- Do B vitamins help? While most people are not deficient in B vitamins (since these vitamins can be easily obtained from foods), older people and those taking medication to reduce stomach acid may be low in B-12 and taking it can help slow age-related decline in memory. Pregnant women should be sure to get folate from a supplement to help avoid birth defects, and people with genetic mutations affecting the MTHFR enzyme may benefit from a form of folate known as methylfolate. High-dose niacin can help lower high cholesterol levels. Although the evidence is preliminary, a high dose of biotin may help strengthen nails. More information about what each of the B vitamins can and cannot do is found in the Background section and in the ConsumerTips sections for each of the B vitamins.
- How much of each B vitamin 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 B vitamin supplement 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.
B Vitamin Supplements Review (B Complexes, B6, B12, Biotin, Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin & More)
Be Careful Choosing B Vitamins. 18% of B Vitamins Fail Our Review. See Which Are Best.
Medically reviewed and edited by Tod Cooperman, M.D.
B vitamin supplements compared in this review :
21st Century B-1 100 mg
Amazon Elements Berry B12
Bluebonnet Vitamin B6 50 mg
BulkSupplements.com Flush-Free Niacin
Carlson Methyl Folate
Doctor's Best Benfotiamine 300
Doctor's Best Fully Active Folate 400
Douglas Laboratories Riboflavin
Elysium Basis Cellular Health & Optimization
Finest Nutrition [Walgreens] Folic Acid
Garden of Life mykind Organics B-Complex Once Daily
GNC B-Complex Big 100
GNC Methyl B-12
Jarrow Formulas B-Right
Jarrow Formulas Pantothenic Acid B5
Kirkland Signature [Costco] Super B-Complex
Mason Natural B12 50 mcg
Nature Made Super B Energy Complex
Nature's Bounty Biotin 10,000 mcg
Nature's Way Pantothenic Acid
New Chapter Perfect Hair, Skin & Nails
NOW Niacinamide 500 mg
NutraBlast Hair Skin & Nails - Strawberry
Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual-Action
Organika Vitamin B Complex
PipingRock.com Vitamin B-6 100 mg
Pure Encapsulations B12 Liquid
Puritan's Pride Ultra Mega Biotin 10,000 mcg
Seeking Health Active B12 with L-5-MTHF
Solgar Folate 1,333 mcg DFE
Spring Valley [Walmart] Biotin 10,000 mcg
Sugarbearhair Hair Vitamins
Vitafusion B12 - Natural Raspberry Flavor
- 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
Latest Clinical Research Updates for B Vitamin Supplements
Niagen for Energy?
Biotin Interference With COVID Tests
Danger With Too Much B-6
Best Form of B-12 for Vegans?
Hidden Forms of B-12 Deficiency
Niacin for Parkinson's?
Also see our answer to the question: Do supplements help with Parkinson's disease treatment or prevention?
Folic Acid for Hot Flashes?
Folic Acid and Colorectal Cancer
Folic Acid for Cognitive Function?
Energy Drinks and Blood Pressure
Thiamin Deficiency from Bowel Disease
B12 for Diabetic Neuropathy?
Nicotinamide Riboside to Slow Aging and Reverse NAD+ Decline?
Magnesium, Niacin and Blood Pressure
B-12 for Eczema?
B-12 for Singers
Biotin for MS?
Muscle Cramps from Lack of Vitamin
High-Dose Vitamin B-6 & Cancer
Folate & Memory
B-12 Supplements vs. Injections
B Vitamins and Fracture Risk
High Blood Pressure Risk With Too Much Folic Acid During Pregnancy
Also see our Top Pick among prenatal vitamins, which provides adequate (but not too much) folic acid, in our Multivitamin and Multiminerals Supplements Review.
Early Sign of Thiamin Deficiency
Biotin May Skew Many Blood Tests
Cognitive Impairment From B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 and Risk of Death
B12 & the Vegetarian
B Vitamins for Cognition
Platelet Concern With High-dose Niacin
Eye Risk With High-Dose Niacin
Vitamin B12 & Sleepiness
Folic Acid and Colon Cancer
Is Niagen Safe?
Is Methylfolate the Best Form of Folate?
NAD+ and Cancer?
Vitamin B12 & Depression
Hip Fracture Risk with B6
Misdiagnosed B12 Deficiency
Energy Drinks & Aggression
B12 Tablet vs. Injection
B Vitamins & Breast Cancer
Liver Toxicity With Niacin
B Vitamin Cancer Risk?
Can a B Vitamin Lower High Blood Pressure?
Niagen for Blood Sugar Control?
Methylfolate vs. Folic Acid
Hair & Nail Supplements Can Skew Lab Tests
Too Much Vitamin B6
What Niagen Does
Folic Acid, Multis & Autism Risk
B12 for Cognition
Folic Acid & Risk of Autism
Folic Acid for Cognition
Danger from Too Much Vitamin B6
CL has long warned that energy drinks and shots often contain large amounts of B6 and other B vitamins.
Biotin Interference With Vitamin D Test
Growing Concern with Biotin Causing False Lab Results
Signs of B12 Deficiency
B Vitamins for Memory
Best form of B12?
Niacinamide for Alzheimer's Disease?
Lower Cognitive Function in Kids Linked to High Prenatal Folic Acid
High-Dose B Vitamins & Lung Cancer Risk
High-Dose B Vitamins & Cataract Risk
How Vitamin B6 May Backfire
Warning: Biotin Can Affect Thyroid Tests
B12 Can Cause Acne
Hip Fracture Risk With Too Much B-6
POTS and Thiamin
Niacin & Skin Cancer
Cognitive Decline With Too Little B6
Side-Effect With B-12
Potential Risk with High B-12
High-Dose Vitamin D Reduces Respiratory Infections, But With a Risk
Too Much Folate & Nerve Damage
Niagen Form of Niacin May Cause Flushing
Getting Too Much Folic Acid
Folic Acid Supplementation Mitigates Alzheimer's
B Vitamins & Autism Risk
Omega-3's May Be Important in Preventing Cognitive Decline
Niacin Helps Prevent Skin Cancers
How Vitamin B-12 Causes Acne
Niacin Reduces Skin Cancer
Folic Acid Reduces Risk of Stroke
Keep Energy Drinks Away from Kids
Do B Vitamins Boost Memory?
Energy Drinks: Athletic Performance & Side Effects
High-Dose Niacin with Statins Not Worth It
B-12 Deficiency and Acid Inhibitors
For more information, see ConsumerLab's answer to the question, I take omeprazole (Prilosec), a proton pump inhibitor, to reduce stomach acid. Are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking, due to this drug?.
B Vitamin Supplements for Stroke?
Alzheimer's Changes Slowed with B Vitamins
Concern Over Carnitine Causing Cardiovascular Disease
For more details, see the updated reviews of B Vitamin Supplements & Energy Drinks and Protein Powders, as some of these products contain L-carnitine. The Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplements review has also been updated because acetyl-L-carnitine is chemically similar to L-carnitine, suggesting a potential concern.
Concern Over Niacin
Autism and Folic Acid Supplements
Higher Vitamin Level May Slow Cognitive Decline
Caution with Energy Drinks
B Vitamin May Lower Blood Pressure
B-12 and Folic Acid for Memory
No Benefit of Niacin with Statins
B Vitamins May Help Memory
Niacin Concern Stops Cardiovascular Study
Does folic acid affect the risk of colon cancer?
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How likely are Americans to be deficient in vitamins or minerals?
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