What’s the Most Absorbable Form of B-12?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A B-12 supplement.Vitamin B-12 is essential for DNA synthesis, brain and nervous system function, and red blood cell formation.For most people, getting enough vitamin B-12 isn’t an issue. Processed foods are often fortified with cyanocobalamin, a synthetic form of the nutrient. Still, many people are deficient in this vitamin because cyanocobalamin–and many other forms of B-12, for that matter–is not highly absorbable. Veganism, age, gastric surgery, gastrointestinal disorders, and pernicious anemia are all factors that can reduce B-12 absorption. In most cases, a B-12 supplement is needed to replenish stores. The two most popular B-12 supplements are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. Which one should you choose? Here are some facts to help you decide.

What is B-12?

Vitamin B-12 is essential for DNA synthesis, brain and nervous system function, and red blood cell formation. It’s also essential for heart health as it aids in the breakdown of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with cardiovascular disease. Although required for proper metabolic function, the human body does not create this vitamin and must obtain it through dietary sources. The most common sources include fish, liver, beef, eggs, cheese, and poultry.

Vitamin B-12 Metabolic Pathway

Similar to other nutrients, B-12 cannot survive stomach acid. Vitamin B-12 in particular requires intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein produced by the parietal cells of the stomach and salivary glands. Intrinsic factor allows B-12 to pass through the stomach and into the small intestine. Once there, intrinsic factor is dissolved and B-12 binds with another protein, transcobalamin II, for transit into the blood. [1]

Why is Methylcobalamin Absorbed the Best?

Methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the two natural, active forms of vitamin B-12. Methylcobalamin specifically absorbs easily since it is the principal circulating form of B-12. As the circulating form, it can cross into the bloodstream sublingually; however, only about 1% of the ingested dose is absorbed. Methylcobalamin is the most bioavailable form, as this form requires little to no conversion and crosses easily through every aspect of B-12’s metabolic pathway.

Does Methylcobalamin Promote Better Health?

Methylcobalamin does not require a methyl group from the body for absorption, saving metabolic energy and cellular resources. The body uses methyl groups to stabilize free radicals and remove toxins, so it is crucial that we’re doing all we can to reserve these groups. Methylation also plays a role in protecting the brain. Methyl groups reduce the impact of dietary glutamate, a non-essential protein known to cause neural damage. So, using methylcobalamin allows the body to retain its ever-so-important methyl groups for toxin removal and health support.

Added Benefits

Researchers have identified methylcobalamin as the preferred form of B-12 supplementation for patients with impaired kidney function, [2] and according to a double-blind study, methylcobalamin also aids in relieving sleep disorders. [3]

One Final Thought

Vitamin B-12 is essential for life. For anyone who needs to supplement with B-12, methylcobalamin offers a highly-efficient option. The fact that it adds methyl groups and encourages proper methylation may be ideal for many who may already be suffering from symptoms of B-12 deficiency. The European Food Safety Authority reports that the combination of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin is the best and safest representation of naturally occurring vitamin B-12. Consider taking a supplement like VeganSafe™ B-12 (which has 80% methylcobalamin and 20% adenosylcobalamin). Have you used methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin? Please share how it has affected your life.

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Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin B-12

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References (3)
  1. Quadros EV. Advances in the understanding of cobalamin assimilation and metabolism. Br J Haematol. 2010 Jan;148(2):195-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07937.x.
  2. Spence JD. B vitamin therapy for homocysteine: renal function and vitamin B12 determine cardiovascular outcomes. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2013 Mar 1;51(3):633-7. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2012-0465.
  3. Takahashi K1, Okawa M, Matsumoto M, et al. Double-blind test on the efficacy of methylcobalamin on sleep-wake rhythm disorders. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1999 Apr;53(2):211-3.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Chris Lang

    I’ve been using vegansafe b-12 since ghc released it. First thing in the morning I take a dropper full swish it for around 20 seconds to allow for sublingual absorption, swollow and follow it with a small amount of water with detoxidine. This combo gives me a huge boost in energy and cognitive function plus it tastes great. I would recommend to anyone

  • Awesome feedback, thanks Chris.

  • I don’t believe you!

  • Doris Trujillo

    Very informative. I didn’t know that B-12 benefits your nerve system. Now I understand why I feel so week sometimes. Thank you for shearing so much information about B-12

  • Eva KB

    Is it not possible to get methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin separately? Many of my clients are low to very low in B12 and would greatly benefit from both methyl- and adenosylcobalamin, but most of my current clients are much lower in adenosylcobalamin than methylcobalamin. Would be great to be able to dose both of these according to need.

  • Tina DeForge

    I was diagnosed with MTHFR genetic mutation which affects my bodies ability to remove toxins. I have to take the methyl form of B12 to help get rid of toxins. Great read.

  • EE

    My sis has underactive thyroid and has been told her body can’t absorb b-12. But she needs b-12, so how can she get it absorbed in her situation? Thanks

  • Sofie Van Steenberghe

    Hello, I have a question concerning the combo with the other B vitamins? Aren’t they best taken together to maximize the benefits? If I buy this supplement, would you advice to take a B complex aswell? Thank you.

  • Sofie Van Steenberghe

    Thank you so much for this post!

  • Naomi

    hey there!
    does vegansafe B12 ship overseas?
    in wikipedia they say adenosylcobalamin is ablolutely essential for the absorption of B12, therefore taking methylcobalamin alone for the vitamin defficiency will not work (as opposed to cyanocobalamin or hydroxocobalamin which brake down into adenosylcobalamin as well). any input on this? is it true?

  • GHC Support

    Methylcobalamin, or methylated B-12, is the most pure, active, bioavailable coenzyme form of B-12 and when paired with adenosylcobalamin, the other coenzyme form of B-12, forms the most potent B-12 combination available.

    VeganSafe B-12 is a vegan-friendly formula that contains methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the two most bioactive forms of B-12.

    We can ship Vegansafe B12 over seas, although you may find a distributor that is closer to you, you can search for one through the following page link: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/store-locator/?world=1

  • Teresa Cardoza Rodriguez

    I read a previous comment regarding hypothyroidism which I have and take levythyroxine for treatment, I have also had a successful gastric sleeve surgery…I would love to take this b12 supplement…am I a good candidate?

  • GHC Support

    While we don’t anticipate any contraindications, it would be a good idea to talk to your Healthcare Practitioner first.


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