5 Things you Should Know About Vitamin B12 Supplements

A review of important vitamin b12 supplements info. Among the most controversial supplements, vitamin B-12 is necessary to keep our blood, nervous system, and heart healthy. It helps us to renew our DNA, provides fuel for the brain, boosts metabolism, and affects the way we absorb food. It even prevents certain types of anemia and is found in animal-based foods like meat and dairy. Here are five things you should be sure to check into whenever you buy a b12 supplements.

Vitamin b12 written across the picture with related words around it in smaller font and various directionsKeeps blood, nervous system and heart healthy

Buy a Supplement, Not Fortified or Processed Food

Fortified foods often claim to contain B-12. Don’t take their word for it, as it could be an inferior form that you can’t absorb easily. Most fortified foods come with added sugar and other additives that could adversely affect your health. Because vitamin b12 supplements comes from living bacteria in the soil, it’s best to choose a high-quality supplement, rather than fortified and processed foods, to avoid the risk of food poisoning.

If You're a Vegan, Make Sure Your b12 supplements Are Too

Be sure you’re not taking vitamin B-12 that comes from an animal-based source. Even if you’re not a vegan, taking in animal products in a supplement can pose a risk of unnecessary processing, which is usually unhealthy.

Most vegan B-12 brands are also non-GMO, and some are organic and even allergen-free. So, read the label and make sure it’s vegan-certified. Always look at supplements the same way you do food: read the labels and be knowledgeable about what you’re buying (and entrusting your health to).

Only Use Methylcobalamin (methyl B-12)

There are usually only two types of B-12 available: methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Be sure to choose methylcobalamin, always. The label might say “methyl B-12.”; this is the kind you want. Methyl vitamin B-12 has been shown to metabolize much more easily than the other forms. The difference between them is in the chemical structure of vitamin B-12. 

Methylcobalamin contains carbon and hydrogen. Cyanocobalamin contains cyanide. The body doesn’t recognize synthetic ingredients as easily as real nutrients. This is why it’s best not to count on fortified foods, as they contain the synthetic form. Methyl stays in the body longer, so you may not need it as often, or your system may utilize it longer for optimal benefits. If you’re lucky enough to find a whole food, vegan multivitamin, be sure it has a significant amount of methyl-type B-12.

Sublingual, Sprays, or Liquid?

You can take b12 supplements in tablet form, but the benefits of a sublingual, spray, or liquid form are they don’t have to be digested before your body can use it. That is to say, these forms have higher bio-availability. Sublingual supplements melt beneath the tongue and enter the bloodstream, as do sprays and liquids.

They do the job immediately and need not be processed through the digestive system. Only choose sublingual and liquid forms of vitamin B-12 that do not have refined sugars, food color, or other artificial flavor agents. There is a wide variety of GMO-free, organic, and vegan brands available that are very effective and not difficult to find.

Choose the Right Dosage

You’re likely to see many dosage varieties among your B-12 options. Most range between 500mcg, up to 5,000mcg. These represent the ranges that can be safely sold to the public over-the-counter. Higher doses can be found as injectable forms, but these are typically available only through a prescription for those suffering from low levels of B-12.

How much is right for you? If you’re a vegan, there’s no need for high doses just because you aren’t taking your B-12 from animal sources. More is not better when it comes to any kind of supplements. However, if you’re currently taking B-12 supplements and continue to suffer from fatigue, anemia, or health issues related to the nervous system, you may well benefit from higher doses.

You should start at no higher than a middle range dose such as 1,000mcg and gradually increase to between 2,000 to 5,000mcg. Daily doses are generally safe at lower levels. Some people may prefer to use them once a week at higher doses. Those who use patches or take injections from a physician generally only receive them once every few months, as they are very potent.

If you are considering taking more than 500mcg, it’s best to consult a physician. Healthy people usually do not need more than 250 and 500mcg., while those with intense fitness routines, may need a higher dosage.

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