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B vitamins are nutrients that play essential roles in your body. There are eight water-soluble B vitamins plus choline, which is a vitamin-like compound that’s often grouped with B vitamins due to its similar effects on the body (
The eight B vitamins are:
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folate)
- B12 (cobalamin)
Though each B vitamin has unique functions, many of them are involved in the same bodily processes, such as metabolism and acting as cofactors for enzymatic reactions (
B complex supplements contain a combination of B vitamins. Some contain all eight, while others provide just a few. Plus, some contain vitamin-B-like nutrients, such as choline and inositol, a type of carbohydrate that was once considered a B vitamin (3,
Although many foods contain B vitamins, a variety of factors, including age, diet, genetic variations, and certain health conditions can increase your need for B vitamins or negatively affect how you absorb B vitamins.
Many populations, including vegans, those with certain genetic mutations, older adults, people with certain medical conditions, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people on certain medications, and people with substance use disorder, may need a B complex supplement (
The supplements included on this list all contain highly absorbable forms of B vitamins, including methylcobalamin, the active form of B12, and the biologically active form of folate called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) (
Additionally, the following criteria were used to narrow down the best B complex supplements:
- strict standards for quality and purity from the manufacturer
- the bioavailability of its nutrients
- whether it contains unnecessary ingredients like fillers, artificial sweeteners, or colors
- whether healthcare professionals trust it
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or control supplements in the same way as medications or food products.
Therefore, it’s especially important to evaluate the quality of supplements by other means before buying a product.
- $ = under $0.50 per serving
- $$ = $0.50–$1 per serving
- $$$ = over $1 per serving
Here are the 13 best B complex supplements for 2021.
The following B-complex supplement subscriptions are some of the best on the market.
Care/of is a vitamin subscription service that provides non-GMO, sugar-free, gluten-free vitamins that don’t contain unneeded fillers.
Their B-complex vitamins include 9 mg of vitamin B2, 9 mg of vitamin B6 and 120 mcg of vitamin B12. Care/of claims that the vitamins are great for boosting energy and hair health, and support the nervous system and boost metabolism.
The Care/of B-Complex vitamins are cultured with whole and organic foods and are vegan, but they do contain soy.
Ritual is a subscription service that offers high quality vitamin supplements, including this multivitamin that caters specifically to women ages 18 years and older.
This vitamin includes 8 mcg of vitamin B12, and uses a biologically active form in the vitamin.
This means this is the same form of that vitamin that’s naturally found in our bodies and in the foods we eat, such as red meat, milk, and nori.
Ritual gives their customers detailed information on how their ingredients are sourced as well as the benefits of including vitamin B12 in their vitamins, which include brain support and a healthy metabolism.
Persona is a subscription service that allows you to personalize your vitamins and get them delivered right to your door.
Their subscription service also allows you unlimited access to expert nutritionists to get advice and have questions answered about your personal vitamin plan.
Vitamin B12 helps brain function, nerve function, support blood cells, and fill gaps in your diet. The vitamin has 500 mcg of B12, as well as other vegan ingredients.
Persona’s B12 vitamin is dairy- and lactose-free, allergen-free, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO.
Amazon Elements is a vitamin line that Amazon produces that strives to source the ingredients in their products in a careful way.
They also make sure that all of their products are tested for potency, integrity, and purity.
Their vitamin B12 tablet contains 5,000 mcg of the vitamin in the form of methylcobalamin. The tablets are vegan, gluten-free, and free of artificial colors, flavors, and chemical preservatives.
Amazon gives you the option of a one-time purchase for their vitamins, or you can opt for a personalized subscription where vitamins are delivered in a time period of your choosing.
The following B complex supplements are some of the best on the market.
Integrative Therapeutics is a trusted brand in the medical field.
They manufacture their supplements in a cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) audited facility and use both in-house and third-party testing to ensure supplement quality.
GMPs refer to standards the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set to ensure that supplements are of good quality.
This supplement is also NSF Certified for Sport. NSF is an independent organization that tests for supplement quality. NSF Certified for Sport supplements are free of more than 270 substances many major athletic organizations have banned (10).
Integrative Therapeutics is a well-rounded B complex vitamin that uses bioavailable forms of B vitamins, including 5-MTHF and methylcobalamin. In addition to the eight B vitamins, it provides choline and inositol.
Pure Encapsulations is a supplement company that exceeds standards set by United States Pharmacopeia (USP), a nonprofit organization that sets strict, product-specific standards for the quality, purity, and identity of supplements. The company is also GMP certified (11).
Pure Encapsulations’ supplements are certified gluten-free, and all ingredients used are GMO-free.
Pure Encapsulations B-complex Plus contains all eight B vitamins and uses 5-MTHF and methylcobalamin.
Douglas Labs is a GMP and NSF International registered manufacturing facility that produces high quality supplements.
Their in-house testing laboratories have ISO accreditation, which ensures that laboratories operate competently and generate valid results when testing products.
Douglas Labs B-Complex with Metafolin and Intrinsic Factor contains all eight B vitamins, including Metafolin, which is a calcium salt of L-5-MTHF. Studies have shown that Metafolin’s absorption is comparable with or higher than that of folic acid (
It also contains added intrinsic factor, a protein necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 (
Nordic Naturals is best known for its fish oil supplements, but they make an excellent B complex as well.
Nordic Naturals’ Vitamin B Complex contains all eight B vitamins in absorbable forms, including methylcobalamin and 5-MTHF.
All Nordic Naturals supplements are non-GMO, as well as gluten- and dairy-free, and do not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
The company also offers customers a certificate of analysis to verify that their products have undergone specified testing and adhere to product specifications and standards.
Some people prefer liquid supplements over capsules or chewable products. The following liquid B-complex supplements are some of the best.
Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Liquid is a good option for people who don’t like to or can’t swallow pills. It contains six B vitamins — vitamin B12, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid.
However, be aware that this B complex does not contain biotin or folate. If you have increased folate needs, such as pregnancy, that affect folate metabolism, you’ll need to supplement separately with folate.
Pure Encapsulations B-Complex liquid is sweetened with juice concentrates and stevia, which give it a pleasant taste without added sugar.
Brainchild Nutritionals takes pride in using high quality, highly absorbable ingredients in their supplement products.
Their B-Complex liquid contains all eight B vitamins in highly absorbable forms, plus biotin, inositol, and L-glycine.
L-glycine is an amino acid that’s needed for a variety of important processes, including the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant produced the body makes (
Brainchild Nutritional supplements undergo independent laboratory testing to ensure quality, purity, and potency. They’re free of eggs, gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, refined sugars, and soy as well as artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors.
Vegans are at risk of developing a deficiency in certain B vitamins, including vitamin B12, as these nutrients are most concentrated in animal-based foods (
Still, some high quality B complex supplements are vegan-friendly.
Thorne B-Complex #12 is a vegan B complex supplement that contains all eight B vitamins in active, absorbable forms, but it doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.
Thorne follows cGMP practices and boasts an “A” rating from the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), a regulatory agency run by the Australian Department of Health.
What’s more, their supplements undergo four rounds of testing to ensure quality and purity.
Gummy vitamins are enjoyed by children and adults alike and a tasty way to meet your nutrient needs. Here’s the best B complex gummy on the market.
Unlike most gummy supplements, Pure Encapsulations PureNutrients Gummies only contain 2 grams of added sugar per four-gummy serving. This is significantly less than the amount found in many popular gummy vitamins.
Although not technically a B complex vitamin, Pure Encapsulations PureNutrients Gummies contain all eight B vitamins in absorbable forms. Plus, the gummies provide other important nutrients, including vitamin D3, vitamin C, choline, and zinc.
Gummy vitamins can be easily mistaken for candy. For this reason, it’s important to keep them out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion.
Some people can’t tolerate active forms of vitamin B12 or folate and need to supplement separately with these nutrients.
Plus, B complex vitamins without these vitamins are ideal for those who need to customize their dosages and forms of folate and vitamin B12, such as people with certain genetic variants.
Seeking Health B-minus contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and biotin, but it leaves out folate and vitamin B12.
This is a good choice for people who don’t tolerate active forms of folate or vitamin B12, or need to take specific forms of these nutrients. This allows for separate supplementation of vitamin B12 and folate based on individual needs (
Seeking Health follows cGMP practices and offers certificates of analysis on their products by request.
While a number of B complex supplements are available at grocery stores, supplement stores, and online, not all of them contain the most absorbable forms of these nutrients.
Plus, most B complex vitamins contain folic acid, the synthetic form of the folate found in food. Folic acid differs structurally from folate and has different effects in the body.
Research has shown that high intake of folic acid can cause unmetabolized folic acid to accumulate in the blood, which has been associated with negative health outcomes, such as an increased risk of autism in offspring and accelerated mental decline (
For this reason, many experts suggest supplements containing 5-MTHF.
Plus, 5-MTHF is more appropriate for those who have genetic polymorphisms, such as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), that affect enzymes involved in folate metabolism (
When searching for a B complex vitamin, it’s important to purchase products from trusted brands, such as the ones listed above. This can help ensure you’re taking a high quality supplement that contains the readily absorbable forms of nutrients.
B vitamins are water soluble, and your body excretes whatever it doesn’t need via urine. However, B vitamin toxicity can still occur.
Even though these side effects are rare, it’s important to follow the directions on the supplement bottle or the dosing instructions your doctor provides.
This is especially true when taking a multivitamin that contains fat-soluble vitamins, as these are not excreted by your body like water-soluble vitamins.
Many people, including older adults, those with anxiety or depression, and people taking common medications, such as birth control and antidiabetic medications, may benefit from a B complex supplement (
Your doctor can help you determine whether taking a B complex vitamin is the right choice for you and suggest the optimal dosage.
To learn more about B complex vitamins and dosing, read this article.
B vitamins are needed for a variety of essential functions in your body. Yet, many people are at risk for deficiency in one or more B vitamins.
Fortunately, a number of high quality B complex supplements are available, no matter your dietary restrictions or nutrient needs.
If you’re looking for a high quality B complex supplement, try out one of the products listed above.
If you’re curious to learn whether a B complex would benefit your health, speak to a trusted healthcare professional for advice.