Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is one of the most essential vitamins the body needs to perform a number of vital processes. It supports cognitive function, the production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, as well as brain and heart health. Since the body doesn’t produce B12, you must get it through food and supplements. But before you start ordering B12 vitamins online, there are few things to consider.
Why is this vitamin so important? How serious is B12 deficiency? And most importantly, how to choose the best vitamin B12 supplement for you? Check out our guide for the answers and more.
Benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is known to:
- Increase energy levels
- Boost memory and cognitive abilities
- Improve mood
- Promote bone health
- Prevent anemia
- Support eye health and lower the risk of macular degeneration
- Support a healthy pregnancy
- Promote healthy skin and hair
Sources of Vitamin B12
B12 is commonly found in animal-based products, such as fish, meat, eggs, and dairy. Some fortified cereals and nutritional yeast products can also provide the body with B12. However, the amounts might not be enough to meet adult cobalamin requirements.
Signs of a B12 Deficiency
Here are some of the most common signs that you need to take a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Megaloblastic anemia
- Cognitive and balance issues
B12 deficiency can affect anyone, no matter how much vitamin-rich food you eat. In fact, it’s estimated that between 1.5% and 15% of the general population have a B12 deficiency. Still, certain groups might need B12 vitamins and supplements more than others. These include:
- Older adults
- People with stomach and gastrointestinal issues
- Patients recovering from gastrointestinal surgeries
- Vegans and vegetarians
- Those taking medication for chronic heartburn
How to Choose the Best B12 Supplement for You?
Let’s take a look at the factors you need to consider when choosing the best vitamin supplement for you or your family member.
Vitamin B12 supplements come in several forms, from traditional tablets to chewable lozenges and sublingual sprays.
- Capsule-based supplements are the most commonly used. They deliver an accurate dosage each time, so there is no need to worry about underdosing. However, pills are not everyone’s favorite. Even the best B12 tablets might be hard to swallow, especially for the elderly, who are most likely to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency in the first place.
- Gummies, like capsules, deliver a consistent dosage with each piece but are much easier to consume due to their candy-like nature. The downside is that other ingredients are often involved in the manufacturing of gummies, including artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, which doesn’t exactly make them the best natural B12 supplement.
- Liquid supplements are an excellent choice for people who want to get their daily dose of B12 with their morning protein shake. Some B12 liquid supplements are designed to be taken sublingually (under the tongue). Although these are the most bioavailable options, you should be careful with dosing. Unlike tablets and gummies, with liquids, you have to rely on the dropper, which is not always the most accurate dosing method.
All forms of B12 have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it’s up to you to choose the best type of B12 depending on preferences, budget, and convenience.
The Right Dosage
The recommended daily allowance for adults is 2.4 mcg. Bear in mind that this is the minimum recommended amount, so don’t be alarmed if you see a higher dosage on the supplement packaging. B12 is generally safe even when taken in larger doses. Like other water-soluble vitamins, the body will excrete the amount it can’t absorb through the urine. Nevertheless, you should always discuss possible side effects and dosage with your doctor before taking any supplements.
The best B12 supplements should only contain pure and effective ingredients. Steer clear of fillers, GMOs, and allergens, such as wheat, soy, or nuts. Try to go for organic compounds and stick to clean and simple formulas that will provide the right dosage of B12 without any unnecessary ingredients thrown in the mix.
The price of a high-quality B12 supplement ranges between $14.99 and $29.95. You could even get the vitamins for less if you take advantage of deals and other buying perks. Most supplement manufacturers offer seasonal sales, coupon codes, and discounts on bundles, so make sure you check out all the company’s offers before clicking the order button.
Always look at what other customers are saying about the product. B12 supplement reviews will tell you pretty much everything about the effects of the vitamins, as well as provide you with insight into the manufacturer and its policies and practices.