The survey, commissioned by UK vitamins brand Vitabiotics, found that fewer than one in 10 people know how many types of B vitamins there are.
Carried out in February 2021, the survey found that 20% of people believe that B vitamins can be sourced from sunlight, 23% think they are found in turmeric and almost a third (30%) admit they don't know what foods contain them.
Nearly half of people (47%) couldn’t identify a B vitamin, with 10% thinking Retinol (a form of Vitamin A) is one. Some of the B vit family are a little better known - one in five know Biotin is one and one in four know Folic Acid is one.
Despite there being eight main B vitamins, 32% of people think there are more than 12 different types. In fact, just 6% of Brits correctly said there are eight.
Vitabiotics says the findings are important as although the vitamins are found in legumes and leafy green vegetables, they are most commonly consumed through animal-based foods, meaning those turning to a plant-based diet need to know how to get enough of these essential vitamins through their daily diet, or with supplements.
A spokesperson for Vitabiotics said: “It’s clear from our findings, that the majority of Brits are less aware of B vitamins and the role each one plays in maintaining a healthy body than other better know vitamins.
“It’s not surprising given the more complicated array of B vitamins, the fact Vitamin C and D are so well known and have had a huge amount of media attention on them; particularly over the last 12 months.
“But we believe that more education around this essential vitamin group is important, for example the vital role of folic acid before conception and in early pregnancy."
The main B vitamins are: Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) and Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).
They are most commonly discussed in terms of their benefits for energy levels but they are also essential for red blood cell formation, normal function of the immune and nervous systems, hormone regulation, psychological function, cell division, and maintenance of skin and hair health.
“At a time where people are thinking so much about their health and wellbeing, with more following vegetarian and vegan diets, it’s vital they know the right amount of B vitamins required in a balanced diet and what sources these can be found in.”