B Vitamins Names: What Else Are They Called?

Most people know their B complex vitamins simply as vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B7 or vitamin B8, vitamin B9 and vitamin B12. But what else are B vitamins called? What are their more scientific names? How many other names do B vitamins have?

  • Vitamin B1: Thiamine, Thiamin or Aneurine

  • Vitamin B2: Riboflavin, Lactoflavin, Ovoflavin, Hepatoflavin, Vitamin G, Vactochrome

Vitamin B2 is also called lactoflavin because it’s naturally found in milk and dairy products (it comes from the Latin word for ‘milk’).

B vitamins other names

Vitamin B2 is also called ovoflavin because it’s naturally found in eggs (from the Latin word for ‘eggs’).

  • Vitamin B3: nicotinamide (niacinamide), niacin (nicotinic acid), nicotinamide riboside, Vitamin PP

Nicotinamide (niacinamide), niacin (nicotinic acid) and nicotinamide riboside are three different forms of vitamin B3 known as vitamers – related and similar structurally, although not identical, but with vitamin B3 activity.

  • Vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid

The name pantothenic acid comes from the Greek word ‘pantos’ which means ‘from everywhere’ and hints at the fact that vitamin B5 is found naturally in almost every food.

B vitamins names

  • Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine, Pyridoxin, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxol, Pyridoxal phosphate, Adermin

There are 6 different forms (vitamers) of vitamin B6.

  • Vitamin B7: Biotin, Vitamin B8, Vitamin H, Coenzyme R, Biopeiderm

  • Vitamin B9: Folate, Folic Acid, Folacin, Vitamin M, Vitamin Bc

Folate is the form of vitamin B9 occurring naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetically developed form of vitamin B9 found in dietary supplements and used for fortifying food.

  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin, Cobalamine, Cyancobalamin, Cyanocobalamin, Methylcobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Hydroxycobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin, Cobamamide, Dibencozide, Coenzyme B12, Extrinsic Factor

All the different types of vitamin B12 can be referred to as Cobalamins.

All the other names for the B group vitamins are not perfect synonyms – they don’t refer to the exact same forms of the vitamins. The alternative names:

  • can refer to a particular form or formulation of a B vitamin;
  • they may denominate a naturally-occurring B vitamin form OR a manufactured form, either extracted from natural sources OR produced synthetically;
  • they may refer to forms found only in certain classes of food (plant VS animal foods) or in specific foods (e.g. eggs VS milk and dairy VS vegetables VS meat);
  • they may refer to biologically active forms that have the immediate effects of the respective B vitamin OR to precursor-type forms that need to undergo additional steps in the body to reach said B vitamin activity.

When using any one of these alternative names to denominate one of the B group vitamins, it’s important to research and understand the terminology so that you know exactly what it is. Some of these names refer to biologically active forms of the B vitamins, while others refer to precursors or forms that need to be further processed/metabolized to get to the functions and benefits of a specific B vitamin.

This post was updated on Sunday / November 7th, 2021 at 12:45 AM