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Vitamin B12: An Essential Micronutrient. An expert opinion.

By Jaclyn Jacobsen, MS

Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient that is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function and the formation of new DNA. It also plays a role in the metabolism of protein and fat along with supporting stress response and cognitive function. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Vitamin B12 is one of the top seven most common nutrient deficiencies in the US. If deficiency progresses, it may develop into a condition called pernicious anemia which can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, neuropathy, irritability and decreased appetite. Making sure you are consuming the minimum daily recommended dose of 2.4mcg is essential to your overall health.

Vitamin B12 can be consumed from foods such as salmon, eggs, red meat along with fortified foods (i.e. grain products) or in supplement form. Both are equally effective at maintaining optimal levels of Vitamin B12 so you can feel free to choose one or both options.

Best For Plant-Based Consumers

Vegan Vitamin D3+B12 Gummy by MaryRuth’s

With a formula containing Vitamins B12 and D, Mary Ruth’s product addresses two deficiencies that are common in the plant based community as well as the US population overall. This product is also free of all common allergens and is kid-friendly as it also comes in a strawberry-flavored gummy form, which makes it easy and enjoyable to take.

Summary of Vegan Vitamin D3+B12 Gummy by MaryRuth’s:

  • Vegan
  • Methyl form of B12
  • Non-GMO

Best Absorption

VitBoost Vegan Liquid B-12 Drops

Containing 5000mcg of Vitamin B12, VitBoost may support increases in energy, decreases in stress and a high absorption rate due to its liquid delivery system which increases absorption rate and bioavailability in the gut. It is also in the methylated form of B12 (methylcobalamin) which makes it a smart option for those with the MTHFR gene mutation.

Summary of VitBoost Vegan Liquid B-12 Drops:

  • Allergy friendly
  • Fast absorption
  • Third party tested

Best Value

Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (Methyl B12)

For those with difficulty swallowing and need to address a possible Vitamin B12 deficiency, Jarrow Formulas a smart choice. Containing 5000mcg of methylated B12 in a chewable form, this product may supporting brain function, mood and sleep.

Summary of Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (Methyl B12):

  • All natural ingredients
  • Safe for infants
  • Quick dissolve tablets

What You Need to Know

When seeking out a Vitamin B12 supplement, it is important to know if you are able to convert it into its active form. You can do this by contacting your doctor and getting tested for the MTHFR gene mutation. Having this mutation makes it very difficult for your body to convert B12 into an active, bioavailable form. If you do not have this mutation, taking the synthetic (cyanocobalamin) versus the natural source (methylcobalamin) are equally effective at increasing blood levels and preventing deficiency.

To increase absorption and bioavailability, look for products in a chewable or liquid form. These are easier to break down and absorb in the gut and will enter your system more quickly and efficiently. Be sure to look for certifications such as Non-GMO and organic to decrease risk of pesticide exposure which may affect your gut health and absorption capabilities.

Why Would You Take B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, meaning it needs to be consumed on a daily basis because whatever the body does not utilize, it will dispel. It is also an essential micronutrient so ensuring you get enough is imperative for optimal health. It is especially important for plant-based consumers because most sources of B12 are found in animal based products. There is also little to no risk of overdose so taking B12 in supplement form and consuming it in your diet will not affect your health negatively.

Vitamin B12 may also prevent the development of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and early onset dementia due to its role in brain health. Consult with your doctor, especially if you have a family history of these conditions.

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