Vitamin B-12 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 problem is, your body doesn’t absorb vitamin B-12 too well. What’s more, it’s estimated about 40% of Americans are deficient. Sublingual B-12 appears to provide better results to more people than the normal tablet form. If you aren’t familiar with sublingual B-12, you might just want to consider it as your main supplementation option.
Why Supplement with B-12?
A common trait in heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis patients is B-12 deficiency. People suffering from depression also have low B-12 levels. Your body cannot make B-12, so it needs this vitamin from your diet. When you eat foods rich in B-12, like eggs, milk, meat, fish, cheese, and poultry, the cells of your stomach releases a substance known as intrinsic factor. This transports B-12 safely through digestion and preps it for absorption. If this factor gets out of whack, you don’t get enough B-12. 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 B-12 = Better Absorption
Vitamin B-12 supplements come as tablets, sublingual tablets, or liquids. Except in extreme cases of deficiency, shots of B-12 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 B-12 is that you don’t need to rely on digestion. Here’s how Sublingual B-12 works: sublingual forms of B-12 – whether in liquid or tablet form – are placed under the tongue. You hold it in your mouth to allow the B-12 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 B-12
Sublingual B-12 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 B-12 formulas have the same types of B-12 that your body prefers – methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Other B-12 supplements may contain B-12 in the form of cyanocobalamin, which require your liver remove the cyanide (cyano-) molecule before it can create a natural methylcobalamin form. VeganSafe™ B-12 is a vegan friendly B-12 supplement that's a great alternative to sublingual B-12 supplements and it contains methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the two most bioactive forms of B-12.
Do you use sublingual B-12? 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.