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Healthy shopping: Better B vitamins

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Look for B vitamins in their active forms when choosing a supplement, says Joanna Evans

Functional medicine practitioners such as Dr Leigh Erin Connealy often recommend methylated B vitamins as part of their healing protocols. But what are they and where can you find them?

Methylated B vitamins are B vitamins in their naturally active forms that your body can use straightaway. Non-methylated B vitamins need to first be converted by the body to their methylated forms.

Folic acid, for example, a synthetic form of folate, or vitamin B9, needs to be converted to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) to be used by the body. But in some 40 percent of the population, this process is impaired due to a genetic polymorphism (common gene mutation).1 The methylated forms of folate (5-MTHF) and other B vitamins are therefore increasingly recommended by practitioners and used by high-quality supplement manufacturers.

When looking for a B supplement, as when choosing any type of supplement, look for the purest formulas available—free of fillers, binders and other unnecessary additives—from brands with strict sourcing standards, using exclusively natural, high-quality, non-GMO and science-backed ingredients. Also compare dosages per capsule between brands to make sure you are getting good value for your money and the right dosage for your needs.

Here are three high-quality B-complex supplements available in both the US and the UK containing B vitamins in their active forms.

Metabolic Maintenance
B Complex, £35.57/$43 (90 capsules)
US:; UK:

Providing active forms of all eight essential B vitamins plus choline, inositol and PABA, this pure and potent formula contains 800 mcg of L-5-methylfolate per capsule, ideal if you need a high dose of folate. It’s also free of soy, gluten, nuts and dairy.

Pure Encapsulations
B Complex Plus, $26.40/£27.74 (60 capsules)
US:; UK:

Containing all eight B vitamins in their active forms, this hypoallergenic formula is free of gluten, dairy, soy and nuts and is suitable for vegans. Like all Pure Encapsulations products, it’s also free of unnecessary binders, fillers and preservatives as well as coatings, GMOs and artificial colors and flavors.

Super B Complex, $14.95/£11.99 (60 tablets)

Supplying decent doses of the eight B vitamins for the price, all in absorbable, body-ready forms, this sustained-release two-a-day formula also contains a small dose of vitamin C and is free of yeast, gluten, dairy, soy and GMOs.



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  1. Integr Med (Encinitas), 2022; 21(3): 36–41
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