Methylcobalamin circulates through the bloodstream and is one of two naturally-occurring coenzyme forms of vitamin B-12 that the body utilizes. Adenosylcobalamin is the other form sometimes used in the dietary supplement industry. The body needs B-12 to convert homocysteine to methionine, protect DNA and RNA, support energy, protect nerve and brain cells, stimulate serotonin production, contribute to red blood cell formation, support immune function, and maintain a positive mood.
What’s So Great About Methylcobalamin?
Hydroxocobalamin is the main B-12 form found in meat, fish, and dairy products. Cyanocobalamin is a common but synthetic B-12 that is often added to foods, and the body must use precious energy to convert this form into methylcobalamin. This B-12 form has better stability and bioavailability and doesn’t require conversion. These next four facts will explain the benefits of methylcobalamin.
1. Increases Available Physical Energy
Every chemical reaction in the body expends energy. When the body needs to convert a vitamin into a form the body can use, this reaction also requires energy. For example, supplementing with the cyanocobalamin form of B-12 requires the body to expend energy that removes the cyanide molecule and replaces it with a methyl group. Taking methylcobalamin as a B-12 supplement eliminates the need for this extra chemical reaction.
2. Encourages Detox
Methyl groups activate hundreds of chemical reactions throughout the body. One such process includes triggering detox reactions. This includes the removal of heavy metals, environmental toxins, and waste products.
3. Supports Brain & Nerve Health
Methylcobalamin is the only form of B-12 that can cross the blood-brain barrier without assistance or conversion. Its methyl group stimulates serotonin creation, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood support. It also works directly on brain cells to protect against damage from excitotoxins. Researchers have found large doses of methylcobalamin may offer therapeutic value for those suffering from ALS and multiple sclerosis.[2, 3] This is the only form of B-12 that acts on the nervous system.
4. Neutralizes Homocysteine
High homocysteine levels are undesirable and known to be an indicator of heart disease and stroke risk. Free homocysteine in the blood causes sclerosis of the arteries, putting a strain on the vascular system and the heart. One of the primary reactions of methylcobalamin is to convert homocysteine to methionine, reducing the potential for damage. Outcomes from this reaction include the formation of cysteine, a precursor to the super-antioxidant glutathione. Methionine also contributes to the formation of adenosylcobalamin, the other form of B-12 used by the body in mitochondrial energy creation, the foundation for all human energy.
Supplementing With Methylcobalamin
Methylcobalamin supplementation has exploded in popularity. It’s the most functional B-12 supplement because it’s already in bioavailable form, the body does not need to convert it. This offers a huge advantage over other types of vitamin B-12. Sublingual supplementation of methylcobalamin is one of the most common ways it’s taken because of the quick absorption. When you’re deciding on a B-12 supplement, find one that combines both methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. I developed a formula called VeganSafe™ B-12, which not only offers both of these forms of B-12 but is also vegan and produced in the USA. It truly is the best quality B-12 supplement available, and we’ve gotten incredible feedback from our customers who’ve tried it.
Have you supplemented with methylcobalamin? How did it go? Share your thoughts and comments below.
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- Kikuchi M, et al. "Protective effects of methylcobalamin, a vitamin B12 analog, against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in retinal cell culture." Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1997 Apr;38(5): 848-54.
- Izumi Y, Kaji R. "Clinical trials of ultra-high-dose methylcobalamin in ALS." Brain Nerve. 2007 Oct;59(10):1141-7.
- Kira J, et al. "Vitamin B12 metabolism and massive-dose methyl vitamin B12 therapy in Japanese patients with multiple sclerosis." Intern Med. 1994 Feb;33(2):82-6.
†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.