• What are B Vitamins?

  • Expanding Determination Capabilities

  • New Method Sensitivity

What are B Vitamins?

The family of B vitamins is a set of eight diverse compounds that act primarily as coenzymes for a variety of metabolic functions involved in both the breakdown and synthesis of biochemicals in the human body. Although varying in their chemical nature, they do share the common property of being water-soluble. B vitamins often occur together in similar foods. The eight compounds classed as B vitamins are: Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Biotin, Folate, and Cyanocobalamin. 

These vitamins are found, of course, naturally in foods, and can be fortified in foods or formulated in dietary supplements in various dosage forms. Because of their similar solubility they are often fortified or formulated together as pre-mixes into foods, beverages, or supplements. This pattern of usage creates a need or an opportunity for a suite of B vitamins to be determined simultaneously. 

Expanding Determination Capabilities

AOAC has an LC-MSMS method 2015.14 that can quantify B1, 2, 4, 3 and 6, but the scope is limited to infant formula and related products. Mérieux NutriSciences has developed a method to determine B vitamins 1,2,3,5,6 and 7 simultaneously. Fortunately, the method has been validated in a variety of food products as well as dietary supplements. This method was developed and validated through the cooperation of Mérieux’s scientists in both Europe and North America (click here to view the poster).

The method uses enzymatic digestion of the sample to free up the target vitamins. Additionally, it has options to utilize acid hydrolysis for, particularly difficult food matrices. Once the free forms of the vitamins are released, the extract is filtered, and labeled internal standards for each of the target vitamins are added. The final determination is by HPLC-MSMS. 

New Method Sensitivity 

The use of internal standards coupled with the separation power of HPLC and the specificity of the HPLC-MSMS detector allows for a robust and sensitive method.  Matrices in which natural levels of vitamins were successfully determined during validation included peanut butter, infant formula, pet food, and green vegetables.  Matrices that were fortified with B vitamins included multi-B tablets and capsules, fortified beverages, oils, nuts, and plant-based meat products.  The limits of quantitation varied for each vitamin but were all between 1 mcg/g and 0.01 mcg/g.  NIST reference materials used for accuracy assessment were all within the certified reference ranges. 

Our experts believe that this method will become a useful tool for manufacturers formulating fortified foods or supplements as well as those needing to confirm label declarations. 

What Can Mérieux Nutrisciences Do For You?

Mérieux Nutrisciences offers a wide range of support for vitamin determination. Our newest offering, now includes an accurate method for the simultaneous analysis of vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacinamide, Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine), and B7 (Biotin) in food (non-fortified & fortified), supplements, mixes and fortified drinks by LC-MS/MS. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.


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