Choosing the best B12 supplement can be a bit confusing for a lot of people. There are so many of them, and they go by different names and different forms. In this article, I’ll help you choose the best and most absorbable form of vitamin B12 to help boost your energy and prevent a deficiency.
Vitamin B12 isn’t something most people think about that often, but some people are at a greater risk of developing a deficiency and serious health complications if not corrected.
Fortunately, even if you have trouble absorbing B12 because of your diet, lifestyle, illness or medications, there are supplements which can bypass the stomach entirely and go straight into the bloodstream.
People who most often require vitamin B12 are those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. These supplements are suitable for everyone, just follow the instruction on the bottle.
Top Vitamin B12 supplements & buyer’s guide
To help you quickly decide on the best option for you:
- If you have problems absorbing B12 and are older than 60 – Choose the sublingual methylcobalamin form of B12.
- If you have young and want to maintain B12 levels but have no absorption issues – Cyanocobalamin would be suitable.
#1. Sublingual Vitamin B12 (5000 mcg) for maximum absorption (suitable for vegans)
A tasty and tiny sugar-free B12 supplement which is most suitable for those who want a high impact, high dose B12 supplement that will be delivered to the body and nervous system more rapidly than non-sublingual supplements.
You put the supplement under your tongue and let it dissolve and work its magic. But if you want to swallow the supplement, you can do that also!
The lozenges are also cherry flavored and better tasting than many supplements out there.
#2. Sublingual Vitamin B12 (1000 mcg) Chewable Lozenges by Natural Health Goodies (suitable for vegans)
Each lozenge gives you 1000 mcg of B12, which is considerably less than the previous supplement, but more than enough for most people without any serious absorption issues.
They mention that the supplement also comes in a premium amber glass bottle, this helps maintain a high level of potency and prevents degradation of the B12 supplement.
The supplement is also made in the USA and in an FDA-approved facility.
The supplement does contain sorbitol and Xylitol, which are sweeteners.
#3. One Naturals Vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin (500 mcg) – 100 tablets (suitable for vegans)
Even at 500 mcg, it still provides enough B12 to keep people free of a B12 deficiency and gets the job done, but isn’t as tasty as the previous two supplements.
One thing I like about this supplement is the fact that it doesn’t have many other additional ingredients compared to the first two supplements.
Each tablet is to be taken with a meal or as directed by your doctor.
#4. Now Foods B-12 10,000 mcg Energy Boost – 10,000 mcg
This supplement is meant for those who are looking for a high dose B12 supplement to boost their energy with 10,000 mcg of cyanocobalamin, plus other vitamins.
The supplement is completely vegan-friendly and contains 12 vials of mixed Berry B12 shots.
The supplement has a lot of reviews, so I recommend having a read! Most are very positive.
How much B12 do you need?
The amount of vitamin B12 you need to be healthy is actually very small. You’d think that it would be easy to acquire from diet alone, but deficiencies still do occur mainly due to restrictive diets and problems absorbing B12 from food.
Recommended Daily Allowance for B12
- Adults need 2.4 mcg per day.
- Pregnant women need 2.6 mcg per day.
- Breastfeeding women need 2.8 mcg per day.
These amounts are what you need to stay “healthy”, but they may not be what could be considered as adequate to promote health according to more recent research.
A study published in 2010 showed that a daily intake of 4 – 7 mcg per day of vitamin B12 was better at lower levels of MMA (sensitive test for B12 deficiency).
Vitamin B12 supplements are available in very high doses because there is no known upper limit and are considered very safe.
Different forms of B12
There are four types of vitamin B12 supplements available, but you should consider taking just one of two different forms of B12.
- Methylcobalamin – Methylcobalamin is absorbed better by the body than other forms of B12. It also remains in the body for longer, so it can be delivered to the cells where it’s needed. You can also get standard B12 supplements or sublingual, which will be delivered under the tongue and absorbed rapidly, bypassing the stomach.
- Cyanocobalamin – This is a synthetic version of B12 which is made in the lab and is often used in vitamin supplements. Not used by the body in this form, it’s converted to methylcobalamin.
- Hydroxocobalamin – This form of B12 is produced by bacteria and found in food. This is the type of B12 which is mostly used for injections.
- Adenosylcobalamin – And finally, the least stable B12 available, and it’s used less than the other forms.
What if you have stomach problems?
Some people lack something known as “gastric intrinsic factor” (GIF), and this can be a reason why they develop a deficiency, even if they appear to be getting enough B12 from their diet.
Only 1% of B12 is absorbed through passive-diffusion, this is why high doses of B12 are needed if they have an issue with GIF and are not absorbing it.
People who have had gastric bypass surgery are recommended to take a sublingual form of b12.
As already mentioned, this form bypasses the stomach entirely and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream from under the tongue.
Who is at risk of developing a deficiency?
As already mentioned, there are a few groups of people who are at most risk of developing a B12 deficiency.
- Vegans and Vegetarians (very high rates of deficiency have been reported in these groups).
- Elderly people.
- People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- People who have autoimmune diseases.
- People with chronic gastritis.
- Gastric bypass surgery patients.
- Pregnant women.
- Families who are low income and have restrictive diets.
Correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency will take some time. The body can store it, and so as you continue to supplement, your liver will store B12 and it will be usable by the body even if you were to stop for short periods of time.
If you still have any questions about which form of B12 you should take, please feel to ask and comment below!
Article reviewed and updated: March 2019