The Great Masquerader

May 12, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

The many faces of B complex deficiency.

In today’s crazy world, the B complex family of vitamins has all but been forgotten. Stress, sugar, alcohol, the Pill, medications, a low-carb diet, and coffee rob you of your already dwindling reserves of this critical water-soluble vitamin family—which must be replaced daily.

Once a foundational supplement for anybody suffering from hypoglycemia, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, irritability, and even heart disease, it’s high time the B complex made a real comeback.

It really concerns me that we are all so eager to try the latest greatest “bandaid” in the form of moisturizers or concealers to hide our stress lines, skin rashes, or overly dry or even oily complexion, when the real Rx is beauty from within. The beautiful B’s are essential to metabolizing sugar for energy and in relieving nervous tension. B vitamins have a remarkable impact on your hair and skin: they give sheen to hair, help if you are losing hair or have pre-mature graying, and assist in combating other skin disorders like dermatitis.

Menopausal women, especially, find particular benefit with these vital B’s—especially B6 and B5 or pantothenic acid, which help to lessen the discomforts of insomnia and adrenal burnout often associated with the Change. Plus, the B vitamins inositol and choline help your liver to neutralize estrogen overload from environmental toxins.

Aside from assisting with glowing skin and silky hair, the “beautiful B’s” play an even more important role in hormonal health for younger women…

The B’s and Postpartum Depression?
During pregnancy the fetus consumes large quantities of nutrients, which can leave the mother deficient in critical nutrients—like B complex. New moms can then experience symptoms like depression, anxiety, irrational fears, and depression. Some are even prescribed expensive meds when a quality B complex supplement could have taken the cloud of postpartum away if maintained before, during, and after pregnancy.

And children aren’t immune either.

The first signs of a deficiency in children are mental and emotional instability. The B vitamin deficiency disease called beriberi (a deficit of thiamine or B1—“the happy vitamin”) is widely considered to have disappeared from our modern lives, but I believe it still persists. Interestingly, an untreated B complex deficiency in a child can lead to life-threatening heart disease later in life with subclinical beriberi of the heart, which triggers paralysis of the heart muscle.

Your Daily B’s
The B complex vitamins are a true “dream team” that work together to help combat depression, fatigue, free-floating anxiety, and confusion—and to defend the body against the ravages of stress. Foods rich in the complete vitamin B family include organ meats (liver, brains, heart, kidney—all of which we no longer ingest), oysters, cottage cheese, wheat germ (an allergic ingredient for the gluten-free) nutritional yeast (highly allergic to some), whole grains, soybeans (another allergen), peas, watercress, asparagus, whey, red clover, oatstraw, and parsley. It’s no wonder we’re b-deficient.

Because stress makes our B vitamin needs skyrocket and many B-containing foods aren’t popular, I highly recommend B-Complex Forte—a supplement I have been recommending for over 10 years. Unlike many others, this B complex is hypoallergenic and yeast-free—while still being one of the highest potency and balanced B complex formulas on the market. Many other types of B complex on the market today are food-based and contain concentrates of special yeasts, which can cross-react with Candida albicans. This results in unpleasant symptoms like major bloating, fatigue, and increased sugar-cravings. Furthermore, B vitamins from whole grains are off limits for the 1 in 133 adults out there who may have some degree of gluten sensitivity.

Bottom line: Reaching for this “forgotten vitamin” can alleviate a slew of symptoms—prescription drug-free.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Tressey

    Awesome article. I just started taking a b-complex in hopes of addressing many of the issues you noted However, I was under the impression that these vitamins were not needed daily, especially if it made ones urine extremely yellow ( a sign that you were just dumping the nutrient ). Should I still strive for daily intake?

  2. Michelle

    That is the same question I have regarding extreemly yellow urine. Hopefully it will be addressed to let us know.

  3. Heather

    Just got my lab results from seeing a naturopath (for the first time!) and lo & behold… my b levels (the three that they tested for) are all low! She has given me a b-complex vitamin called orti-b, but I’ve been hearing that strains with a methyl in front are better absorbed in the body… I go have a wheat allergy/sensitivity so I don’t eat too many grains. I hope the vitamins work!

  4. Administrator

    When there is a lot of riboflavin in the formula, people often experience yellow urine. It is not a sign ot toxicity nor should you stop taking your B vitamin daily. It is used up in stress that we are all coping with!

  5. Trudy

    I purchased the H3 in 9pk when it was on special. I took 1 bottle, I have muscle testing done from time to time and she tested this product on me and told me it would make me really sick. I don’t know why it would, she just said my body wouldn’t do well with it. So, I have 8 bottles here and don’t know what I should do with them. It is a terrible shame to throw them out. I don’t want to believe her, because of the great reviews I have read about it. What is your comment on this?

  6. Michelle

    I have seen how B complex vitamins are so important in my own family. My oldest son started puberty and began having severe itching on his scalp. We tried so many shampoos and topical gels, but none was lasting. He then began having canker sores frequently and often. Very painful. The last straw was depression, a once happy kid just plain down. It broke my heart. After much reading and research I started to give him B complex 50, vit. C, and omega vits. The results were amazing!!! One by one all the problems he had been having began to disappear. After 2 years he still supplements. And he knows how much he needs them.

  7. Hélène

    muscle testing may not be valid. for instance, did the one bottle you took make u sick? i put very little stock in muscle testing and i indeed do use NDs, evenso. its just one aspect of their offerings i dont use.

  8. liz

    Muscle testing, when it is accurate only picks up what is happening at that moment. To predict that something will make you sick dpends on other variables. Ultra H-3 has been used for years by so many people and UNI KEY hasn’t gotten any complaints that it has “made them sick.” I’ve been taking it for over 10 years and it has kept me feeling and looking my best. My energy is great and my mental focus is wonderful.

  9. Jenna

    I just turned 34, no kids yet and my hair has been thinning for over a year now. Recently had a blood test which came back normal, have no idea what this could be otherwise. Any suggestions? Really freaking out. I’m too young to be losing my hair! Help.

  10. liz

    Jenna; Taking a Tissue Mineral Analysis test could help provide you with some answers. It will pick up “pre-clinical” imbalances in minerals and vitamins and show you how your adrenals and thyroid are responding to sptress. Low thyroid can be a cause of hair thinning.

  11. Jenna


    How do I get a Tissue Mineral Analysis? Do I need to go to my Doctor? What will the analysis tell me?

    I had my thyroid tested and the the test came back normal.

  12. liz

    The Tissue Mineral Analysis is available through UNIKEY Health 800 888-4353 or at

    The test will give you levels of 26 nutrient minerals and 8 toxic metals. You will get detailed booklet analyzing the meaning and relationship of the nutrients. You will be given specific foods to avoid and to eat and also supplement amounts to help you obtain balance. Part of the analysis will show the mineral ratios that demonstrate how your adrenals and thyroid are responding to stress, and what to do abou it.

    It is very common to have a normal blood test for T3, T4 and TSH and have the imbalance show up on the TMA. That’s why we call it pre-clinical.

    Please call me at UNIKEY if you have any questions..

  13. Myriam

    I would like to know if B-complex provide any benefit for oateoporosis. I am 50 years old and two years ago I was diagnosed with this disease. I am not sure what to take or what not to take,

  14. Sierra

    Myriam, B vitamins are great for many things, and I’m sure you’re getting some benefit from taking them. I think though that you would be much better served by a true bone health formula like the Osteo-Key from UNI KEY. This formula contains the most bio-available form of calcium (balanced with magnesium), a whopping amount of Vitamin K-2, silica, zinc, boron, and selenium.
    You may also wish to have your bone health checked and get some personalized recommendations from Dr. Ann Louise by having the Bone Health Markers Panel or the DPD test done through UNI KEY.

  15. Melissa

    Is B-complex safe for children? If so, what would be a safe dose for my seven yr old daughter who is approximately 60lbs. She is very emotional and I am hoping this could help to stabilize her mood swings.

    • Sierra

      This B-Complex Forte would be fine at 1/2 – 1 tablet per day. You can also focus on getting a diverse selection of lean protein, dark leafy greens and yogurt in her diet to supply the B vitamins as well!

  16. Lynn

    Why is it that my daughter cannot take B Vitamins without getting migraines? and unable to sleep? is it caused by the contamination with gluten and yeasts mentioned above?

    • Team ALG

      That could be, but you may also have her checked for MTHFR genetic deficiency, and only give her methylated forms of B12 and folate!

      • Lynn

        Her Dr. put her on MTHFR form of Folate and she started getting more migraines!
        I read an article that said it was one of the side effects of taking the methylated folate.

        • Team ALG

          It could also be a sign of detoxification built up from years of having synthetic vitamins.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This