The B group of vitamins may be one of the most commonly misunderstood of the vitamins, simply because these are several distinct vitamins lumped together. The fact that the vitamins in this group are known by both letter and number becomes confusing to many people. Its just often more difficult to remember numbers, meaning you may remember that its one of the B vitamins, but not remember which number is associated with that particular one. It may help to find out that each of the B vitamins also has a name.
B1 is also thiamin
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
You should note that there are four additional substances in the B complex group, though they are not known as vitamins because they are not necessary for normal body function. They are choline, lipoic acid, PABA and inositol. When you purchase B complex vitamins, these four will not be included, and at least one or two of the recognized B vitamins may also be omitted. B5 and B7 are so widely available in food that most people simply get enough of these vitamins, even if they arent eating a healthy diet.
Arguably one of the most commonly recognized uses of the B vitamins is an energy booster. Some health care professionals tout the advantages of taking B12 in large doses to combat tiredness, but most seem to agree that starting a regimen of B vitamins is only advisable in severe cases.
More recently, research suggests that some Vitamin B deficiencies may aggravate certain health issues or health risks, and that an increase of those vitamins will help relieve symptoms or lessen the risk. Notably, Alzheimers is one of those diseases and sufferers of this disease sometimes show improvement from added Vitamin B on a daily basis. Vitamin B2 has also been used to help some migraine patients.
The correlation between certain health issues and vitamin deficiencies is certain, though finding the right treatment may be tricky. One of the most common problems with using vitamins from the B complex group to treat health issues is the fact that many diseases and health issues have overlapping symptoms. Treating those symptoms may ultimately cause more problems than it cures. Talk to your health care professional before taking extraordinary steps toward a vitamin regimen, including those that include complex B vitamins.