Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in energy and red blood cell production, protects DNA, supports cardiovascular and bone health, and is absolutely necessary for memory and overall mental health. The concern is, your body doesn’t absorb vitamin B12 too well. What’s more, it’s estimated about 40% of Americans are deficient. Sublingual B12 appears to provide better results to more people than the normal tablet form. If you aren’t familiar with sublingual B12, you might just want to consider it as your main supplementation option.
Why Supplement with B12?
A common trait in heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis patients is B12 deficiency. People suffering from depression also have low B12 levels. Your body cannot make B12, so it needs this vitamin from your diet. When you eat foods rich in B12, like eggs, milk, meat, fish, cheese, and poultry, the cells of your stomach releases a substance known as intrinsic factor. This transports B12 safely through digestion and preps it for absorption. If this factor gets out of whack, you don’t get enough B12. Low stomach acidity and damage to cells in the stomach reduces the amount of intrinsic factor you make, and, the older you get, the less intrinsic factor is produced. 
Sublingual B12 = Better Absorption
Vitamin B12 supplements come as tablets, sublingual tablets, or liquids. Except in extreme cases of deficiency, shots of B12 aren’t overly necessary.  The tablets depend on digestive function for the most part, which is one reason they’re not as effective. The benefit of sublingual vitamin B12 is that you don’t need to rely on digestion. Here’s how Sublingual B12 works: sublingual forms of B12 – whether in liquid or tablet form – are placed under the tongue. You hold it in your mouth to allow the B12 to absorb directly into your blood through the membrane in your mouth. This bypasses the digestive process and the need for intrinsic factor.
Advantages of Sublingual B12
Sublingual B12 circumvents digestion so you can get a lot of value out of it regardless of the state of your stomach or intrinsic factor production. Most sublingual vitamin B12 formulas have the same types of B12 that your body prefers – methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Other B12 supplements may contain B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin, which require your liver remove the cyanide (cyano-) molecule before it can create a natural methylcobalamin form. B12 Blend is a vegan-friendly supplement that's a great alternative to sublingual B12 supplements and it contains methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the two most bioactive forms of B12.
Do you use sublingual B12? Tell us how it’s working for you!
- Michael R. Kolber, MD MSc CCFP. Oral vitamin B12: a cost-effective alternative. Can Fam Physician. 2014 Feb; 60(2): 111-112.
- Jeff C Kwong, David Carr, Irfan A Dhalla, Denise Tom-Kun, and Ross EG Upshur. Oral vitamin B12 therapy in the primary care setting: a qualitative and quantitative study of patient perspectives. BMC Fam Pract. 2005; 6: 8. doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-6-8.
†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.