Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News

The vital role of each B vitamin

Jan 02, 2024 03:19PM ● By Suzy Cohen

Did you know that approximately 10-30% of older adults suffer from some degree of B vitamin deficiency? This deficiency could stem from inferior forms of B vitamins in their supplements, inadequate absorption into the mitochondria, hindered conversion and activation due to poor gut health or the absence of necessary cofactors. 

Regardless of the underlying cause, the outcome is the same: low B complex means compromised health.

B vitamins play vital roles in energy production, brain function and cell metabolism. Let’s delve into the specific roles these essential nutrients play in the human body:

B1 - Thiamine aids in glucose metabolism and is vital for nerve, muscle and heart function. Benfotiamine is a lab-made version of B1. 

B2 - Riboflavin is involved in energy production and is essential for growth.

B3 - Niacin plays a supportive role in the optimal functioning of the digestive system, skin health and nerve function.

B4 - Adenine is not typically found in B complex vitamins, however, it’s an essential component in the formation of genetic material.

B5 - Pantothenic Acid is crucial for hormone and cholesterol production.

B6 - Pyridoxine is vital for brain development and function. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or P5P, is the active form of vitamin B-6 and stands as an even better supplement. 

B7 - Biotin is key in lipid, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also plays a role in skin health and is often associated with hair and nail growth.

B9 - Folic acid is crucial for cell creation and emotional health. Folate or 5-MTHF is better.

B12 - Cobalamin is crucial for red blood cell production and nervous system maintenance. Methyl B12 or adenosyl B12 is even better because it is the mitochondrial form.

Deficiencies in these vitamins can manifest in different ways. For instance, a lack of B12 might lead to fatigue, pale skin and a swollen tongue, while B6 deficiency can result in itchy rashes and a weakened immune system.

The risk of an imbalance with the B vitamin-family is real. Many individuals take a single B vitamin, overlooking the fact that it’s the whole group they should consider.

Taking high doses of one B vitamin, like folate, can and often does cause imbalances in others. Excessive folate, for instance, may mask a B12 deficiency, potentially giving rise to neurological problems, neuropathy and confusion. Maintaining equilibrium is critical, often best achieved through B complex supplements under medical guidance.

A healthcare professional can help determine whether a B vitamin deficiency or another health issue is the root cause. Keep in mind that B complex supplements are sold in America without a prescription.

Achieving better B vitamin status is also possible through a well-rounded diet consisting of meats and vegetables. I also created a supplement called Mito B Complex which is available on Amazon or my website

For more articles and advice, sign up for Suzy’s newsletter at

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required
I am a/n...