The best vitamin B supplements
B vitamins are good for your body in a myriad of ways, and specific B vitamins will help target certain issues. For instance, B12 is great for boosting energy whereas B1 is good for heart health. B-Complex supplements encompass all the benefits of individual B vitamins in just one pill.
If you're not quite sure of the benefits of taking your B vitamins, learn more in our guide. We've also included our recommendations for brands we trust and products we've vetted. Our top pick is from Pure Encapsulations, which offers the purest formulation of B vitamins around and is great for those with allergies and other sensitivities.
Types of B vitamins
Listed are the eight types of B vitamins you should expect in a good B-Complex and a brief description of their health benefits.
B1: Also called thiamine, B1 is good for your heart.
B2: Also called riboflavin, this B vitamin is beneficial for the brain and for digestion.
B3: Also referred to as niacin, B3 helps metabolize food, protects the brain against dementia, promotes healthy cholesterol levels, and aids in DNA production.
B5: Also known as pantothenic acid, it helps with energy, hormone production, and metabolism.
B6: Also called pyridoxine, this B vitamin is essential for nerve, heart, and brain function. It also supports DNA production.
B7: More popularly known as biotin, B7 is well-known for promoting skin, nail, and hair health. It also helps with metabolism and gene expression.
B9: Also called folate or folic acid, B9 is considered essential for pregnant women. It's responsible for the formation of blood cells and cell division and growth.
B12: Also called cobalamin, this B vitamin is essential for neurological health. Because it plays an important role in your metabolism, it's also popular for boosting energy levels. It comes in the forms cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin. The latter form is better tolerated by those who have a common genetic mutation.
Most B vitamin supplements come in capsule or tablet form. Both forms are equally absorbed by the body, so select whichever works for you. Liquid B vitamins are also available for those who have trouble swallowing pills.
Manufacturers list daily values anywhere from 200% or 1000%. However, the body doesn't need values that high; the body will excrete the excess. Remember, if you eat a healthy, balanced diet you also get B vitamins from food.
B vitamins are typically an affordable supplement. For a B-Complex, expect to pay between $0.15 to $0.45 per serving. The cost per serving and the cost per pill don't necessarily equate, so you want to take the total cost of the bottle and divide it by the number of servings it contains to get an accurate sense of its value.
Q. My B vitamins smell and make my urine smell bad. Is something wrong with them?
A. No, B vitamins don't always have the most pleasant odor. If you're taking a dose that's over the 100% RDA, because they're water soluble they'll be excreted through your urine, which accounts for the smell and sometimes the change in urine color.
Q. Is methylcobalamin better than cyanocobalamin?
A. Because methylcobalamin is the more active form of B12, your body can more readily use and absorb it. Cyanocobalamin must be converted by your body into this more active state before it can be used, which some bodies have difficulty doing due to genetics. This form of B12 is cheaper to make, so it is more prevalent in B-Complexes.
Vitamin B supplements we recommend
Best of the best: Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Plus
Our take: A premium and pure formula free of fillers, additives, and allergens.
What we like: A highly reputable manufacturer that makes supplements for those with multiple sensitivities. Free of gluten, wheat, eggs, peanuts, magnesium stearate, and more. Contains methylcobalamin.
What we dislike: Pricier but worth it for sensitive people.
Best bang for your buck: Nature Made Super B-Complex
Our take: One small softgel contains 100% your daily value of eight essential B vitamins.
What we like: A trusted manufacturer for affordable quality supplements. Third-party verification for purity and potency. Free of gluten, synthetic dyes, yeast, and artificial flavors.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Our take: A plant-based, raw food B complex with added probiotics.
What we like: Probiotic and enzyme blend aids digestion. Formulated for vegetarians and vegans. Non-GMO and gluten- and dairy-free. Contains all eight B vitamins.
What we dislike: Pricier than competing brands.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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