You’ve probably heard about the countless benefits of vitamin B12. But you may also come across vitamin B complex at some point. So, what’s the difference? Whether it’s better to choose vitamin B12 vs. vitamin B complex is actually a common question. Here is a straightforward comparison between the two to help you better understand them. 

What is Vitamin B Complex?

Vitamin B complex is a group of B vitamins that help facilitate various metabolic processes. Vitamin B complex includes eight vitamins, including vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin). 

Each of these vitamins are different in terms of their chemical composition. However, the vitamins that make up vitamin B complex are all water soluble and cannot be stored by the body. Because it is water soluble and excreted in the urine, vitamin B complex is rarely a supplement that is overdosed on. However, vitamin B complex should still be used as directed by a healthcare professional. 

When comparing vitamin B12 vs. vitamin B complex, it’s important to note that vitamin B12 is only one part of vitamin B complex.  

Sources of Vitamin B12 vs. Vitamin B Complex

There are several food products that contain vitamin B complex. Most of the eight vitamins in vitamin B complex can be found in foods like fish, beef liver, chicken, eggs, dairy products, beans, oats, nuts, spinach, and bananas. Vitamins in vitamin B complex are not generally found in plant products.

People who are primarily vegan or vegetarian may need to supplement with vitamin B12 or B complex to support the body’s metabolic processes. This is where supplements may be a useful tool. Supplements contain the purest form of the vitamin without the need to eat tons of fish or red meat in order to meet daily requirements. 

Deciding between Vitamin B12 vs. Vitamin B complex

We need to remember that, while vitamin B complex supports general functions, such as energy production and red blood cell production, each vitamin within vitamin B complex can still have a unique role. For example, vitamin B9 may be recommended for pregnant women because it maximizes fetal brain development. Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is involved with energy generation while vitamin B2, or riboflavin, acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin B3, or niacin, may help boost metabolism; vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, may help in lowering cholesterol levels; and vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, may be helpful for protecting against oxidative stress and complications from diabetes. 

When deciding between vitamin B12 vs. B complex, it is best to talk to your health care provider. Your health condition and your body’s needs will be considered when choosing between vitamin B12 and vitamin B complex. 

Vitamin B12

Of all the vitamins in the vitamin B complex family, the most commonly known is vitamin B12. This is because of its role in neurological function, red blood cell development, and DNA synthesis. It may also be recommended for men and women who need a boost with their weight loss goals. 

Vitamin B12 comes in several other types. You may have seen products marketed as cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, or methylcobalamin. While they all contain some form of vitamin B12, these forms of vitamin B12 are chemically different and target different processes. 

Who takes Vitamin B12 vs. Vitamin B complex supplements? 

While vitamin B12 is readily available in many animal products, there are many patients who still suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, either because they are not capable of absorbing the vitamin properly or there is a greater need for it. 

For example, vitamin B12 or B complex may be prescribed to individuals who drink alcohol on a regular basis. This is because ethanol, which is found in alcoholic drinks, can prevent the absorption of B vitamins. 

Vitamin B12 or vitamin B complex may also be recommended to people who require a greater need for the vitamin, like pregnant women and athletes.  

Take Away

When faced between choosing vitamin B12 or vitamin B complex, the solution is to know your current health status and goals. You and your doctor can determine if you need to supplement with vitamin B12 or vitamin B complex. 

If you’re looking for further guidance on whether to choose vitamin B12 or vitamin B complex, you can contact the experts at Rocky Mountain Skin Care Clinic. The team at Rocky Mountain Skin Care Clinic is available to answer any questions you may have.