Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Vitamins & minerals health centre

B vitamins overview

There are many different types of vitamin B in our food and taken by some people as supplements. The different types of vitamin B do important work in the body.

B vitamins include:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a type of B vitamin that is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates in order to release energy for growth, and to help keep nerves and muscles healthy.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 ( riboflavin) is a B vitamin that helps the body release energy from metabolism of carbohydrates. It is essential for normal growth and cell repair including red blood cells and maintaining healthy skin, eyes and nervous system. Riboflavin changes tryptophan into niacin ( vitamin B3). It also helps protect cells from oxidative stress and helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinic acid, plays an important role in metabolism, helping the body release energy from dietary carbohydrate. Vitamin B3 also helps the body use protein and fats effectively. It’s essential for a healthy circulation and digestive system.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 ( pyridoxine) allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates and is essential for haemoglobin in the blood. It is involved in the regulation of mental function and mood as well as in the metabolism of homocysteine, high levels of which are a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Folic acid (folate)

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that’s key for cell growth and metabolism. Folate is the natural substance in whole foods. Folic acid is the synthetic version in supplements and fortified products.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays a role in making DNA. Vitamin B12 also helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 29, 2015

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
woman blowing nose
Myths & facts about allergies
cold sore
How to cope with cold sores
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
man administering eyedrops
Taking on eye allergies
palm tree and beach
How to make it less stressful
toddler doodling
What to expect in your child's second year
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy