100 mg all other B vitamins.

Doctor Recommendations
David Edelberg, M.D.

There are six “numbered” B vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (panotothentic acid), B6 and B12–and five “other” Bs, including folic acid and biotin. As its name implies, a B-complex supplement is a convenient way to get them all. All the B vitamins are important for depression. This is primarily because they are crucial to the production of key chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. They also seem to enhance the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Taking vitamin B is difficult for some people, and I get lots of phone calls about the side effects of B vitamins–more than any other supplemental nutrient. Indeed, a B-vitamin capsule can be quite strong smelling. When it dissolves inside the stomach, it makes some people feel a bit queasy.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

A good B-50 complex should contain: 50 mcg B12 and biotin 400 mcg folic acid At least 50 mg of all the other B vitamins

Suggestions

There are a number of ways to minimize the distinctive B-vitamin “burp” or aftertaste. Try some of these simple tips: Be sure to take this vitamin with food. This will help you avoid the burp factor and also enhance the absorption of the nutrients. Consider a high-quality brand. B vitamins are manufactured by large, well-known pharmaceutical houses and sent in bulk to vitamin companies for individual mixing (formulation) and encapsulation. There are “food grades” and “pharmaceutical grades” for everything, including the capsule material. Spending a little more on a better brand can pay big dividends when it comes to side effects. Be prepared to switch brands. Keeping trying until you find one that agrees with your digestive system. Subtle manufacturing choices can make a significant difference in how well you tolerate this vitamin. Don’t be concerned if your urine turns a dazzling Day-Glo yellow. This often happens after taking a B complex. Because these vitamins are water soluble, they travel quickly through the bloodstream and soon appear in the urine. This doesn’t mean you’re taking too high a dose. It’s simply the natural “peeing out” of the riboflavin, or vitamin B2. The color is actually completely harmless and just takes getting used to.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS

About B-100s: Obviously capsules labelled B-100 contain twice as much as a B-50. But more is not necessarily better. Even if you need the amounts contained in a B-100 supplement, it may be easiest to stick with a B-50 and just take it twice a day rather than challenge your stomach with a single B-100.

For product recommendations and orders from the Natural Apothecary click here or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.

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