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Vitamin B

The B vitamins include 8 water-soluble compounds (thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9) and cobalamin (B12)). All of these are water-soluble.

The effects of the B vitamins are intertwined, playing a role in energy (sugar and fat metabolism) and in a wide variety of anabolic and catabolic processes. They therefore help fight fatigue, contribute to nervous system health and play a role in our immune system.

The food industry is now fortifying many products with B vitamins, so the number of B vitamin deficiencies has fallen dramatically. However, supplementation may be justified to increase appetite or physical performance. It may be worthwhile for people with a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle to consume more vitamin B12. Alternatively, vitamin B complex is also effective against hangovers.

The table below summarises the effects of B vitamins and the problems associated with their deficiency. 

The effects of the different B vitamins and, therefore, their recommended daily intakes are discussed separately, and the following recommended intakes are currently accepted:



During pregnancy 

During breastfeeding

Vitamin B1

1.2 mg

1.1 mg

1.4 mg

1.4 mg

Vitamin B2

1.3 mg

1.1 mg

1.4 mg

1.6 mg

Vitamin B3

16 mg

14 mg

18 mg

17 mg

Vitamin B5

5 mg

5 mg

6 mg

7 mg

Vitamin B6

1.3 mg

1.5 mg

1.9 mg

2.0 mg

Vitamin B7

30 mcg

30 mcg

30 mcg

35 mcg

Vitamin B9

400 mcg

400 mcg

600 mcg

500 mcg

Vitamin B12

2.4 mcg

2.4 mcg

2.6 mcg

2.8 mcg