Do you need a vitamin B12 supplement?
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is associated with some impressive health benefits as it is involved in many processes in the body such as brain function, healthy red blood cell formation, enzyme production, DNA synthesis, nervous system regulation, and improved quality of life.
Low levels of vitamin B-12 may be associated with cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and cognitive impairment, risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy, developmental delays in infants and children, and anemia.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency symptoms can include loss of appetite, weakness, fatigue, tingling of the hands and feet, mood changes, and dizziness.
The question is, do you need to supplement?
Often it's not possible for an individual to obtain enough B12 from their diet alone as they are only found in animal foods and poor absorption of vitamin B12 can be compromised by digestive disorders such as low hydrochloric acid, gastric bypass surgery, atrophic gastritis but also medications and certain diets such as vegetarian and vegan diets.
The proper absorption of vitamin B12 from dietary sources requires certain digestive conditions to be in place and specifically the presence of a protein called intrinsic factor.
Particularly rich food sources of vitamin B12 may include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk products
Plant foods are poor sources of vitamin B12 which is why those eating an exclusively plant based diet or who follow dietary restrictions often will need to supplement.
Apart from the above listed foods you can also obtain this vitamin from fortified foods or supplementation.
How much vitamin B12 should you get in a day?
The general recommended amounts of vitamin B12 will vary according to age according to the National Institutes of Health:
Birth to 6 months: 0.4 micrograms per day
Infants 7-12 months: 0.5 micrograms per day
Children 1-3 years:0.9 micrograms per day
Children 4-8 years : 1.2 micrograms per day
Children 9-13 years: 1.8 micrograms per day
Youth 14-18 years: 2.4 micrograms per day
Adults 19+ years: 2.4 micrograms per day
It's important to monitor your levels of vitamin B12 and check your blood levels with your doctor to properly assess the appropriate dosing for you.
Folic acid should also be tested alongside your serum vitamin B12 level as a folate deficiency can present itself as macrocytic anemia but may often be confused with a B12 deficiency (1).
Often times dosages will be higher initially to correct a deficiency and followed by a lowered maintenance dose.
This water-soluble vitamin is eliminated through the urine if there is any excess thus reaching toxicity levels is fairly uncommon.
How to find the best vitamin B12 supplement
It's important to note that there exist different forms of vitamin B12 when you are looking for a supplement.
Most supplements on the market contain the synthetic form of vitamin B12, cyanocobalamin, as it is more cost effective and stable. However, this form of vitamin B12 may be less effective as it has been shown to be harder to digest and absorb (2)(3).
B12 methycolabalamin is one of the natural and active forms of the vitamin and is found naturally in foods
You can take vitamin B12 in the form of liquid supplements, tablets, capsules, oral sprays, or even injections.
The most important factors to be aware of are choosing a reputable brand that offers a high quality product and that is offered in a bioavailable form. For those with digestive malabsorption issues, common among the aging population, liquid supplementation and injections are likely the most efficient.
If you are not severely deficient in vitamin B12 but want to increase your levels and you are not able to do so through your diet alone, a B complex or multivitamin may be a good option to not only boost your vitamin B12 but also other nutrients that work synergistically.
You want to be able to most efficiently absorb your vitamin to get the most out of your supplement!
8 Best Vitamin B12 Supplements to Help Boost a Low Intake, According to Experts
Vitamin B12 is a soluble vitamin necessary for energy production; for nervous system function as it is needed to produce myelin, the fatty matter that forms a protective sheath around nerves; for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps with retention and learning; for the synthesis of red blood cells; for producing the genetic materials, DNA and RNA. It can help psychological state and give you energy. Most vitamin B12 comes from animal source foods and is deficient in strict vegetarian diets. Vitamin B12 works with folic acid to control homocysteine levels. Research shows that high levels of homocysteine may dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, many of us may not be absorbing the vitamin B12 as effectively from food as we could and others, such as vegetarians, may develop outright deficiencies in this important vitamin. Studies show that supplemental vitamin B12 can help us in other ways, too.
Our highly bioavailable B12 Liquid is a convenient and effective delivery method for this critical vitamin.
Vitamin B12 is pivotal for immune performance, energy metabolism, and red blood cell formation. New Roots Herbal 's B12 Liquid, in its active form as methylcobalamin, employs a liquid dosage matrix for fast action and ease of absorption. Meat, fish, and dairy products are all excellent sources of B12; needless to say, people opting for vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, or those afflicted with intestinal malabsorption, may require alternative sources. Our B12 Liquid formula supplement targets B12 deficiency, which in turn could have a direct impact on energy, immunity, and endurance.
Hydroxocobalamin is a unique form of vitamin B12, which is more readily converted into the coenzyme forms than conventional cyanocobalamin. Hydroxocobalamin also readily binds body stores of cyanide, unlike conventional cyanocobalamin, which already includes this ion in its structure.
MegaFood Vegan B12 helps to enhance the body 's natural energy stores, mental alertness and overall well-being. Made with synergistic vitamins B6 and folate, Vegan B12 also supports the healthy formation of blood cells necessary for optimal performance. Vegan B12 is delivered in a convenient mini tablet which means it is easy-to-swallow, easy to digest, even on a empty stomach.
Experience easily digestible vegan Vitamin B12 for energy support and healthy red blood cell formation.* Fermented for easy absorption.
Your body needs Vitamin B12 to metabolize protein from food into fuel. B12 is water soluble, which means it’s continually processed through the body rather than being stored. Vitamin B12 supplements are a reliable and easy way to replenish this vitamin each day. Since dietary Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) typically comes from animal products, supplementing can be key if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Adenosyl/Hydroxy B12 liquid is a vitamin B12 blend formulated for nerve and mitochondrial support. It helps support carbohydrate metabolism for the enzyme methylmalonyl-CoA as well as the synthesis of neuronal myelin.
AOR 's Tri B12 Synergy is a combination of three independent and active forms of Vitamin B12. Methylcobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin and Adenosylcobalamin are three distinct cobalamin factors, each with their own unique benefits. When taken together, they provide an appropriate dose of bioavailable and active forms of B12 for comprehensive support in replenishing a deficiency.
Together with vitamin B6 and folic acid, vitamin B12 is one of the powerhouse trio of B vitamins that help to decrease and normalize the homocysteine levels in our body. Increased homocysteine levels can cause the build-up of plaques in the artery walls (atherosclerosis), which can lead to heart disease or stroke. B12 deficiency is also associated with complications in pregnancies and neurological disorders.
About the Author
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.