B Vitamins - Dr. Cooperman Explains What You Need to Know

Hi, I'm Dr. Tod Cooperman, president and founder of and I'm here

to talk today about B vitamins. Now ConsumerLab has been testing vitamins

and supplements, all kinds of herbal supplements and healthy foods since 1999.

We've tested over 5000 products; our most recent report, though, focuses on the

B Vitamins. Now the B vitamins are one of the most popular supplements out there

they include many different types of B vitamins including thiamine, niacin,

riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B6, B12, biotin. Some of these are sold and most

of these are sold as in the individual B vitamins, and also as B complexes. Now

there are upper limits you should be aware of when you're taking a B vitamin

and those particularly affect B6, folate, and niacin--where you can get too much

and start having adverse effects from taking B vitamins. So just one point of

caution when you're looking for a vitamin: first know how much you should

get and know what these upper limits are; you can find them out for free on our

website at and there you can look up your requirement

by age and gender for any vitamin or mineral. I'm going to talk a little bit

about just some of the B vitamins: there's extensive information in our

report that we've just published and you'll also find there our test results --

and several of these products did have more than they claimed, one of which was

actually above the upper limit, the upper tolerable intake level, so you do need to

be careful when you're selecting a B vitamin. It's best to look for a B

vitamin that doesn't exceed 100% of the Daily Value for that B vitamin if you

aren't deficient. If you are deficient, there are certainly situations

where you want to get a higher amount. Also be aware that these Daily

Values have increased -- actually,

I'm sorry, have decreased in recent years. Most

notably for biotin, where the requirement had been 300 micrograms per day,

now it's just 30; and it has fallen a bit for some of the other B

vitamins. So again look at our free table to get that information. So kind of going

backwards here, I'll start with B12, because B12 is is particularly important,

particularly popular, particularly for older people. Older people, about 30%

of them, have trouble absorbing B12 as they get older and may not get

enough, and about half of them may be actually become deficient in B12. You

only need a very small amount -- 2.4 micrograms, which you can get

from your food unless you're not absorbing it well; and also some people

who are taking drugs that lower the acid in their stomach can also have

trouble absorbing some of these B vitamins, also may need to consider a

B-complex or individual B vitamins. B12 is also important to older people

because it's been found that people who are low in B12 may have cognitive

impairment and by bringing those levels up you may help that. In fact, if you're

getting sufficient omega-3s from fish oil or, even better, from fish really, they

kind of work together so make sure you're eating some fish or getting some

fish oil--again preferably getting it from fish that's not too high in mercury

you can see our report on canned tunas and canned salmon where we

reported on the amounts of mercury in some of these products. But B12 you can

get from a supplement; you'll typically get a huge amount, though, from

these B12 supplements. You'll get just what you need from a B-Complex typically,

just a 2.4 micrograms here you're getting, say, a thousand micrograms. There

is no upper tolerable intake limit for B12, as there is for some of the other

B vitamins, but some people can develop rosacea or acne from taking too

much vitamin B12. Niacin, this is a form called niacinamide

in this particular product. Niacin is also critical, but you can get

too much niacin, as well. It can cause liver injury,

people don't need to take niacin; people had been taking very high doses

of nicotinic acid, one form of niacin, in order to lower cholesterol, and it can

lower cholesterol, but it can cause a number of other adverse effects so you

need to be careful. I would only take a high dose of niacin under a doctor's

supervision. Folate is critical during the development of a

baby in utero: it helps prevent neural tube defects. If a woman is pregnant, she

should be getting folate from a supplement such as the synthetic form of

folate which is folic acid or methylfolate, and some people have a

genetic difference in terms of how they handle folate in their body, methylfolate

can help them. Most people don't have that issue, and really don't need to take

methylfolate and they can just take folic acid. Be aware, however, with folic

acid that many of the bottles have been labelled as containing 400

micrograms of folic acid and 100% of the Daily Value, however, that's

incorrect: it's been learned that since folic acid, the synthetic form, is so well

absorbed as is methylfolate, you're actually getting more than you'd be

getting if you were getting folate from food so that 400 micrograms of folic

acid is more like 667 micrograms of folate, and since there is an upper limit

for folate of a thousand micrograms of folate--or they're also called DFEs, or

dietary folate equivalents, be careful with the

folate -- you don't want to be getting more than a thousand micrograms. Typically, if

you're not pregnant, 400 micrograms of just folate or DFEs,

which is like two to three hundred micrograms of folic acid. If you are

pregnant, you want to get about 600 micrograms of folate or 400 micrograms

of folic acid. Biotin is another B vitamin. Most people are not deficient in

in biotin, however, people have been

taking it for hair and nails so you have these different formulas out here. You

really need very little biotin; as I mentioned, the daily requirement has

actually fallen tenfold, but a study a long time ago did show that twenty five

hundred micrograms taken twice daily seemed to help nails become less brittle,

less chance of breaking. Again it was just one study, it hasn't been replicated,

yet it's led to a lot of excitement about biotin. Also, if you are deficient

in biotin, it can cause hair loss; again, most people are not deficient

in biotin. But again, that's what's created the excitement about biotin in

these hair and nail formulas. If you're looking at a B complex like these B

complexes, again just be aware that some of them are kind of super B complexes,

they have way more B vitamins than you need unless you're known to be

deficient, otherwise I'd go with one that has more like a 100% of the

Daily Value, and you really should look on our website at the free information

that'll show you what the Daily Values currently are because, again, they have

changed. Labels don't have to reflect these changes until the beginning of

2020, or if it's a small company, January of 2021, so look at the

information at if you want to know what your

requirements are and what the upper limits are by gender and age, as well as

for all the other vitamins and minerals. Let's see... anything else I wanted to talk

about? Just be aware that some people really do need to

take B vitamins. They can benefit, but there are these upper limits; you need to

be aware of them. I recommend that if you're a ConsumerLab subscriber, read

our report it has extensive information about the B vitamins and all the

different forms of B vitamins, whether it's important to pay extra for those

forms or not, you'll also learn in the report, as well as which products passed

our tests, which failed, and which are our top

choices. So, if you have any comments or questions feel free to post them at the

bottom of the YouTube video and we'll try to respond to them. Thanks very much!