White Plains, New York, February 24, 2017 —
B vitamins and complexes are popular supplements, but labels often mislead, says a new report from ConsumerLab.com which tested, reviewed, and compared 49 supplements from the U.S. and Canada containing B complexes, B6, B12, biotin, folate, niacin, thiamin, and/or riboflavin. B vitamins are of benefit to people not able to get enough of these essential nutrients from their diets, such as many older people, those taking medicine to lower stomach acid, pregnant women and individuals with certain genetic variants.
Three supplements were found to contain much greater amounts of B vitamins than listed. One of these is a popular B-complex listing 100% of the Daily Value (i.e., daily requirement) for folate (vitamin B9), but actually provides nearly 400% of the Daily Value and 50% more than what is considered tolerable for adults, above which there is an increased risk of toxicity. The enormous discrepancy between label information and reality was due to finding it to contain 232% of its listed amount of folic acid and the fact that folic acid is absorbed 70% better than folate from food, as recognized by the FDA last year
. Supplement labels do not have to reflect this higher absorption until mid-2018 (or later for supplements from small companies). Until then, for example, a supplement listing 589 mcg of folic acid and 147% of the Daily Value of folate actually provides the equivalent of 1,001 mcg of folate, 250% of the Daily Value, and is over the daily safe limit for folate.
As noted in ConsumerLab.com's new report, the FDA alsorecognized last year that the Daily Values assigned to most of the B vitamins had been too high. It has reduced these Daily Values but labels need not reflect the new values until at least next year. In the meantime, ConsumerLab.com's President, Tod Cooperman, M.D., advises consumers to be aware that "Nearly all B vitamins currently have misleading information with respect to the percentage of the Daily Values they provide. You are often getting more than you think, need, or should want."
In addition to showing which products did or did not contain what they claimed, ConsumerLab.com's new report also shows the percentage of the new Daily Values provided by each product. CL's Top Picks for best value among the supplements are also shown. ConsumerLab.com's B Vitamin Supplements Review
) includes test results and quality comparisons for the following 49 products, 32 which were selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com and 17 which are included for having passed the same testing through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program. It also includes information about five products which are similar to ones which passed testing but are sold under different brand names. The report also includes clinical information regarding the use of B complexes and individual B vitamins, dosage and side-effects.
The following products are included in the report: 365 Folic Acid, Bluebonnet EarthSweet Chewables Methylcobalamin, Country Life Vitamin B 12, CVS Health B12, CVS Health Niacin, Doctor's Best Benfotiamine, Douglas Laboratories Methyl Folate, Dr. David Williams ZemBright Mood Plus, Finest Nutrition [Walgreens] Folic Acid, Finest Nutrition [Walgreens] Niacin, GNC B-Complex, Jarrow Formulas Methyl Folate, KAL Pantothenic Acid, Kirkland Signature [Costco] Signature B-Complex, Klaire Labs Vitamin B6, Life Extension Vitamin B3 Niacin, MegaFood® Balanced B Complex, Member's Mark® [Sam's Club] Niacin, Natrol Biotin, Natural Factors B12, Natural Factors Vitamin B3, Nature's Bounty B-12 1000 mcg, Nature's Bounty B-12 Quick Dissolve, Nature's Bounty Niacin, Nature's Bounty Quick Dissolve B-12 - Natural Cherry Flavor, Nature's Life Biotin, Nature's Way Vitamin B2, NOW Niacinamide, NutriCology Pantethine, PipingRock.com Vitamin B-2, Pure Encapsulations B12 Liquid, Puritan's Pride Folic Acid 800 mcg, Puritan's Pride Niacin, Puritan's Pride Sublingual B-12 Microlozenges 500 mcg, Rexall B-12, Rite Aid Pharmacy Folic Acid, Shaklee® B-Complex, Slo-Niacin, Solgar Sublingual Vitamin B12, Source Naturals B-6, Spring Valley [Walmart] B-12 - Natural Cherry Flavor, Spring Valley [Walmart] Folic Acid, Spring Valley [Walmart] Niacin, Sundown Naturals Folic Acid, Swanson Super Stress B-Complex with Vitamin C, Swanson Ultra Vitamin B-12, Terry Naturally P-5-P/Mag, The Vitamin Shoppe B-1 Thiamin, Thorne Research Basic B Complex, Vitacost Biotin, Vitafusion B Complex, Vitamin World Folic Acid, Vitamin World Sublingual B-12 and Wonder Laboratories Folic Acid.
Founded in 1999, ConsumerLab.com
is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online
and provides immediate access to reviews of more than 1,000 products from over 400 brands. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.
— END —
back to top