What Is Vitamin B50?

What Is Vitamin B50?

“B50″ is vitamin industry jargon for B-vitamin supplements that contain 50 milligrams of several B-complex vitamins in one pill, capsule or liquid vitamin dose. Examples of marketed labels are “Formula B-Complex 50 High Potency B Vitamins,” and “B-50 Caps Vitamin B-Complex Dietary Supplement.” B-complex is also packaged in B-100 dosages.


Recommended Daily Allowance

Vitamins were chemically isolated and identified by various scientists beginning around 1900. Food rationing during World War II prompted national defense programs to study the minimum nutrition from dietary sources necessary to avoid disease in a healthy population. By 1941, dietitians had agreed on minimum Recommended Dietary Allowance required daily from dietary sources. Commercial vitamin supplements were marketed over the counter by 1950. The U.S. Department of Agriculture revises dietary guidelines as research progresses and requires a Daily Value assessment to be printed on labels of packaged food.

RDA for B-Complex

Fifty milligram dosage significantly exceeds Recommended Dietary Allowance for B vitamins. RDA for vitamin B1 (thiamine) is 1.2 milligram to avoid nerve disease. RDA for B2 (riboflavin) is 1.3 milligrams to avoid skin and membrane disease. RDA for B3 (niacin) is 16 milligrams to avoid pellagra, a skin disease. RDA for B6 (pyridoxine) to avoid nerve damage is 17 milligrams. RDA for B9 (folic acid) is 30 micrograms or only 0.03 milligrams to support production of healthy red blood cells, although twice that dosage is recommended during pregnancy or for women planning a pregnancy.

Linus Pauling

Chemist Linus Pauling won a 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry for work that included analysis of the tetravalent potentials of the carbon atom, a related theory of hybridized electron bond orbits to explain shapes of organic molecules and a description of electronegativity, the degree of polar attraction of a molecule. In 1968, Pauling’s work with vitamin C led him to advocate investigation of “orthomolecular” medicine, or therapy based on large doses of vitamins.


Orthomolecular theory suggests that many medicines developed by commercial industry essentially replace the functions of natural substances. For example, if a failure to properly absorb and utilize B3 (niacin) is a causal or contributing factor in schizophrenia, then orthomolecular doses (megadoses) of niacin are a potential treatment. Orthomolecular therapy is outside of mainstream medical practice and many mainstream medical organizations have issued statements concerning the danger of over the counter megadose vitamin self-medication.

Orthomolecular Studies of Niacin

Niacin is a success story in orthomolecular medicine. In 2004, a team of cardiologists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center first established that niacin taken under clinical supervision in support of statin drugs does help lower cholesterol levels in patients at risk of heart attack. However, niacin can complicate the conditions of patients with diabetes or stomach ulcers. A 1977 study published in Communications in Psychopharmacology by Ban, Lehmann and Deutsch confirmed that niacin did not support anti-psychotic medications in relieving patients with schizophrenia. At large doses, over-the-counter supplements become drugs and should not be taken without first consulting a physician.

Toxicity of B-vitamins

The liver and kidneys filter toxins from blood, and several B vitamins do pose a risk of liver damage if taken at megadoses. Other B-complex toxicities include, but are not limited to, slowing or decreasing insulin release, anemia, pernicious anemia, insomnia or depression, headaches, changes of blood pressure, changes in thyroid function, shortness of breath and episodes of acute anxiety. Although commercial B50 supplements are safe dosages for healthy adults when taken as directed on the product’s label, megadosing with several daily doses of a B50 supplement or combining B50 doses with multivitamin supplements should not be done without medical supervision.

This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!

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