B Complex Vitamins

by Michael Reeder on February 28, 2012

I was very surprised to hear an “expert” this evening on WNEW (99.1FM in Baltimore), in the context of discussing energy drinks, claim that B6 and B12 vitamins CAUSE cancer.  HUH?  Not what I had heard.

A quick Google search on “B6 B12 cancer risk” came up with these websites:

Mayo Clinic — An excellent rundown of the evidence (and sometimes lack thereof) concerning B complex vitamin benefits.  No cancer risks mentioned.

American Cancer Society — They certainly are not screaming about cancer risks either.  There are a few cautions listed.

Harvard School of Public Health — No panic here either.

There ARE several discussions — mostly inconclusive — of studies looking to see if these vitamins LOWER cancer risks.

Finally — buried on pages 3 and 4 of my search I came across some articles on more obscure websites discussing studies out of Sweden in 2004 and Norway in 2009 discussing cancer risks.  So there is perhaps some risk.  Maybe.

You may be asking why this topic in on a mental health blog?  ADHD is why.

B6, B12, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Increasingly, B complex vitamins (especially B6 and B12) are being touted in alternative circles as useful for ADHD.   Many of my clients provide at least anecdotal evidence of usefulness for energy and focus.  I think they are having an effect.

Here are a few website links to explore this more fully:



Please note that I AM NOT anti-medication and I don’t endorse everything on these websites — but they seem good sources to start to learn more about B complex vitamins and ADHD.  They are not mainstream, so as always you should talk to your doctor or a talented nutritionist or pharmacist when evaluating medications and suppliments.

Given the benefits of B complex vitamins, I was more than a little irritated to hear them casually maligned with little evidence on the radio.

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