Adenosylcobalamin is a vitamin on a mission. Without this active form of B-12, the human body would cease to produce energy at the cellular level. This would terminate all cellular processes and result in eventual systemic failure and, left untreated, death. Vitamin B-12, in all its forms, is that important. What some people don’t realize is that B-12 is unique in that it’s not a plant-based vitamin. Only bacteria create it, making humans completely dependent on these microscopic organisms for survival. Yes, animal foods do contain B-12; but, all of these animals receive their B-12 from bacterial fermentation in the gut.
Four Facts About Adenosylcobalamin
Common sources of B-12 include fish, meat, and dairy products. For anyone unable to digest or absorb the nutrient (which can happen with age), or anyone with dietary restrictions preventing consumption of these foods, supplementation is an absolute necessity. Here’s four facts about adenosylcobalamin that will explain its function and efficacy.
1. Adenosylcobalamin Is Converted Methylcobalamin
Dietary sources of B-12 come in the form of hydroxocobalamin. Many supplements use the artificial form of B-12 — cyanocobalamin — because it’s cheaper and highly stable. In recent years methylcobalamin, the form of B-12 the body uses, has become a popular supplement.
Whichever form of B-12 is ingested, the body will convert it to methylcobalamin. As a side note, methylcobalamin doesn’t require conversion and goes straight to work without any unnecessary energy expenditure. This form of B-12 flows through the bloodstream and goes to work by protecting the brain, removing toxins, and converting homocysteine to methionine. In further reactions, methionine contributes a methyl-group to create adenosyl, and ultimately adenosylcobalamin.
2. Metabolic Effects of Adenosylcobalamin
The Citric Acid cycle, or Kreb’s cycle, is the process by which mitochondria creates ATP, or cellular energy. During this process, adenosylcobalamin must assist in the conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA. Without this process, the Citric Acid cycle fails. This results in cellular damage and potential DNA and RNA damage, setting the stage for degenerative disease. Early symptoms of this issue manifests as fatigue or early aging.
3. How to Determine Adenosylcobalamin Deficiency
High levels of Methylmalonic Acid (MMA) in the blood or the urine reflect inadequate adenosylcobalamin levels. One study found people with reported MMA levels of .27 micromoles per liter or higher (.26 or above indicates B-12 deficiency) may show higher homocysteine levels, while those at .60 may suffer from neurological issues.[1, 2] Testing for MMA will reveal whether the body is adenosylcobalamin deficient.
4. Supplementing With Adenosylcobalamin
Although it’s a natural and essential form of B-12, adenosylcobalamin is not stable in a pill form (unlike cyanocobalamin) so it’s not commonly used in B-12 supplements unless it’s a liquid formulation. VeganSafe™ B-12 is a liquid B-12 supplement I developed that combines the coenzyme forms of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. It’s absolutely ideal for getting your daily requirements of B-12 and perfect for those with an increased risk of B-12 deficiency, especially older adults, vegetarians, and vegans.
Do you supplement with adenosylcobalamin? Tell us how it’s working for you!
Watch an In-Depth Video on Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin B-12
Length: 51 minutes
- Herrmann W, Obeid R. Cobalamin deficiency. Subcell Biochem. 2012;56:301-22. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-2199-9_16.
- CDC. Water-soluble vitamins &Related BiochemicalCompounds. CDC, 12 June 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2016
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.