Best B-Complex Supplements of 2022, According to a Dietitian

Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action is NSF certified and in a slow release tablet

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B-Complex refers to the eight B vitamins found in our diets, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin). B vitamins are most notably involved in energy production, protein metabolism, and cell division. Lucky for us, many people can easily meet their B vitamin requirements from their diets, and there are no demonstrated benefits of getting extra B vitamins beyond the body’s requirements. 

People with limited diets, older adults, those with gastrointestinal conditions, pregnant people, and people who have undergone bariatric surgery may benefit from B vitamin supplementation. Some folks may just need to supplement with one or two B vitamins rather than taking the entire B-complex, so it is important to talk with a healthcare provider if you are thinking of supplementing with any B vitamins.

When choosing a B-complex supplement, look for which B vitamins are included and the dosage of each compared to your needs, note what other ingredients the supplement contains, and aim for a supplement that is third-party tested to verify that it contains what it says it contains.

Verywell Health Approved B-Complex Supplements

  • Best Overall: Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action is an NSF certified B-complex supplement that contains at least 100% of all B vitamins in a slow release tablet.
  • Best Budget: Nature Made Super B-Complex is a USP certified supplement that contains all eight B vitamins with an added boost of vitamin C at an affordable price point.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Are B-Complex Supplements Beneficial?

While the B vitamins can work in conjunction with each other, each one has its own unique structure and function in the body. Since most people obtain adequate B vitamins in their diets, B vitamin deficiencies are rare in the United States. Deficiencies cause various symptoms including impaired cognition, skin rashes, anemia, and reduced immune function. If you have a deficiency in any B vitamins, be sure to discuss recommended dosage with a healthcare provider to find a supplement that provides adequate amounts.

Those who might benefit from B vitamin supplementation include:

  • People with limited diets: According to Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, “People who do not eat a balanced diet may benefit from a B-complex, as this supplement could help fill potential nutritional gaps. For example, people who follow a vegan lifestyle run the risk of becoming deficient in certain B vitamins—specifically vitamin B12. Sources of vitamin B12 most often include foods derived from animals (i.e., beef, chicken, eggs, and milk).”
  • Pregnant People: “B vitamins are especially important during pregnancy because they help reduce the risk of birth defects,” says Paula Doebrich, RDN, MPH. Women who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding have an increased need for folate and must take a folate supplement. However, it might make the most sense to get the necessary B vitamins from a prenatal-specific multivitamin. If your prenatal does not contain adequate levels of B vitamins, a B-complex supplement may be beneficial.
  • People looking to support wound healing or prevent canker sores: In addition to their basic everyday functions, research shows the important role that B vitamins play in wound healing. Thiamine is particularly vital to promote wound healing and increase breaking strength during healing. There is also evidence to support B-complex supplementation to help prevent recurring canker sores in the mouth, particularly with vitamin B12.
  • Older adults: B-complex supplementation may have some benefit on cognitive function for older adults who have mild cognitive impairment or those without cognitive impairment. Older adults may be at particularly high risk of B12 deficiency, as they are often less able to absorb the micronutrient. Supplementation may help prevent or correct related issues, including issues with red blood cell formation and psychiatric symptoms.
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders: People with gastrointestinal disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can have malabsorption of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1, B6, B12, and folate. A B-complex supplement can help counteract malabsorption and ensure adequate nutrient levels.

Who May Not Benefit From B-Complex Supplements

For most healthy individuals eating a well-balanced diet, B-complex supplements are not necessary. B vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods in different amounts, including leafy greens, salmon, legumes, eggs, milk, beef, and whole grains.

The FDA does not evaluate any supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market, including B-complex supplements. Some of the B vitamins may interfere with certain medications. For example, folate may reduce the effectiveness of methotrexate (used to treat certain cancers and autoimmune diseases) and some antiepileptic drugs. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any supplementation routine, especially if you are taking any medications.

Supplement companies may claim that a B-complex supplement offers a host of other benefits, including reducing anxiety, improving athletic performance, and treating ADHD. However, research in these other areas is limited with mixed results. We need more research to make conclusions about the effectiveness of B-complex supplementation in these other areas. And, since B vitamins are found naturally in several foods in our diets, most people will get enough B vitamins from eating a well-balanced diet.

Best Overall: Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action

Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action

Amazon

Pros
  • NSF certified

  • Contains at least 100% of all eight B vitamins

  • Slow release tablet

Cons
  • Contains spirulina, which may not be beneficial for all

Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action stands out as a top pick for B-complex supplements, as it contains all eight of the B vitamins in a “dual action” slow-release tablet that dissolves over eight hours. It releases B12 and B2 quickly, then slowly releases the other B vitamins throughout the day, providing you with 125% to 417% of your daily B vitamin needs. It's also certified by NSF, so you can feel extra confident that it contains exactly what's on the label with no harmful contaminants.

This supplement provides vitamin B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin. In addition to the B vitamins, it contains 75 milligrams of spirulina, a type of blue green algae that contains protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. While the amount of spirulina in this supplement may be too low to have any effect, spirulina may lower blood pressure, slow blood clotting, increase immune system activity, and lower blood sugar. Please talk to a healthcare provider before starting this supplement if you are taking medication for diabetes, immunosuppressants, or anticoagulants.

Nutrilite Vitamin B Dual Action is a great supplement to take to ensure you are getting adequate B vitamins in your diet, without providing too much above the recommended intake.

Price at time of publication: $43 for 120 count ($0.36 per serving)

Form: Tablet | Type: Cyanocobalamin, folate | Dosage: 1 tablet daily, preferably with a meal in the morning

Best Budget: Nature Made Super B-Complex

Nature Made Super B-Complex

Meijer

Pros
  • USP certified and verified

  • Affordable

  • Addition of vitamin C

  • Top pick by ConsumerLabs.com

Cons
  • Pills may have a strong smell and taste

We love that NatureMade makes high quality supplements at an affordable price point. Their Super B-Complex is no exception. It's USP certified and a top pick from ConsumerLabs.com, so you can feel confident that what is on the label is what's in the bottle. You’ll get all eight B vitamins from this tablet, ranging from 118% to 8,333% of your daily needs of each. As a bonus, this Super B-Complex contains 167% of the daily value of vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant and is involved in immune function.

The small pills are easy to swallow, though you might notice they have a particular smell and flavor. While excess B vitamins are likely not harmful and your body can easily get rid of them, these do have high levels of both thiamin and riboflavin. In fact, this pick is particularly high in thiamin, with one tablet providing 100 mg or 8,333% of daily needs. While thiamin does not have an unsafe Upper Limit, it is worth noting supplements with doses higher than 50 mg per day of thiamin have not been well studied. If you have questions about this level of thiamin, ask a healthcare provider for individual recommendation.

Price at time of publication: $14 for 140 count ($0.10 per serving)

Form: Tablet | Type: Cyanocobalamin, folate | Dose: 1 tablet daily with a meal and water

Best Allergy-Friendly: Thorne Research B-Complex #6

Thorne Research B-Complex #6

iHerb

Pros
  • NSF tested and certified for sport

  • Safe for those with food allergies

  • May reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome

Cons
  • Insufficient folate for pregnancy



We love that Thorne is dedicated to making high quality supplements, and their NSF certified for sport B-Complex #6 is no exception. The Thorne brand is known for its hypoallergenic products and dedication to the purest ingredients. This product is made without gluten, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, yeast, dairy, shellfish, or fish. The B-Complex #6 has all eight B vitamins, with extra B6. Amounts range from 84% to 5882% of your daily B vitamin needs.

This supplement may be especially beneficial for women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Vitamin B6 is involved in neurotransmitter synthesis, which is essential for mood and stress support. Some research has shown supplemental B6 to relieve premenstrual symptoms.

While this supplement contains ample amounts of most B vitamins, it contains slightly below the recommended daily amount of folate, so we would not recommend this supplement for pregnant people and people of child bearing age. You may also notice that the amount of niacin in Thorne's B-Complex #6 exceeds the established upper intake level (UL). However, Thorne carefully formulates their supplements, and the form of niacin used in this supplement is niacinamide, which has not demonstrated adverse effects until much higher doses than the upper limit and than what is included in this supplement.

Price at time of publication: $19 for 60 count ($0.32 per serving)

Form: Capsule | Type: Methylcobalamin, methyltetrahydrofolate | Dose: 1 capsule daily

Best Whole Food: Garden of Life Vitamin B Complex

Garden of Life Vitamin B

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • ConsumerLab.com approved

  • Certified vegan & gluten-free

  • Made from whole foods

Cons
  • Long ingredients list

If you prioritize supplements from real foods, Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw B Complex is an excellent choice. While many supplement brands don't list where their vitamins are sourced from, Garden of Life supplements are derived from whole food blends—including foods like organic broccoli and organic spinach.

Vitamin Code Raw B-complex supplement provides all eight of the B vitamins in various amounts, from 113% to 5542% your daily needs. We like that the vitamin B12 is in the methylcobalamin form which is highly absorbable.

This product is ConsumerLab.com approved, certified vegan, NSF Certified Gluten Free, and Non-GMO Project Verified. In addition to the organic food blend, this supplement has an added raw probiotic and enzyme blend which some people may not want or need. Therefore, we recommend to ask a healthcare professional before taking this supplement especially if you are on any medication.

Price at time of publication: $38 for 120 count ($0.63 per serving)

Form: Capsule | Type: Methylcobalamin, folate | Dosage: 2 capsules daily with or without food

Best Vegan: Nordic Naturals Vitamin B Complex

Nordic Naturals Vitamin B Complex

Amazon

Pros
  • Certified vegan

  • Certificate of analysis available

  • Exact amount of B12 recommended for vegans and vegetarians

Cons
  • Insufficient folate for pregnancy

With Nordic Naturals B-Complex, you'll get a dose of all eight B vitamins, ranging from 83% to 10,417% of your daily needs. Nordic Naturals prioritizes the forms of the vitamins that are activated and more readily absorbed by your body.

This might be a great supplement choice if you are vegan or vegetarian, and that's not just because it's certified vegan. Our bodies absorb only about 1% of the B12 we get from supplements, and the main food sources of B12 are animal foods. Because of this, nutrition experts recommend that vegans supplement with over 10,000% of the daily value of vitamin B12 each day and that vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs take this amount of B12 a few times per week. Nordic Naturals B-complex provides this exact amount of B12.

This option is also Non-GMO verified. Each Nordic Naturals supplement is third-party tested for purity. The company also offers the ability to look up a certificate of analysis for the products you purchase, and prioritizes minimal added ingredients beyond the vitamins.

Price at time of publication: $23 for 45 count ($0.51 per serving)

Form: Capsule | Type: Methylcobalamin, Methyltetrahydrofolate | Dose: 1 capsule daily

Best Gluten Free: New Chapter Fermented Vitamin B Complex

New Chapter Fermented Vitamin B Complex

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Certified organic and gluten-free

  • Vegetarian

  • Form may be more absorbable

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with soy allergies

  • No third party testing

For consumers who need to follow a gluten-free diet, it is important that supplements are also gluten-free. This Fermented Vitamin B Complex supplement by New Chapter is certified gluten-free by NSF. It’s also USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Each tablet provides all eight B vitamins, ranging from 100% to 500% of your daily needs.

You’ll find vitamin B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin and folate in the form of methylfolate, both highly bioavailable forms. The vitamins in this supplement are derived from fermented foods (such as organic soy flour), which may support better digestion and absorption of nutrients. While New Chapter does not have third party testing, they do in house testing for heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, and ingredient testing.

It is important to note that this supplement contains an herbal blend of maca, schizandra, and cardamom, which may be problematic for people on certain medications or with certain health conditions. Double check with a healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications.

Price at time of publication: $25 for 60 count ($0.42 per serving)

Form: Tablet | Type: Cyanocobalamin, methylfolate | Dose: 1 tablet daily

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLabs.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look for in a B-Complex Supplement

Third-Party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third-party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies, it does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer, and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

Form

Vitamins exist in different forms, and some forms are better absorbed by our bodies than others. For B-complex supplements, the forms of folate are particularly important to look for. Folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, is better absorbed by the body than folate, including food sources of folate. Another readily bioavailable form of supplemental folate is methylfolate.

Vitamin B12 will likely be listed as cyanocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin, or hydroxocobalamin. Absorption rates of each type are similar.

Is PABA in B Complex?

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is often referred to as vitamin B10 and may be in some B-complex supplements. PABA is also found in some sunscreens, as it has been shown to absorb UV rays. While PABA is called a B vitamin, it is not currently considered an essential nutrient we need to get in the diet.

While some B-complex supplements have PABA in low doses, the effect of taking PABA as a supplement is not well studied, especially in high doses. Therefore, we did not include in this roundup B-complex supplements that have PABA as an ingredient.

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to your healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Some of the B vitamins may interact with certain medications, including antiepileptics, anticonvulsants, and methotrexate. Speak to a healthcare provider about potential medication interactions before beginning any new supplements.

B-Complex Dosage

There are no regulations or standards that dictate what nutrients a B-complex supplement must contain and in what amounts. Therefore, different supplements will contain different amounts of each vitamin.

Similarly, there are no established Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines for B-complex supplements. However, there are RDAs and ULs established for the individual B vitamins themselves, which can be found in the Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets provided by the National Institutes of Health.

You may notice supplement ingredient labels list amounts higher than the RDA for B vitamins. It’s important to note there are several factors that impact the bioavailability of nutrients, or the amount your body can actually absorb and use the vitamins. Because your body may not actually use the entire amount added, supplement companies often add more than the RDA. 

Be sure to carefully read the supplement facts panel to ensure the amount of each B vitamin included is appropriate for your needs. If you have a deficiency or are at risk of a deficiency, you may need particularly high doses of certain B vitamins—a healthcare provider can tell you the specific quantities to look for.

Here are a few specific dosage recommendations for vegans and pregnant people:

  • Vegans and vegetarians: Vegans should supplement with 250 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day, and vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy should supplement with this amount every few days.
  • Pregnancy: The CDC recommends women who may become pregnant consume at least 400 mcg of folate daily in the form of folic acid.

How Much Is Too Much?

B-complex supplements generally include all eight B vitamins. Even though B vitamins are water-soluble and don’t build up in the body long term, please take care not to take large doses above the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL). 

The UL for folate/folic acid is 1000 mcg/day. Folate toxicity can cause kidney damage or mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The UL for niacin is 35 mg/day. This level was determined because 30-50 mg of niacin in the form of nicotinic acid may cause flushing. However, the niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide) form of niacin is not associated with flushing, and adverse effects have only been shows with doses much higher than this (typically 500 mg/day or more).

The UL for vitamin B6 is 100 mg per day. Toxicity can present as nerve damage or skin lesions.

Biotin, thiamin, riboflavin, B12, and pantothenic acid do not have listed UL levels because there has been no evidence of toxicity at high doses. However, biotin supplements can lead to falsely high or low lab values. In addition, supplements over 50 mg/day of thiamine have not been studied thoroughly. In general, cases of toxicity with B vitamins are rare and occur from excess supplementation in addition to adequate dietary intake of B vitamins.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the best time to take a B-complex supplement?

    Try taking your B-complex supplement first thing in the morning with a glass of water on an empty stomach. “Because many of the B-vitamins, especially B-12 and B-6 can increase energy production, it is best to take them in the morning,” Doebrich says.

    If you experience any gastrointestinal distress taking a supplement on an empty stomach, have a small meal or snack with the supplement.

  • What is in a B-complex supplement?

    Many, but not all, B-complex supplements contain all eight of the B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin). Take a look at a supplement's facts panel to know exactly what is included in a particular product.

    Most B-complex supplements contain ingredients that make up the capsules, including silica and cellulose. You may find options on the market with additional vitamins, minerals, whole food ingredients like fruits and vegetables, or functional ingredients.

  • Does a B-complex supplement provide energy?

    One of the major functions of B vitamins is to help produce energy for our bodies from the food we eat. Energy metabolism is a super complex process that involves several different nutrients, so consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients is essential for energy production.

    That said, taking a B-complex supplement if you are not deficient in these vitamins will not provide your body with energy. Our main source of energy is glucose, which is derived from all foods with carbohydrates. B vitamins play a vital role in the process of converting dietary carbohydrates into glucose to be used for energy. This is why it is important to get enough of these vitamins. However, supplementing beyond your needs will just cause your body to get rid of the excess B vitamins rather than using them for additional energy.

  • Can I take B12 and B-complex supplements together?

    Most B-complex supplements contain B12 in their formulation. If your supplement contains adequate B12, there is no need to take an additional B12 supplement. If your B-complex does not have B12 in the ingredients or contains a lower amount than a healthcare provider recommends for your needs, you can take a separate B12 supplement. 

    Note that even though B vitamins are not stored long term in the body, taking doses larger than the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels can lead to toxicity. Prevent toxicity by taking only as much of a supplement as is recommended by a healthcare provider.

  • Can taking a B-complex supplement ward off dementia?

    As of now, there is little significant evidence for taking a B-complex supplement to ward off dementia or cognitive decline. However, if your B12 levels are low, taking enough B12 to correct the deficiency may help slow age-related cognitive decline. The benefits of B12 supplementation may be enhanced by having adequate omega-3 fatty acid levels.

    In general, nutrients do not work in isolation to prevent diseases. Rather, it is an overall pattern of healthy lifestyle behaviors and adequate nutrition that provide the greatest reduction of disease risk. A balanced diet that includes adequate intake of the B vitamins, along with regular exercise and well-managed blood pressure, all can help lower the risk of developing dementia.

  • What is the price of vitamin B capsule?

    Pricing for vitamin B-complex can vary depending on amount of tablets or capsules per container and sources of ingredients. In general, the price per capsule or tablet can range between $0.10 and $0.40. Compared to pricing of other vitamin and mineral supplements, B-complex vitamin prices are on the lower end.

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