Difference between B Complex and B12

Key difference: The primary difference between B Complex and B12 is that Vitamin B12 is often considered to be a part of B Complex. Vitamin B complex supplements usually have all the B Vitamins including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. All of which are necessary for the body.

Vitamin B ComplexB Complex and B12 are two vitamins. Vitamins are an essential part of a person’s health. A person only requires vitamins in minuscule doses, yet they are a vital part of their health. Hence, vitamins are commonly known as micronutrients. A body requires a number of nutrients and a number of vitamins, such as A, B2, B6, B12, C, etc., as well as other nutrients such as minerals and other trace elements. Most of these come from the types of food that humans eat, which is why a balance diet is so important and recommended.

While it may be difficult to tell them apart, most people do not realize that Vitamin B12 is a part of B Complex. Vitamin B complex supplements usually have all the B Vitamins including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. All of which are necessary for the body.

B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins, which mean that they can be dissolved in water. Most of these can be acquired through a balance diet. However, there are some such as B12 which are only available in meat and dairy based products, which means that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet may be at a high risk for B12 deficiency. In order to get the required amount of B12, they may have to take supplements.

Lack of Vitamin Bs in the body can lead to various problems. For example, B1 Deficiency causes beriberi, which includes symptoms such as weight loss, emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perception, weakness and pain in the limbs, periods of irregular heartbeat, and swelling of bodily tissues. Vitamin B2 Deficiency causes ariboflavinosis, which includes symptoms such as cracks in the lips, high sensitivity to sunlight, inflammation of the tongue, sore throat, pseudo-syphilis, etc. Vitamin B3 deficiency causes pellagra, which includes symptoms such as aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion, and diarrhea. Vitamin B7 Deficiency can lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders in infants.

Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. It especially results in a macrocytic anemia, elevated methylmalonic acid and homocysteine, peripheral neuropathy, memory loss and other cognitive deficits. Basically, it affect brain function. Older people are especially at risk, as our vegans.

Due to the importance of getting adequate Vitamin intakes, and keeping in mind that most people do not follow a balanced diet, these essential vitamins, especially Vitamin B12 are often added to packaged foods and drinks to ensure that people ingest them. Cereals, yogurts, etc. are often enriched with vitamins.

Comparison between B Complex and B12:


B Complex





Also known as

B vitamins



B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism.

Is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells


Includes eight different types of B vitamins

A type of B vitamin


Essential for normal heart, muscle and nerve function.

Essential for proper brain and nervous system function

Reference: Wikipedia (Vitamin, B complex, and B12), LiveStrong
Image Courtesy: swansonvitamins.com, anhinternational.org

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