Absorbing enough vitamin B12 is a concern for many people. A plant-based diet, age, gastric surgery, gastrointestinal disorders, and pernicious anemia are all factors that can affect B12 absorption. In most cases, a B12 supplement can put you back on track. Which one should you choose? Here are some facts to help you decide.
What Is B12?
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that supports energy production, DNA synthesis, brain and nervous system function, and red blood cell formation. It also helps with heart health by aiding in the breakdown of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with poor cardiovascular health. Although required for proper metabolic function, the human body does not create this vitamin and must obtain it from dietary sources.
Vitamin B12 Metabolic Pathway
In order for the body to absorb B12, it uses something called intrinsic factor — a glycoprotein produced by the parietal cells of the stomach and salivary glands. Intrinsic factor allows B12 to pass through the stomach and into the small intestine. Once there, intrinsic factor is dissolved and B12 binds with another protein, transcobalamin II, for transit into the blood.
Why Is Methylcobalamin Absorbed the Best?
Methylcobalamin is a natural, active form of vitamin B12. Methylcobalamin is the principal circulating form of B12 and can cross into the bloodstream quickly. However, only about 1% of what's ingested is absorbed. Methylcobalamin is the most bioavailable, as it requires little to no conversion and crosses easily through every aspect of B12’s metabolic pathway. Additionally, another form of vitamin B12 — adenosylcobalamin — is also easily absorbed by the body.
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 preserve 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, methylcobalamin allows the body to retain its ever-so-important methyl groups for toxin removal and health support.
Researchers have identified methylcobalamin as the preferred form of B12 supplementation for people concerned about their kidney health, and according to a double-blind study, methylcobalamin also supports healthy sleep patterns.
One Final Thought
Vitamin B12 is essential for life. For anyone who wants to supplement with B12, 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 dealing with B12 deficiency. The combination of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin is considered by many to be the best and safest representation of naturally occurring vitamin B12. Consider taking a supplement like our Organic Vitamin B12 that provides an ideal serving of both. Have you used methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin? Please share how they've affected your life.
Everything You Should Know About Vitamin B12
Length: 51 minutes
- Quadros EV. Advances in the understanding of cobalamin assimilation and metabolism. Br J Haematol. 2010 Jan;148(2):195-204.
- Spence JD. B vitamin therapy for homocysteine: renal function and vitamin B12 determine cardiovascular outcomes. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2013 Mar 1;51(3):633-637.
- Takahashi K, et al. Double-blind test on the efficacy of methylcobalamin on sleep-wake rhythm disorders. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1999 Apr;53(2):211-213.
†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.