The B complex vitamins are a vital part of a healthy life, and they work to convert the food sources that we eat into energy. B12 specifically is responsible for helping your body to replicate DNA and create red blood cells. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to source enough B12 from your diet, especially if you don’t eat meat.
B12 works in an interesting way and it acts more like a hormone than a typical vitamin. If you’re like most people, then you probably don’t know what your daily dose of B12 should be or where you can get it from. There’s no need to worry, though.
Best Vitamin B12 Supplements
We’ve reviewed many of this year’s top B12 supplements and collected some of them here for you to compare, along with a bit more of an in-depth look at what B12 does and why a B12 supplement might be an important addition to your daily routine.
1. Vitafusion Extra Strength B12
Vitafusion is a well-known supplement brand that remembers how much better the chewable vitamins from childhood were compared to the capsules we are expected to down as adults. They offer a variety of supplements, vitamins and minerals in a chewable form for all ages.
If you’re not a fan of swallowing pills whole, then Vitafusion is probably a brand you want to remember. For many supplements, pills and chewables are the only 2 options out there. For B12, you can also get them from a wide range of sources in the form of sublingual tabs, lozenges, or liquid, but if you just like chewables over the rest, Vitafusion has you covered.
Vitafusion Extra Strength B12 being a chewable means that it has to have extra ingredients to put the active agents into a gummy form. Because they’re gummies, they also have gelatin in them, which removes them as a viable option for vegans and vegetarians. Unfortunately, this makes up a large portion of the people who need B12 supplements the most, which is a pretty massive design flaw.
2. SBR Nutrition Vitamin B12 Drops
SBR Nutrition Vitamin B12 is one of only a few B12 supplements that are available in liquid form. When compared to other options, a product from VeganSafe comes out on top.
The version available from SBR isn’t tested by independent labs to ensure it is pure and determine a scientifically recommended dose, which is what puts it a bit below the option from VeganSafe in terms of recommendation. It also has a drawback that is shared by any liquid medication, which is that droppers are an imperfect measurement tool and dosage will never be 100% precise.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a B12 supplement and you really want a liquid, SBR Nutrition Vitamin B12 Drops aren’t bad.
3. Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin
The B12 supplement from Jarrow Formulas is more like candy than it is medicine. They have made their B12 formulas in the form of a lozenge that dissolves in your mouth like hard candy or cough drops.
This supplement comes in a very high dose of 5,000 mcg per lozenge, so you should be careful to ensure you don’t get too much of it. This lozenge is designed for those who need to incorporate a lot of B12 quickly.
4. Natrol Vitamin B12
The vitamin B12 supplement from Natrol is the gold standard for quick delivery, high dose B12. It delivers 5,000 mcg per dose using a quickly dissolving tablet that immediately enters your system, giving you a massive amount of B12 rather quickly.
When it comes to Natrol B12, the real question is why such extremes are needed. Most users won’t need the almost instantaneous delivery or the massive dosage, and for some getting just a large amount over a longer period of time through a slow release capsule may actually be better for absorption.
This supplement certainly isn’t for everyone, but there are certainly users out that who, for one reason or another, need to get a lot of B12 and need it fast. For those users, Natrol Vitamin B12 is definitely the option to go with.
5. Zenwise Health Vitamin B12
The vitamin B12 supplement that is available from Zenwise Health is able to provide a slightly more reasonable dose of 1,000 mg that still ensures you get enough B12 daily. It uses a swallowable tablet the releases the B12 into your system over the course of the day.
In terms of standing out from the rest, the Zenwise B12 doesn’t do much to distinguish itself. It doesn’t have any special actions or delivery and hasn’t undergone independent lab testing like many other brands have.
Overall, the Zenwise Health Vitamin B12 isn’t a flashy or special option, but it’s a standard option that’s reliable if that’s all you’re looking for.
6. Bronson Vitamin Sustained Release B12
Bronson Vitamin’s B12 formula is one of the only options available that provide a slow-release delivery method to ensure that you get a consistent supply of B12 throughout the day. The 1,000 mcg dose in this supplement can provide many advantages when your body is given plenty of time to absorb it little by little.
There are a few other brands that have put their supplements through independent lab testing, and Bronson has not, but it’s still worth including on this list as a good option if you’re looking for a slow-release delivery method.
7. Garden of Life Vitamin Code B12
Garden of Life believes that the body needs more than just the independent vitamin that has been stripped away from other nutrients that it is usually found with in nature. They employ this belief when creating their products, and Garden of Life Vitamin Code B12 is no different. Their B12 supplement contains not just a healthy dose of B12, but also a collection of fruit and vegetable extracts.
The only downside here is that approach is slightly counterintuitive when it comes to B12 specifically because it isn’t usually found in fruits and vegetables in significant doses. B12 is more likely to be found in animal products like meat and dairy, so providing it in a formula that contains veggie extracts doesn’t quite reflect the environment in which they naturally occur.
8. VeganSafe B12
VeganSafe B12 is an excellent option if you are looking to get your B12 in liquid form. The supplement has been tested in independent labs and has been proven to be pure and well-concentrated. VeganSafe B12 does not have any additives or unnecessary ingredients, and every serving from the dropper contains about 2,500 mcg of B12.
The one downside to this supplement is that any liquid medication isn’t going to be exact in its measurements, but at just a high does it isn’t a big deal if you’re short a bit.
9. Nature Made B12 Timed Release
Nature Made B12 Time Release is another one of the few B12 supplements that features a slow-release capsule, and with a dose of 1,000 mcg in each serving the result is a quality product that is simple and effective.
Nature Made is another brand that uses independent laboratory testing, and their B12 supplement passed these test effortlessly. This is an all-around good choice for your daily B12 needs.
10. Twinlab B12 Dots
Twinlab is another brand that understands that not everyone likes to swallow pills. Their B12 Dots use a rapidly dissolving delivery method that almost instantly delivers 500 mcg of B12 per serving. This delivery method ensures that the B12 is directly delivered into your bloodstream, so it’s the ideal method if you want your B12 to be bioavailable very quickly.
Twinlab also uses independent lab testing and their B12 Dots scored very high on both dosage and purity. As long as a midrange dose of rapidly delivered B12 isn’t counterintuitive to your needs, this product is the most highly recommended on our list.
Benefits And Side Effects
Vitamin B12 can be difficult to obtain from food sources if you don’t partake in animal products like meat and dairy, to vegans and vegetarians are in a particularly unique position to truly need B12 supplements if they want to get enough of this vital nutrient. Because B12 plays a key role in a wide variety of bodily functions, it’s not a vitamin you can just carry on without.
The Vegan Society has stated that there are actually no naturally occurring food sources for vitamin B12 that are vegan-friendly, and the only food sources for B12 that they have access to are special products that a B12 fortified. This means that without B12 supplements, they could easily develop a deficiency.
A deficiency of B12 can lead to fatigue and cause you to develop anemia, which means it’s incredibly important for your health that you get enough B12 daily. B12 can also provide you with extra energy, and as such is regularly used as a supplement to boost performance.
If you don’t have enough B12 in your system, you may experience broad symptoms like constipation, pale skin, dizziness, and weakness. This is because B12 deficiency can cause anemia, which is a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells in your body to bring oxygen supplies to your muscles. Because B12 is integral in the creation of red blood cells, it makes sense that a significant lack of B12 can cause anemia.
About 6 percent of the elderly population has a significant B12 deficiency, and as high as 20 percent of people of all ages have what is known as marginal B12 levels. This means that their B12 levels aren’t low enough to be considered deficient, but they are very close. These numbers amount to a whopping quarter of elderly adults who are at severe risk of having vitamin B12 deficiency.
The good news is, if you are suffering from a B12 deficiency then it doesn’t usually take wrong for you to recover when given the right treatment. Most patients who are B12 deficient show a very quick response to supplements and can quickly see the levels of B12 in their blood rising. With continued treatment, patients can expect to see a complete recovery of all of the body’s systems which a negatively affected by B12 deficiency within 6 months.
There are also some chronic diseases in which B12 deficiency may be a factor. One particular study has linked low levels of B12 with higher risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology in 1998, and it tested the B12 levels that were present in the blood of Alzheimer’s patients.
These samples were compared to those taken from otherwise healthy subjects who were in the same age range, and the researchers discovered that those with low levels of B12 were 4.5 times more likely to be in the group of subjects who had Alzheimer’s.
While keeping your B12 levels up can help you to lower your risks of developing cognitive diseases, there is no evidence to suggest that B12 supplement can reverse the effects once they have already begun. Quite the contrary, there was a conclusive study in 2008 during which clinical trial was performed in order to determine if B12 supplementation could be used to slow the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients.
After 18 months of research, there was found to be no significant difference between those who received B12 supplementation and those who were in the control group. This only serves to highlight the importance of keeping stable and sufficient levels of B12 throughout your lifetime, even when you are otherwise healthy.
The cognitive decline experienced by Alzheimer’s patients is not the only B12-related condition that is neurological in nature. There was a study which also connected low levels of B12 to the occurrence of clinical depression.
The study was clearly laid out in the American Journal of Psychiatry, in which B12 samples were taken from subjects who were clinically depressed and then compared to samples from control subjects who were entirely healthy. The conclusion was that there was a direct correlation between the clinically depressed subject and lower levels of B12.
Another condition that can be directly affected by B12 is cardiovascular disease. The Circulation magazine published by the American Heart Association published a study in which thousands of subjects were tracked over the course of 3 years. The level of B vitamins in their blood was checked at the beginning of the study and then at various points throughout.
The study found that there were metabolites present in the blood that were put there by B complex vitamins, and that those metabolites were able to protect the subject from developing cardiovascular disease. It is still unknown how this relationship works, but it is clear that B12 plays a key role in heart health.
There are no known side effects of using B12 supplements in the short-term, but taking very high doses for an extended period of time does seem to have been linked to a higher risk of developing lung cancer for men. There was a study at Ohio State University that discovered the link, and they were able to determine that men who took higher doses of B12 were as much as 2 – 4 times more likely to develop lung cancer over men who did not take any B12 at all.
While there is some slight risk involved with prolonged use of high doses of vitamin B12, it is important to weigh these risks and the risks and symptoms related to B12 deficiency.
B12 is a nutrient that is well-known in the medical field and there are many well-established studies from which we can be confident in suggested dosages. The minimum effective dose for restoring healthy B12 levels in elderly patients was found in one such study.
Another study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Academy Internal Medicine experimented with dosages as low as 2.5 mcg a day and going up as high as 1,000 mcg a day. Over several weeks these dosages were studied to determine which one caused the fastest recovery of healthy B12 levels.
The study determined that the most effective doses were 500 mcg and 1,000 mcg, and they provided the most rapid response times as well. If you yourself are B12 deficient, then this is the dose that you should aim to acquire daily for the best results. After the first few weeks, you can then lower your dose to a level that is more suitable for B12 level maintenance.
The Best Vitamin B12 Supplements Of 2018 Final Words
Vitamin B12 helps the body to replicate DNA and create red blood cells, but it also plays a vital role in many of the body’s other processes. Sufficient levels of B12 can help to prevent some chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and clinical depression.
As important as B12 is for your health, B12 deficiency is relatively common. Up to a quarter of the elderly population is at risk for B12 deficiency or already suffers from it. Luckily, B12 deficiency can easily be treated by simple ensuring you get sufficient B12 in your diet through supplementation.