If you’ve been searching for a good quality Vitamin B supplement, no doubt you’ve found the process discouraging! Anyone with any sort of gut imbalance is especially in need since beneficial flora manufacture some of these critical nutrients for us. (1)
It seems that every single brand includes one or more synthetic vitamins even those that claim to be whole-food-based.
Ironically, foods that naturally contain B complex are almost always fortified too.
A good example of this is (nutritional) brewers yeast, which contains folic acid, the synthetic form of folate.
Folic acid can harm the health of those with MTHFR genetic mutations. Estimates are that up to 50% of some ethnicities have at least one variant.
Prenatal vitamins and all multivitamins have this same problem, by the way! Go ahead and look at the label of the bottle you have in the pantry right now. It lists folic acid, doesn’t it?
Thus, buying a whole food form of B complex is no guarantee that you are getting what you think you are getting…natural vitamins ONLY with zero synthetics.
In other words, manufacturers seem to be able to slip one or more lab-derived ingredients in there and still label it a natural B complex.
I’m not exactly sure how they pull this off legally, but as a consumer, you need to be aware it’s happening so you can avoid becoming ensnared in shadowy marketing spin to the detriment of your health.
Natural Vitamin B Complex
What vitamins are contained in B complex anyway? Here are the nine I look for. Note that B17 isn’t usually included in conventional definitions.
- thiamin (vitamin B1)
- riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- niacin (vitamin B3)
- pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- vitamin B6
- biotin (vitamin B7)
- folate (vitamin B9)
- cobalamin (vitamin B12)
- amygdalin (vitamin B17)
Why should you avoid synthetic versions of these vitamins? The reason is that synthetics can cause imbalances or even trigger a health crisis for those with certain genetic mutations.
Researchers have found that natural forms of B vitamins work as well or better than synthetics anyway, so why take the risk just because they’re cheap? (2)
Over the years, as I’ve combed through the dozens of brands of B complex supplements, I’ve discovered that there simply isn’t one that provides all 9 of these nutrients from food sources alone.
However, you can easily get them all by combining!
Here are the three truly natural, unfortified sources of B complex that I have in my home. I like to rotate them so I get everything I need…no synthetics required!
Real Food B Complex
If you prefer to take B complex capsules, Catie’s Whole Food B Complex is a good one to use.
It only contains food and herbs with no sneakily added synthetics. It even contains Vitamin B17, which is next to impossible to find together with other B vitamins.
The only problem with this supplement is that it is plant-based, hence it does not contain any true vitamin B12 (contrary to what the label says).
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods like meat, eggs, and dairy. Plant forms contain a B12 analog that is not bioavailable to the human body.
To get Vitamin B12 in its natural form, you will need an animal-based supplement.
Liver is the best source of Vitamin B12. While you can certainly eat grass-fed liver once a week to get what you need, other people find it more convenient to take a raw, desiccated liver supplement.
I recommend two brands: Perfect Supplements and Radiant Life because their desiccated liver is un-defatted (nothing removed) and they test to ensure their products are free from glyphosate residue and other impurities.
While desiccated liver supplements contain almost all the B vitamins in abundance, they are notably missing Vitamin B17. This is which is why I use Catie’s Whole Food B Complex above as well.
Unfortified Nutritional Yeast
Another good source of truly natural B vitamins is nutritional yeast.
While it is true that nutritional yeast is an ancient Egyptian source of B complex, most brands today don’t emulate the traditional version!
If you want to consume this ancestral food like Cleopatra may have enjoyed (pickled cukes were apparently her fave though), only buy nonfortified nutritional yeast.
There are several brands of unfortified yeast currently available. This is the brand I’ve vetted and use.
Hint: it tastes amazing sprinkled on heirloom popcorn!
Is nutritional yeast bad for Candida sufferers? In a word, no.
The yeast is deactivated, so it has no chance to colonize or grow in the intestinal tract.
However, those that have mold allergy may have issues, so steer clear if you are one of these folks.
Finding the Best Vitamin B Complex
Ultimately, to get all the 9 vitamins within the B complex in completely natural form, my examination of the brands out there reveals that you need to supplement with BOTH animal and plant-based whole foods.
Animal food forms of B complex like liver powder are missing Vitamin B17. Similarly, plant-based B complex is missing Vitamin B12.
By choosing your source of B vitamins wisely, this problem is easily remedied by combining Real Food supplements such as the three listed above.
What do you think about REALINE® VITAMIN B COMPLEX?
I personally would not take this. The B vitamins amounts are lab derived not from whole foods. This is why I prefer this one. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/go/b-complex/
Desiccated liver is another excellent whole food source of B vitamins.
Hi Sara, is the Premier Labs B12 marketed as very natural safe ? It’s vegan so obviously the b12 is definitely synthetic, but give me your impression.
It’s very clean and high quality
Thank you Sarah! I just joined the Healthy Home Plus. I am looking forward to learning so much more!
Sarah Pope MGA
Awesome! Just saw your message in the chatbox. Will vett that supplement for you asap so you can have a discussion with your doctor about it.
So what you are saying is that Catie’s doesn’t have the equivalent B12 that beef liver capsules do, but contains smaller amounts? As far as the healthy home plus, I will definitely look into that. Thank you
Sarah Pope MGA
As I mentioned in the post, Catie’s doesn’t have any B12 in it because it consists of plant foods. True B12 is only in animal foods. There is a B12 analogue in algae but it isn’t bioavailable. Catie’s is still an excellent product though … just the label is a bit misleading as it says all the B vitamins are in it, which isn’t exactly true.
I don’t do well on multi vitamins and thought I had found the solution in beef liver capsules. I was taking them for quite some time and then would just add in the extras I needed: Vitamin C, E, D3, etc. However, on a recent visit to my doctor my cholesterol is very high and I also have a copper toxicity going on. She wants me off the beef liver capsules and on a copper free multi ( Designs for Health Complete Multi copper free). I am hesitant to go on the multi. I have never tried Catie’s B Complex you recommend but was wondering, in your opinion, if it would be a good idea to replace the beef liver capsules with Catie’s B-Complex for the B vitamins I need and then adding in cod liver oil to replace the vitamin A was getting in the beef liver capsules. Thank you!
Sarah Pope MGA
Catie’s B complex is a good alternative but it doesn’t have any B12 in it like liver capsules do. The liver capsules are missing B17 (which is in Catie’s)
If you want me to vett that brand for you specifically (Designs for Health Complete Multi copper free), please contact me via the Healthy Home Plus chatbox. I am happy to look into it for you. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/healthy-home-plus/