They're needed in small amounts, but the B vitamins play a vital role in your health. They help convert the food you eat into energy and assist with making red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 is one of the eight B vitamins, while B-100, also referred to as B-complex, is a multivitamin supplement that contains high amounts of all the B vitamins. Check with your health care specialist before adding a B-100 supplement to your diet.
Making Red Blood Cells
Vitamin B-12 and folate are the B vitamins your body needs to make red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 helps incorporate and retain folate in the red blood cells, and folate is needed to help with DNA formation. Vitamin B-6 makes hemoglobin, which transports the oxygen in your red blood cells. The B-100 supplement contains 100 micrograms of vitamin B-12, meeting 1,667 percent of the daily value; 100 milligrams of vitamin B-6, meeting 5,000 percent of the daily value; and 400 micrograms of folate, meeting 100 percent of the daily value.
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When it comes to getting energy from the food you eat, you need all the B vitamins, not just vitamin B-12. They work together to help turn the carbs found in foods such as bread and fruit into glucose, which your cells then use for energy. The B vitamins also help your body metabolize protein and fat.
The body also needs all the B vitamins for your nervous system. Vitamin B-12 plays an especially important role by helping maintain healthy nerve cells. Additionally, women of childbearing age need adequate amounts of folate in their diet to prevent defects of the brain or spine in their children. Thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1, is necessary for muscle contraction and nerve signals. The B-100 complex contains 100 milligrams of thiamine, meeting 6,667 percent of the daily value.
Supplements Versus Food
The B vitamins are found in a variety of different foods including meats, fish, eggs, leafy greens and beans, and supplements may not be necessary if you eat a varied diet. Your body does not store B vitamins, and if you consume more than you need they are eliminated in your urine. The B-100 complex contains amounts well above the recommended levels, and you are more than likely flushing most of those vitamins down the toilet. Vitamin B-12 is only found in animal products, and deficiencies can occur in people who abstain from eating animal foods such as vegans. Vitamin B-12 also requires intrinsic factor for absorption, which is lacking in some people. In both instances, vitamin B-12 supplementation may be necessary. If you think you are deficient, ask your doctor before supplementing.
- MedlinePlus: B Vitamins
- Nature Made: Balanced B100 Complex
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B Complex
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B12
- University of Virginia School of Medicine: Megaloblastic Anemia
- MedlinePlus: Folic Acid
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B6
- MedlinePlus: Thiamin
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C