The fact that the vitamins in this group are known by both letters and numbers becomes confusing to many people. It’s just often more difficult to remember numbers, which means you may remember it’s one of the “B vitamins” but don’t know which number goes with that particular number. It can help to find out that each of the B vitamins also has a name.
B1 is also thiamine
B2 is also riboflavin
• B3 is also niacin
• B5 is also pantothenic acid
B6 is also pyridoxine
• B7 is also biotin
• B9 is also folic acid
B12 is also cobalamin
Keep in mind that there are four additional substances in the B complex group, although they are not known as vitamins because they are not needed for normal body function. They are choline, lipoic acid, PABA and inositol. When you buy B complex vitamins, these four are not included and at least one or two of the recognized B vitamins can also be omitted. B5 and B7 are so widely available in the diet that most people just get enough of these vitamins, even if they don’t eat a healthy diet.
One of the most widely recognized uses of the B vitamins is undoubtedly an energy booster. Some health care professionals praise the benefits of taking B12 in high doses to combat fatigue, but most seem to agree that starting a regimen of B vitamins is advisable only in severe cases.
More recently, research suggests that some B vitamin deficiencies can exacerbate certain health conditions or health risks, and that an increase in those vitamins will help relieve symptoms or reduce the risk. Alzheimer’s disease, in particular, is one of those diseases, and people suffering from this disease sometimes show improvement daily from added vitamin B. Vitamin B2 has also been used to help some migraine sufferers.
The correlation between certain health conditions and vitamin deficiencies is certain, although finding the right treatment can be tricky. One of the most common problems with using B complex group vitamins to treat health problems is the fact that many diseases and health problems have overlapping symptoms. Treating those symptoms can ultimately cause more problems than cure. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any extraordinary steps toward a vitamin regimen, including those with complex B vitamins.