Difference Between B12 and B Complex (With Table)

Vitamins are an essential component of our diet. They are water-soluble nutrients that are not stored in the body. They are generally required in minute amounts, but they are essential for the proper functioning and growth of the body. There are eight types of vitamins present altogether, each of which is needed in the body.

B12 vs B Complex

The difference between the B12 and B complex is that the former is a single variety of vitamins, whereas the latter is a culmination of eight types of vitamins. Naturally, the former has limited functions and sources in comparison to the latter that can be found in numerous food substances and is needed for a wide variety of functions.

Vitamin B 12 Or cobalamins is an essential vitamin that is required in the body in minute amounts. Although needed in a minute amount, it is required in everyday diet as vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common types of vitamin deficiency as this essential vitamin is not found in any plant product and sources.

Vitamin B Complex is the common term for the set of all eight types of vitamins and not just one type. Having overall vitamin deficiency is rare as one or two types of vitamins are found in nearly all food. Each of the vitamins is present in any vitamin complex tablet is present in prescribed amounts that are required every day.

Comparison Table Between B12 and B Complex

Parameters of ComparisonB12B Complex
Types of Vitamins Vitamins B12 are only one type of vitamin.Vitamin B Complex is a mixture of eight types of vitamins.
DeficiencyThe most common type of vitamin deficiency.Deficiency is not common.
SourcesIt is found in dairy products, beef liver, meat, etc.It is found in a variety of food substances. Nearly all food substances have some kind of vitamin.
EffectsIt helps in energy derivation and repair and the building of genetic material.It helps in energy derivation, proper growth of muscles and nerves, during pregnancy, etc.
Needed AmountAbout 12.4 mcg is required daily.About 465.9 mcg is required in total for normal body functioning.

What is B12?

B 12 or Vitamin 12 is one of the vitamins that come under essential nutrients of the body. It contains mineral cobalt that is required by the body. Due to the presence of cobalt in its integral structure, vitamin B12 is also called cobalamins.

Vitamin B 12 is not found in any plant sources. It is found only in animal and dairy products like clams, beef, liver, meat, eggs, poultry, etc. Breakfast cereals today also come fortified with Vitamin B 12. This is the reason why vegetarians are most likely to suffer from vitamin deficiencies. Breakfast cereals are the best options for such people.

The main function of vitamin B12 is to metabolize carbohydrates and fats, and this derives energy from it. It also works with folic acid to help repair and built genetic material. Although it is a micronutrient, i.e., it is required in a very small amount (12.4 mcg) yet it is an essential element for proper body functioning like growth, muscle repair, proper digestive functioning, etc.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, poor apatite, canker sores, shingles, high homocysteine levels, etc. Cyanine poisoning can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, and Immerslund Grasbeck disease is an inherited vitamin B12 deficiency.

What is B Complex?

B Complex or vitamin B Complex is a predetermined mixture of eight types of vitamins, namely Vitamin B 1 ( Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 ( Pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) and Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins).

Nearly all goods have some type of vitamin. For example, B5 is found in almost all food, vitamin B1. B2., B3 is found in plant products, B12 is found in animal products, and so on. Nuts, legumes, milk, meat are good sources of vitamins. This is the reason by getting deficiency of all types of vitamins at once is rare.

The main function of the vitamin B Complex is the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats proteins. It helps in normal muscle functioning, neuro functioning, and heart functions. They also help in normal cell growth, RBC growth, etc. It is a macronutrient as the amount requires in the body is large (400-500mcg).

Vitamin B Complex deficiency causes fatigue, scaly skin, cracked heels, rashes, diarrhea, muscle dysfunctions, oral ulcers, etc. Alcohol dependence, HIV, Crohn’s disease, etc. can be some of the cause that leads to lowered vitamin absorption in the body leading to adverse effects commonly termed as deficiencies.

Main Differences Between B12 and B Complex

  1. Vitamin B12 is a micronutrient, whereas Vitamin B Complex is a macronutrient.
  2. Vitamin B12 is not found in any plant-derived foods, whereas vitamin B Complex is found in almost all food substances.
  3. Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common, whereas Vitamin B Complex deficiency is very rare.
  4. Fortified cereals contain vitamin B12, whereas it does not contain vitamin B Complex.
  5. Vitamin B12 is the name of one cobalt-containing vitamin, whereas vitamin B Complex, usually coming as oral tablets, is a prescribed combination of eight types of vitamins ( B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12).
  6. Inherited diseases can also cause Vitamin B12 deficiency, whereas there are no inherited vitamin B Complex deficiencies.


The nutrients present in our diets must be present in adequate amounts such that it creates a balanced diet. Vitamins are an essential component of our diet and are needed for almost all of the body’s functions. Vitamin deficiencies are a common term often heard by us.

Various oral tablets and shots are available in the market to make up for vitamin deficiencies. However, since vitamins are excreted and cannot be stored, having excess vitamins is of no use for the body as only the required amount is absorbed by the small intestine. Even in the case of the early development of a child, vitamins are very important. Vitamin tablets thus are not necessary and can be consumed by healthy individuals as well to keep healthy amounts of vitamins in the body.


  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmcp1113996
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=iMQKAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA10&dq=vitamin+b+complex&ots=RQo_CRihru&sig=ECqly3TEbo1IQ_MlvLz3aPu4N_4
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