Vitamin B Complex: The healthy upside of complexity

B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — known as "vitamin B complex", play an important role in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning properly.

The B vitamins are a chemically related family of nutrients that work as a team. Their mood-boosting, energising, and cell-health maintenance properties are the result of intricate behind-the-scenes work in the body. While B vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefit: some B vitamins help cells burn fats and glucose for energy, while others help make neurotransmitters like serotonin, and some B's assist with the production and repair of DNA.

Research suggests that we don’t get enough vitamin B’s, but getting all the required vitamin B’s into your diet is no simple task. Not all types of vitamin B do the same thing and different types of vitamin B come from different foods.

As a start, it makes sense to ensure that your diet contains plenty of B-rich foods such as dark green vegetables, protein from animal sources, and whole grains. However, if your stress levels are high or your mood feels a little off, and your diet is low in vitamin B's, then you could definitely benefit from the higher amounts found in vitamin B supplements.

What are each of the 8 B vitamins that make up vitamin B complex?


Alternative Names – Thiamin / Thiamine

Role in the human body
Vitamin B1 acts as a coenzyme for energy production and therefore is important for muscles activity. It also contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system.

Where it is found
Vitamin B1 is in yeast, meat (especially pork and ham products), tuna, breakfast cereals, whole grains, nuts, potatoes, seeds, and pulses.


Alternative Name - Riboflavin

Role in the human body
Vitamin B2 is converted in the body to coenzymes responsible for many enzymatic reactions involved in energy production, red blood cell formation, antibody production and maintenance of vision, skin, hair and nails. It is also essential for the conversion of vitamin B6 and folic acid into their active forms within the body. Vitamin B2 also helps to maintain proper eyesight.

Where it is found
The most important and common dietary sources of vitamin B2 are milk and milk products, lean meat, eggs, and dark green leafy vegetables.


Alternative Names – Niacin / Niacinamide

Role in the human body
Vitamin B3 contributes to proper nerve conduction and function, muscle action, digestive health, maintenance of skin and tongue integrity, i.e. it helps convert food into energy. One of the primary uses for niacin is to boost HDL cholesterol (i.e. the good cholesterol). A deficiency in vitamin B3 may cause digestive issues, such as nausea and abdominal cramps. It has also been found to treat acne.

Where it is found
Red meat, liver, chicken, beans, cereal grains, enriched and whole-grains such as wheat and barley, peanuts, fish are all good sources of vitamin B3.


Alternative Name - Pantothenic acid

Role in the human body
Vitamin B5 is involved in energy production, fatty acid metabolism, maintenance and repair of cells and tissues, synthesis of hormones, drug metabolism and alcohol detoxification. Research shows B5 may also promote healthy skin, with the ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as redness and skin spots

Where it is found
Small amounts of vitamin B5 are found in just about every food group; meat, liver, kidney, poultry, fish, shellfish, avocados, peas, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, peanuts, yeast, eggs, milk, yogurt, and legumes.


Alternative Name - Pyridoxine

Role in the human body
Vitamin B6 serves as a coenzyme of approximately 100 enzymes that are involved in essential chemical reactions in the body that contribute to normal functioning of the immune system, nervous system and psychological function, red blood cell formation and energy production. Pyridoxine is a major player in mood and sleep patterns because it helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine, a stress hormone. Some research studies suggest vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation for people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Where it is found
Excellent sources of vitamin B6 are chicken and the liver of beef, pork, and veal. Good sources include fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, herring), nuts (walnuts, peanuts), bread, courgettes, bananas, corn, carrots, brown rice, and whole grain cereals.


Alternative Name - Biotin

Role in the human body
Vitamin B7 contributes to the maintenance of healthy hair, skin, and nails. It also acts as a coenzyme for energy metabolism. Vitamin B7 is especially important during pregnancy because it is vital for normal growth of the baby.

Where it is found
The richest sources of vitamin B7 are yeast, liver, and kidney. Barley, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks, soybeans, nuts, and cereals are also good sources.


Alternative Names - Folate / Folic acid

Role in the human body
Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9 and folic acid is a synthetic folate compound used in vitamin supplements. Vitamin B9 has many functions within the body including energy production, blood cell formation and normal psychological function. Research suggest folate may help with depression and prevent memory loss. This vitamin is also especially important for women who are pregnant since it supports the growth of the baby and prevents neurological birth defects.

Where it is found
The richest sources of vitamin B9 are liver, dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, beans, peanuts, wheat germ and yeast. Other sources are egg yolk, milk and dairy products, beets, orange juice, and whole wheat bread.


Alternative Name - Cobalamin

Role in the human body
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of blood cells, nerve sheaths and various proteins. Cobalamin works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help iron do its job: create the oxygen carrying protein, haemoglobin. It is therefore essential for growth, normal function of the blood, nervous and immune systems. It is also involved in energy production from fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Where it is found
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products and is produced exclusively by bacteria in the digestive tract of animals. Therefore, animal protein products are the main source of vitamin B12, in particular organ meats such as liver and kidney. Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products.

If you're not getting enough B vitamins from your diet, taking a B complex supplement may well be beneficial. Australia Health Warehouse have a variety to Vitamin B’s for you to choose from.

Blackmores Executive B Stress Formula
Blackmores Mega B Complex 
Swisse Ultiboost Mega B+
Swisse Ultiboost Memory + Focus

Grab these and other awesome products on our website:



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  • “Dietary folate and vitamin B6 and B12 intake in relation to mortality from cardiovascular diseases: Japan collaborative cohort study.” Cui R, Iso H, Date C, Kikuchi S, Tamakoshi A; Japan Collaborative Cohort Study Group. Stroke. 2010 Jun;41(6):1285-9. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.578906. Epub 2010 Apr 15.
  • “Effects of vitamin-B complex supplementation on periodontal wound healing.” Neiva RF, Al-Shammari K, Nociti FH Jr, Soehren S, Wang HL. J Periodontol. 2005 Jul;76(7):1084-91.

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