B Complex Vitamins What Are They & What Do They Do?


Eight B vitamins make up the B complex family and they all help your body convert (carbohydrates) to fuel, otherwise known as glucose, the glucose produced is then used to produce energy.

In this post, we look at each B vitamin and its functions in the body. We will also look at some symptoms associated with a B vitamin deficiency and some key dietary sources for each.

Below I have highlighted the important bits for you, just in case your schedule is tight.

Click the link you want to start with or by all means, continue on.

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B1 helps convert food into energy and for the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain; it is also critical for nerve function.

Best Food Source

  • pork chops
  • brown rice
  • ham
  • soy milk
  • watermelons.
  • squash

You are more than likely getting enough of this vitamin because most nutritious foods contain some thiamine.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin also known as vitamin G)

Vitamin B2 helps convert food into energy and is needed for healthy skin, hair, blood, and the brain.

Best Food Source


  • Milk
  • eggs
  • yoghurt
  • cheese
  • meats
  • green leafy vegetables
  • whole and enriched grains
  • cereals.

Most people tend to get enough of this particular nutrient.

Vitamin B3 Niacin (nicotinic acid not the same as nicotine)

Vitamin B3 helps convert food into energy, essential for healthy skin, blood cells, the brain, and the nervous system.

Best Food Source

  • meat, poultry
  • fish
  • fortified
  • whole grains
  • mushrooms
  • iris & sweet potato
  • peanut butter

This particular vitamin occurs naturally in food and can also be manufactured in the body using the amino acid tryptophan with the help of Vitamin B6.


Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Vitamin B5 helps convert food into energy and make lipids (fats), neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and haemoglobin.

The Best Food Source

Fortunately, this specific vitamin is present in a wide variety of foods, including:

  • chicken
  • egg yolk
  • whole grains
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • avocados
  • tomato products

A deficiency in this vitamin can cause burning feet and other neurologic symptoms.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 aids in lowering homocysteine levels, an amino acid that is a chemical your body manufactures naturally to produce proteins.

Low levels of homocysteine in your body may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B6 also plays a vital role in converting tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in sleep, appetite, and mood.


B6 also aids in producing blood cells and influences cognitive abilities and immune function, particularly between the ages of 31–50.

Best Food Source

  • meat & poultry,
  • fish
  • legumes
  • tofu and other soy products
  • Irish & sweet potato
  • non-citrus fruits such as bananas and watermelons

Many people do not get enough of this nutrient.

B7 (biotin vitamin H, coenzyme R)

Vitamin H, more commonly known as biotin, is part of the B complex group of vitamins. All B vitamins help your body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which produces energy.

Biotin also helps make and break down some fatty acids, especially needed for healthy bones and hair.

Best Food Source

Many foods contain biotin, including:

  • organ meats, e.g. liver, kidney
  • fish
  • egg yolks
  • soybeans

Some biotin is produced in your body by bacteria that reside in your gastrointestinal tract. However, it is not clear how much of this the body absorbs.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid/folate)

Vital for new cell creation also helps prevent brain and spine congenital disabilities when taken early in pregnancy.

Vitamin B9 should be taken regularly by all women of child-bearing age because many women may not know they are pregnant in those first weeks of pregnancy.

B9 may also reduce the risk of colon cancer and may offset breast cancer risk among women who consume alcohol.

Folic Acid should be taken by men as well as women because it is vital in the repair, formation, and regeneration of cells.

It can also aid in the recovery of alcoholics who suffer from alcoholic liver disease (ALD) because it is typically associated with folate deficiency.

However, it should be noted that taking a higher dose than 1mg per day can mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, this can eventually cause damage to the nervous system if it’s not spotted and treated earlier enough.

Best Food Source

  • fortified grains and cereals
  • asparagus
  • okra
  • spinach
  • turnip greens
  • broccoli
  • legumes like black-eyed peas and chickpeas
  • orange juice
  • tomatoes & tomato juice

All are excellent sources of vitamin B9, and many people don’t get enough of this nutrient.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 also aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may even help reduce the risk of heart disease. It also assists in making new cells and breaking down some fatty acids and amino acids.

B12 also protects nerve cells and encourages average growth as it aids the production of red blood cells.

Also supports DNA production, the genetic material found in all cells, and helps prevent a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak.

A lack of vitamin B12 can cause memory loss, dementia, and numbness in the arms and legs.

Best Food Source

  • best-food-source-for-vitamin-bmeat
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • fish
  • milk, cheese,
  • fortified cereals,
  • fortified soy, almond and rice milk.

Some people, particularly older adults, are deficient in vitamin B12 because they have trouble absorbing this particular vitamin from food.

If you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may not be getting enough B12 because it is mainly only found in animal and animal by-products.

In either case, you may want to consider taking some form of supplements seriously.

It is essential to good health that you provide your body and your immune system with all the essential vitamins and minerals they need.

B Complex Vitamins Are Essential to Life

So it’s clear, from the very start the B Complex Vitamins play a vital role and are essential in the repair and formation of new cells along with growth.

B vitamins continue working hard throughout your life in the producing cells, influencing cognitive development and abilities.

Evidence also suggests that some of the B vitamins may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, especially breast cancer and colon cancers.

B Complex Vitamins Essential Beauty Aids

Let’s not forget their significant contribution to nature’s make up bag, keeping you young looking and full of vitality. B Complex Vitamins are essential in the regeneration of cells, skin and the reduction of wrinkles.

It’s always best to cook fresh ingredients when preparing meals so you get as many vitamins and minerals as you can from your diet. However, there are many that you are unable to obtain from diet alone, or if you do, the quantities are not sufficient to requirements.

Supplements can help with this problem, but you must understand what they are and which ones are right for your individual need.

Too much can cause more harm than good; too little do no good at all.

Final Thoughts

The more research I do, the more I realise just how unique our immune systems are, it’s incredible how much it actually does, and when at its healthiest, what it can potentially do.

Its primary role is to keep you alive and kicking, protecting you from and controlling infection, illness and chronic disease.

You should only take the vitamins supplements that individually suit you, your body and your immune system needs, with that in mind a tailored approach is a must.

*Please note the information in this post is intended for the purpose of general information only and should not be used as a substitute for the individual expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals & that I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post.

2 thoughts on “B Complex Vitamins What Are They & What Do They Do?

  1. Shia says:

    Love the info on vitimin B food sources sometimes im not quite sure which foods contain these vits.

    1. Mitch says:

      Hey Shia, ??‍♀️

      Great to see you again, yes it can get confusing as to what foods contain what vitamins or minerals.

      Its save to say as long as you are eating a well balanced diet which includes meat, fish, dairy products, oils, plenty of fruit and veg you should be getting most of what your body requires.

      However, there some are vitamin and minerals is unable to produce on its own or has a hard time producing the levels needed dependent on gender, age or circumstance, this is when supplements are a good idea.

      Oh and not forgetting water make sure you keep hydrated at all times, just like a beautiful flower in the garden you need watering too.

      Thanks Shea ??

      See You again Soon X:-).


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