Vitamin B Complex
Good things come in threes, or in the case of vitamin B-eights! Learn why B complex vitamins matter.
It’s a slightly misleading term, vitamin B. Unlike other big-name essential nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin D), vitamin B isn’t a single compound. It’s actually a group of eight individual chemical compounds with similar structure, yet widely varying roles in the body. Together, they’re known as vitamin B complex.
Overall, vitamin B is best known for helping the body get (or make) energy from food. It’s also essential for the formation of red blood cells. But, just like in your family, members of the vitamin-B bunch have different jobs that give them personality. Vitamin B-2, for example, is an antioxidant agent, hunting down and squashing free radicals, while vitamin B-9 (folic acid) really shines when it comes to making sure new babies have healthy brains and spinal cords.
Luckily, B vitamins aren't in short supply in foods. It’s especially plentiful in protein sources (meat, dairy, nuts and beans), but some fruits and vegetables supply good amounts. Because it’s water-soluble, vitamin B is washed away when it’s not needed. But this also means it’s not stored, so you have to keep it coming.
Vitacost.com is a great place to shop for vitamin B supplements. Whether you want a complete B complex or a bottle of Bs in individual form, you’ll find dozens of brands, a wide range of doses and prices that can’t be beat.