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How much to take? This depends on your nutritional needs but, generally, B vitamin supplements are formulated to provide much more than you need and this can be a problem for the three B vitamins that can cause toxicity — niacin, folate and B-6. Too much B-12 may also cause problems, including acne. Furthermore, it is now acknowledged that you need less of many B vitamins than believed in the past, but % Daily Value figures on labels don't have to reflect this until the beginning of 2021. In the results table, we show you how products stack up against the latest recommendations (see the numbers in green), as well as which exceed the tolerable limits for niacin, folate, and B-6.
Which product is best? For each B vitamin or B complex, we identify CL's Top Picks. These "picks" were found in testing to be accurately labeled for B vitamins, meet other quality criteria, and, represent excellent value for your money. However, five products (mostly B complexes) failed our tests for providing far less or more ingredient than listed. One of these is a popular B complex that, due to an overage, exceeds the tolerable upper intake level for folate from its synthetic form, folic acid. These five products are listed as "NOT APPROVED" in the results table.
You must be a member to get the full test results along with ConsumerLab.com recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for 26 B vitamin and B-complex supplements selected by ConsumerLab.com and 8 others which passed testing in its voluntary Quality Certification Program. Also listed are five products similar to ones that passed testing but are sold under different brand names.
In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
Which B vitamin supplements failed testing and which passed
Cost comparisons and quality ratings of B vitamin supplements
Information on what B vitamin supplements can and cannot do for you -- some may reduce memory decline!
Important differences among forms of B vitamins, such as those of niacin (nicotinic acid, niacinamide, and inositol hexanicotinate), folate (natural folate, folic acid, and L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate), and B-12 (methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin), as well as how oral B-12 compares to B-12 injections.
Use and dosage information for thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, B-12, biotin, folate (folic acid), and pantothenic acid.
How amounts of B vitamins in supplements compare to the amounts you actually need - the results may surprise you!
What you need to know about new intake guidelines — and why you shouldn't rely on Daily Values (DVs) listed on labels
Side effects and potential drug interactions with B vitamins
Safety concerns with B vitamins, and how to use them safely
ConsumerLab.com Answers -- for B Vitamin Supplements Review (B Complexes, B6, B12, Biotin, Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin & More)
Question: Being over 50 years old, I'm looking to take a vitamin B-12 supplement. I see that many contain a form of vitamin B-12 called cyanocobalamin, yet I read on the Internet that this form is toxic. Should I be concerned? Get the answer >>
Question: What is Lipo-flavonoid and does it work for tinnitus or other ear problems? Get the answer >>
Question: Which supplements are important after bariatric surgery (i.e., weight loss or stomach-reducing surgery)? Are there any I should avoid? Get the answer >>
Question: Are enteric coated supplements better than non-enteric coated ones? Get the answer >>
Question: I take fluoxetine (Prozac), a SSRI drug to treat depression. Are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking, due to this drug? Get the answer >>
Question: Do any supplements really help with brain function, like memory and cognition? Get the answer >>
Question: What is benfotiamine and can it really improve or prevent complications from diabetes? Get the answer >>
Question: The maker of my multivitamin says it doesn't include folic acid because too much from supplements can be harmful. Is that true? Get the answer >>
Question: Do any supplements help with nerve pain, like sciatica or diabetic neuropathy? Get the answer >>
Question: I have been having neurological symptoms, and a blood test showed I have toxic levels of vitamin B-6. My multivitamin contains 75 mg of B-6, but this is below the upper limit of 100 mg per day. Could my vitamin contain more than it lists? Get the answer >>
Question: I thought the B vitamins were all water soluble and did not build up in the body, so you would not build up toxic levels. Am I wrong? Get the answer >>
Question: Do any supplements help for tinnitus? Is it true that some supplements can cause tinnitus? Get the answer >>
Question: Does nicotinamide riboside (as in Niagen and Basis) really have anti-aging or other health benefits? Get the answer >>
Question: Do any supplements improve balance or reduce the risk of falls? Get the answer >>
Question: Are lozenges and sublingual pills considered dietary supplements? Get the answer >>
Question: I was told I have a MTHFR gene mutation. What do I need to know about taking B vitamins? Get the answer >>
Question: I read on your website that some B-12 vitamins can cause diarrhea due to added sugar substitutes like sorbitol. I have had diarrhea and never thought it could be caused by my vitamin B-12 supplement, until I read your article and stopped taking the supplement. My diarrhea stopped immediately. Can you help me find a brand of B-12 that doesn't contain sorbitol or sugar substitutes that could cause this problem? Get the answer >>
Question: Which supplements can help with indigestion and/or heartburn? Get the answer >>
Question: Does Alpha Brain really improve memory, focus and cognition?
Get the answer >>
Question: Are there any supplements I should avoid when taking acetaminophen? Get the answer >>
Question: Do vitamin B12 patches, like those from PatchMD, really work? Get the answer >>
Question: What are the most common, potentially dangerous interactions between supplements and drugs? Get the answer >>
Question: My HDL (good) cholesterol level is low. Should I take niacin to raise my HDLs? Get the answer >>
Question: I've been taking a Daily Advantage multi but am now concerned by the very high % DV for vitamin C (833% DV), niacin (325% DV), and B vitamins (over 1,000% DV for several). The company tells me this formula is based on clinical experience and the scientific literature. What do you think? Get the answer >>
Question: Can prenatal vitamins have too much folic acid? Mine has 800 mcg, but isn't that more than what's recommended? Is this dangerous to me or my baby? Get the answer >>
Question: What is Brain Bright and can it really improve memory or cognition? Get the answer >>
Question: Are the "% DV" numbers on vitamin supplement labels really based on what I need? Get the answer >>
Question: Are there any supplements I should avoid when taking an antibiotic? Are there any that may be helpful? Get the answer >>
Question: Do any supplements help reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)? Get the answer >>
Question: Can vitamins or other supplements cause a change in the ability to taste, or even a loss of taste? Get the answer >>
Question: I was surprised when my doctor told me to stop taking supplements because my kidney function was low. But after stopping the supplements, my kidney function returned to normal. Can taking a lot of supplements really damage the kidneys? Get the answer >>