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The term ‘vitamin B family’. Refers to a group of eight water-soluble vitamins. Initially, vitamin B was considered to be a single vitamin. However, research studies that were conducted later, revealed that vitamin B family is composed of eight vitamins called thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folic acid (vitamin B9). Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).

These vitamins are chemically distinct from each other. Each of these vitamins play a vital role in bodily processes that are integral to the healthy functioning of the human body.

The supplements that contain all the eight B vitamins are referred to as vitamin B-complex. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin B is flushed out of the body through urine.

Though these supplements are believed to have a low potential for toxicity, transient vitamin B complex sideeffects may be experienced by a person who takes this supplement in large doses.

Side Effects of Vitamin B Complex Supplements

Vitamin B complex sideeffects may only be experienced if the supplements are taken in large doses or doses that are higher than the tolerable upper intake levels. Common sideeffects (if any) of a vitamin B-complex overdose include:

◘. Black stools

◘. Abdominal pain

◘. Constipation

◘. Nausea

◘. Vomiting

◘. Change in the color of urine

◘. Frequent urination

◘. Diarrhea

◘. Redness of skin

◘. Itching

In very rare cases, the use of these supplements could cause allergic reactions, itching and rashes. The development of kidney stones. There may be unreported sideeffects too. In case you experience sideeffects that persist, contact your physician immediately.

Side Effects of Individual B Vitamins

While the aforementioned sideeffects are those of vitamin B complex group, given below are the possible adverse effects of each component of the B-complex supplements. There may be other unreported sideeffects. As mentioned above, if any of the adverse effects are unusually severe or begin to make you feel very uncomfortable, contact your physician immediately.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Side effects aren't likely to occur if this vitamin is taken as per the recommended dietary allowance. Here is the RDA for thiamin based on age. The values for RDA have been developed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B1
Group Age RDA (mg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 0.2
6-12 months 0.3
Children 1-3 years 0.5
4-8 years 0.6
Males 9-13 years 0.9
14 years and above 1.2
Females 9-13 years 0.9
14-18 years 1
19 years and above 1.1
Pregnant Women ~ 1.4
Lactating Women ~ 1.4

◘. The use of thiamin supplements, in very rare cases, may result in an allergic reaction. This may result in the development of itching, rashes. Hives.

◘. In case of a severe allergic reaction, the affected individual may experience dizziness, swelling of the face or tongue, breathing problems, tightness in the chest. Discoloration of the skin.

◘. Fluid retention, nausea, restlessness, sweating. Weakness are also among the rare sideeffects of a thiamin overdose.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

The following table provides information on the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B2.

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Daily RDA for Vitamin B2
Group Age RDA (mg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 0.3
6-12 months 0.4
Children 1-3 years 0.5
4-8 years 0.6
Males 9-13 years 0.9
14 years and above 1.3
Females 9-13 years 0.9
14-18 years 1
19 years and above 1.1
Pregnant Women ~ 1.4
Lactating Women ~ 1.6

◘. A common and harmless side effect of consuming riboflavin is that it turns the urine into a yellowish-orange color.

◘. An overdose may increase frequency of urination and diarrhea.

◘. If a person is allergic to any of the ingredients of the supplement, he/she may develop an allergic reaction which may result in hives, breathing problems. Swelling of the face, lips, tongue. Throat.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Side effects are less likely to occur if the vitamin supplement is taken as per the recommended dietary allowance.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B3
Group Age RDA (mg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 2
6-12 months 4
Children 1-3 years 6
4-8 years 8
Males 9-13 years 12
14 years and above 16
Females 9-13 years 12
14 years and above 14
Pregnant Women ~ 18
Lactating Women ~ 17

◘. Niacin may cause flushing of the skin, which could last for a few hours. Along with flushing of the skin, the affected individual could experience redness, tingling or burning sensation, sweating. Chills within 4 hours of taking the supplement.

◘. Other sideeffects include dizziness, diarrhea, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting. Heartburn.

◘. In very serious cases, the affected individual may experience irregular heartbeat, persistent headache, joint pain, swelling of arms or legs. Blurred vision.

◘. Other serious but rare sideeffects include bloody or black stools, intense abdominal pain, incessant nausea and vomiting, muscle and joint pain. Yellowing of the eyes.

◘. If a person develops an allergic reaction, he/she may develop hives, itching. Swelling of the face, lips, tongue. Throat.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Adverse effects rarely occur if vitamin B5 is taken as per the RDA. Note that the therapeutic range for all the individual B vitamins may be higher than the RDA.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B5
Group Age RDA (mg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 1.7
6-12 months 1.8
Children 1-3 years 2
4-8 years 3
Males 9-13 years 4
14 years and above 5
Females 9-13 years 4
14 years and above 5
Pregnant Women ~ 6
Lactating Women~7

◘. In case of an overdose, the affected individual may suffer from diarrhea.

◘. In rare cases, an allergic reaction could occur, which may result in hives, itching, swelling of face, lips, tongue. Throat, trouble breathing. Tightness in chest.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Here is the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B6. The body’s need for vitamin B6 can be met if the dietary sources or supplements are taken as per the RDA.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B6
Group Age RDA (mg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 0.1
6-12 months 0.4
Children 1-3 years 0.5
4-8 years 0.6
Males 9-13 years 1
14-18 years 1.3
19-50 years 1.3
51 years and above 1.7
Females 9-13 years 1
14-18 years 1.2
19-50 years 1.3
51 years and above 1.5
Pregnant Women ~ 1.9
Lactating Women ~ 2

◘. In most people, the use of vitamin B6 supplements won't cause any adverse effects, if these are taken as per the prescribed dosage. However, some people may develop stomach pain, tingling, drowsiness, headache, nausea, vomiting. Loss of appetite.

◘. Intake of this vitamin in large doses is known to increase the risk of brain and nerve problems.

◘. Some people may experience allergic reactions that include development of hives, swelling of face, lips, tongue. Throat. Breathing problems.

◘. In rare cases, one may feel disoriented, resulting in poor co ordination. The affected individual may experience numbness or reduced sensation in different body parts, particularly feet and hands which may further lead to poor co ordination. Extreme fatigue is also a serious side effect of an overdose of this vitamin.

Biotin (Vitamin B7)

There are no reports on toxicity of vitamin B7. it'd be best if this vitamin is taken as per the RDA.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B7
Group Age RDA (mcg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 5
6-12 months 6
Children 1-3 years 8
4-8 years 12
Males 9-13 years 20
14-18 years 25
19-50 years 30
51 years and above 30
Females 9-13 years 20
14-18 years 25
19-50 years 30
51 years and above 30
Pregnant Women ~ 30
Lactating Women ~ 35

◘. There is a lack of evidence on the sideeffects of a biotin overdose and there are no reports on toxicity.

◘. In a study that was conducted on pregnant rats, administration of large doses of biotin caused the placenta to shrink. This made them susceptible to miscarriage. However, a link between biotin overdose and miscarriage in pregnant women can't be drawn on the basis of animal studies.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

If taken as per the recommended doses, folic acid doesn't cause any sideeffects. Here is the daily RDA for folic acid based on age.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B9
Group Age RDA (mcg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 65
6-12 months 80
Children 1-3 years 150
4-8 years 200
Males 9-13 years 300
14 years and above 400
Females 9-13 years 300
14 years and above 400
Pregnant Women ~ 600
Lactating Women ~ 500

◘. Research suggests that an overdose of this vitamin may increase the risk of heart attack in those who already have heart problems. In another study, it's been found that the risk of lung cancer or prostate cancer may also increase.

◘. If a person is allergic to the ingredients of the supplement, he/she may develop an allergic reaction resulting in rash, hives, swelling of the face, lips or tongue, dizziness. Tightness in the chest.

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Though the tolerable upper intake level hasn't been established, it'd be best to take vitamin B12 as per the RDA.

Daily RDA for Vitamin B12
Group Age RDA (mcg/day)
Infants 0-6 months 0.4
6-12 months 0.5
Children 1-10 years 0.7-2
Males 11 years and above 2.4
Females 11 years and above 2.4
Pregnant Women ~ 2.6
Lactating Women ~ 2.8

◘. While it's safe for most people, in some cases this vitamin may cause sideeffects in the form of diarrhea, itching. Blood clots.

◘. Severe allergic reactions may cause hives, breathing problems, cramping due to muscle weakness, fever and chills, swelling of the body, swelling of the face, lips or tongue, chest pain, bleeding. Bruising.

Things to Consider Before Taking Vitamin B Complex

Before taking B complex supplements, it's advisable to consult your health care provider to find out if you need to take vitamin B-complex supplements or not. it'd be best not to consume these supplements without consultation, especially under the following circumstances:

◘. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must consult a doctor to know if they need to take vitamin B. These supplements must be taken as per the prescribed dosage.

◘. Do inform your doctor if you've a history of stomach ulcer, diabetes, liver problems. Gout.

◘. Inform your doctor if you're taking other medicines. As to prevent adverse drug interactions.

◘. Inform your doctor if you suffer from a drug allergy.

Though the use of vitamin supplements can prove beneficial for those who suffer from a vitamin B deficiency, do seek medical help if you experience any of the aforementioned vitamin B complex sideeffects. You must also try to follow a healthy diet and make the necessary life style changes. it'd be best to include the dietary sources of vitamin B in your diet rather than taking vitamin supplements.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only and doesn't, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.

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