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Vitamin B Complex Benefits & Risks

By Jill Andrews

Vitamin B complex combines vitamin B-1, B-2, B-6, B-12, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and biotin in one pill or capsule. B vitamins metabolize energy and maintain the immune and nervous system. While side effects to vitamin B complex are rare, skin flushing in the extremities and discolored urine can occur with use.

Benefits

A deficiency in one or more of the B vitamins may result in various symptoms or illnesses in your body. According to the American Cancer Society, if you become deficient in certain B vitamins, you may experience anemia, a condition that can lead to fatigue, weakness, dizziness and nausea. In addition, the B vitamins may help prevent the onset of muscle cramps, abdominal pain, depression, respiratory illnesses, improper growth in children, defects in newborns and hair loss.

Possible Cancer Prevention

A vitamin B deficiency may weaken the immune system, increasing your risk for cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Taking a vitamin B supplement daily or eating vitamin B rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, may be useful in cancer prevention. However, research is ongoing and inconclusive.

Potential Risks

The B vitamins are soluble in water. An excess in your body can be voided in your urine. The American Cancer Society says that B vitamin supplements are safe, but you should not consume them in very high doses. Potential side effects of large doses include high blood sugar levels, skin issues and gout. Be aware that B vitamins may interact poorly with other medications you are taking. Each of the individual B vitamins have different recommended daily allowances, so check with your doctor to determine the right amount for you.

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