Vitamin B12 aids in the formation of red blood cells, helps ensure healthy neurological function and plays an assistive role in both metabolic function and the synthesis of DNA. It would be hard to overstate its importance, but even so many people still don’t get enough B12 in their normal diet.
Vitamin B12 can be found in dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. So people who eat low protein diets as well as vegans often need to take supplemental vitamin B12 in order to stave off a range of maladies. Below are the 10 best Vitamin B12 supplements on the market today.
1. Nature Made Vitamin B12
Nature Made has a well deserved reputation for creating high quality supplements. Their vitamin B12 is a softgel pill that is easily digested. That in turn allows the B12 to be absorbed effectively by the body. It’s a good way for vegans and others to get the B12 they need. Nature Made also strives to keep their high quality supplements affordable. Another good reason to have them at the top of the list.
2. Seeking Health Active B12
Seeking Health Active B12 has been formulated by a team of physicians whose goal is to provide high quality, easily absorbed B12 for those in need. In this case 2 kinds of B12 – methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin – are stacked with folate to help facilitate digestion and absorption. Seeking Health Active B12 supports red blood cell production and helps increase energy levels.
3. NOW B-12 2000 mcg
NOW Foods also formulate their B12 supplement with 2 forms of the vitamin: cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. The former helps the body sustain healthy B12 levels while the latter provides detoxifying benefits. For good measure they include dibencozide which is known to help the body process protein, improve mental acuity and increase muscle mass, which makes it particularly popular with athletes.
4. Solgar Sublingual Methylcobalamin 5000 MCG
Solgar can always be counted on to produce effective, often powerful supplements and their 5000 mcg Sublingual Methylcobalamin (B12) is another feather in their cap. A B12 supplement of this potency is recommended for vegans and others who routinely consume less than ideal levels of protein and need to give their system a boost. Because of the size and potency of the dosage Solgar recommend you take this supplement with food.
5. Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (Methyl B12)
Methylcobalamin B12 is typically used to treat vitamin B12 deficiency. As such this Jarrow Methyl B12 supplement is often recommended for those known to be B12 deficient. It’s also an excellent supplement for those who may be on the cusp of B12 deficiency due to dieting or other artificial constraints. Because each capsule here contains 5,000 mcg you’ll get everything you need once a day.
6. Natrol Vitamin B12
Natrol Vitamin B12 Energy Support is a high potency, easily digested and absorbed cyanocobalamin B12 supplement designed to help you increase energy reserves, produce more and healthier oxygen-carrying red blood cells and improve mental sharpness and overall brain function. Recommended for those who push the performance envelope on their jobs and sometimes don’t eat right.
7. Salt Lake Vitamin B12 Liquid Drops
Don’t let the name fool you. There’s no salt in Salt Lake Vitamin B12 Liquid Drops. But there is vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6 and more. Salt Lake have formulated their supplement to not only fill your B12 dietary gap but to help boost your energy levels and improve digestive efficiency. If you’re looking for the fastest way to get the B12 boost you need these sublingual drops from Salt Lake answer the call.
8. Bluebonnet Nutrition Chewable Vitamin B-12
Bluebonnet takes a slightly different approach to B12 delivery with their chewable 1000 mcg tablets. Each tablet contains methylcobalamin B12 which is known to promote healthy, oxygen rich red blood cells and help boost energy. This particular chewable features all natural EarthSweet® sweetener that is produced from fruit juice concentrates. The result is a tasty, quickly absorbed dose of B12 to set you back on an energetic track.
9. SBR Vitamin B12 Liquid Drops, Sublingual
Sublingual drops are the most efficacious way to deliver vitamins to the body short of intravenous injections. The absorption rate is through the roof which means it will only take minutes before you likely start feeling the effects of this SBR Vitamin B12 supplement. To make the process a bit more palatable there’s a natural cherry flavor.
10. Vitafusion Energy B12 Gummy Vitamins
The final entry on our list of vitamin B12 supplements is another chewable. This time the Vitafusion Energy B12 Gummy Vitamin. For those concerned there may be unwanted ingredients used to create the gum fear not. There’s only natural ingredients including gelatin, coconut oil and beeswax. Sucrose, however, is also included so diabetics take note.
Who Benefits from Taking Vitamin B-12?
Because vitamin B12 is important for so many bodily functions it’s fair to say that everyone can potentially benefit from taking B12. However, there are some who typically benefit more than others. They include:
- Athletes – Because Vitamin B12 is known to aid in the production of healthy red blood cells athletes will want to be sure they are always getting enough of this important vitamin. B12 also aids in protein synthesis and the creation of muscle mass (1). Yet one more reason athletes can often be found with B12 in their vitamin drawer. Of course anything that promotes health blood cells is going to be good for your cardiovascular system as a whole. And since athletes rise and fall on their cardiovascular health you can see why so many take supplemental B12.
- Non-meat eaters – Doctors get a fairly steady stream of vegans and vegetarians in their office complaining about feeling sluggish and perhaps mentally off. As often as not this kind of general lethargy can be laid at the foot of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Since most of our dietary B12 comes from dairy products, meat and fish you can understand why these folks are prone to becoming B12 deficient. If you believe your diet is causing a B12 deficiency speak with your doctor right away.
- People with Chronic Fatigue – Chronic fatigue syndrome can be debilitating. Those who suffer from it or who experience other forms of overwhelming fatigue will often benefit from taking a B12 supplement (2). As B12 helps in the production of oxygen rich red blood cells it can often provide an energy boost to those who feel weighed down by their condition.
- People over 50 – As we age our digestive system can lose the ability to produce enough gastric acid to effectively extract vitamin B12 from the food we eat; a condition known as atrophic gastritis (3) It’s estimated this happens to nearly 30% of the population. Taking supplemental B12 can help alleviate the worst symptoms of this condition.
- People with pernicious anemia – A lack of healthy red blood cells is responsible for pernicious anemia, an enervating condition that drains a person of their usual vim and vigor. Since vitamin B12 is known to help in the production of healthy red blood cells supplemental B12 is almost always indicated for those who suffer PA.
Why Should the Average Person Take Vitamin B12?
Even if you are not an athlete or a vegan there are any number of reasons why taking vitamin B12 is a smart thing to do. B12 facilitates the production of hemoglobin, helps create healthy red blood cells, can strengthen your cardiovascular system and enable proper neurological function. As such it is in the best interest of the average person to ensure they are getting enough vitamin B12 in order to:
- Stave off deficiency – As we have alluded to several times above a B12 deficiency can be a debilitating thing. People lose their mental sharpness and generally feel as though the vitality has been drained from their system. Virtually everyone has the potential to develop a B12 deficiency and virtually everyone should want to prevent that from happening.
- Maintain or restore energy – B12 not only helps in the production of vital, oxygen carrying red blood cells it’s also used by the body to convert carbohydrates into glucose. In case you’re not sure why that is important it’s because your body depends on this process to produce the energy it uses to power itself. So take your B12 and help maintain your energy levels.
- Improve mental acuity – B12 is also important in maintaining a healthy nervous system. When people with a B12 deficiency take the vitamin in supplemental form they often experience slightly elevated brain function (4).
- Maintain a healthy heart – Because of its role in the production of red blood cells and its ability to reduce homocysteine levels B12 is considered an important ingredient in a person’s recipe for a healthy heart (5). B12 is also thought to play a role in reducing the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
- Maintain a healthy glow – B12 also plays a key role in overall cell production meaning if you want your skin to retain its rosy glow you’ll make sure to get enough B12 either in your diet or by way of supplementation. B12 is also thought to play a role in the production of healthy, supple hair (6).
To be sure most of the benefits that come from supplemental vitamin B12 have to do with preventing a deficiency from developing. Therefore, if you already get enough B12 in your diet by way of dairy, meat and fish it’s unlikely that supplemental B12 will do you much good. Still, because B12 deficiency affects an estimated 3% of those between 20 and 39, 4% of those between 40 and 59 and 6% of those aged 70 or older (7) there are potentially 10 to 15 million or more Americans who are currently B12 deficient. With most unaware what is causing their fatigue, confusion and general lack of vitality.
What are the Side Effects from Taking Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is not known to have any particular upper limit on how much it is safe to take. When people take more than they need that excess is simply expelled by the body. While there is little evidence to support such claims some people have said they experience swelling, itching and a sense of nervousness when they took excessive amounts of B12. But again, the verifiable confirming data is lacking for such claims.
What Should I Look For in a Vitamin B12 Supplement?
Not all B12 supplements are the same and not all will necessarily be right for you. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a vitamin B12 supplement.
- The type of B12 used – There are normally 2 types of B12 used in supplements: methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. They have slightly different roles within the body. Therefore, which type is best for you should be determined in consultation with your doctor.
- The delivery method – Some B12 supplements are in tablet form. Some in capsule form. Still others are administered as liquid drops under the tongue. The sublingual method is the fastest method of absorption and is typically right for those who are B12 deficient and need a boost.
- The size of the dose – B12 supplement dosages range in size from 500 mcg to 5,000 mcg. While taking more than you need does not typically produce side effects you may feel a bit of stomach discomfort if you take excessive amounts of B12.
- Additives – Finally, make sure you read the label so that you know exactly what it is you’re putting into your system. Some chewables contain sucrose for instance, which could negatively affect a diabetic’s blood sugar levels. Others will want to be sure their supplement is gluten free.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin B12 is an important link in the health chain.(8) If you don’t get enough it could negatively affect your cardio health, energy levels and brain function. If you need supplemental B12 consider any of the above.