There are eight B vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex. They are B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin).
These vitamins are water-soluble and many of them cannot be stored in the body so must be replenished regularly. Extended cooking, food processing and excess alcohol consumption can also destroy or reduce the availability of many of these vitamins.
The B vitamins are important for good immunity, cell health, red blood cell synthesis, healthy brain and nerve function, a healthy appetite and good digestion, hormone and cholesterol production, and good muscle tone.
Vitamin B deficiencies are associated with megaloblastic anemia, which can cause fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition, there are increased demands for folate during pregnancy due to the developing fetus, with low levels in pregnant women associates with an increased risk of neural tube defects.