Vitamin B12 supplements
What types of B12 supplements are there? Which is better?
WHAT TYPES OF VITAMIN B12 EXIST
What is better, cobalamin or methylcobalamin?
When we want to buy supplements of vitamin B12 or cobalamin we find that there are many types. Cobalamin is the name of a family of compounds, mainly 4, all of them with vitamin B12 activity and similar structures.
Types of B12 - cobalamin
Hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin are forms found in food.
The body absorbs them and transforms them into methylcobalamin (which is how B12 circulates in blood) and in the form of adenosylcobalamin (to store vitamin B12 in the liver).
All supplements must specify what type of vitamin B12 or cobalamin they contain.
In general, the most common to find are methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin.
What form of vitamin B12 is most advisable to take?
There are different types of supplements or forms of cobalamin: cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin are the most common.
In general, cyanocobalamin supplements are recommended because they are effective and the most economical. It is not necessary to take another type of vitamin in healthy people.
In vegetarian people with kidney disease, such as kidney failure, the appropriate supplement in this case is vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin due to high levels of homocysteine.
How much vitamin B12 is recommended to take?
The amount of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) recommended to take depends on the diet, age, whether there are special diseases or health conditions, etc. It is advisable to consult with a health professional expert in vegetarianism to improve the treatment.
As a general recommendation, the amount of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) that is usually prescribed in vegetarian adults is as follows:
Where do you get vitamin B12 supplements?
Vitamin B12 supplements are suitable for vegans. They are not of animal origin nor has any living being killed to make them, since they are obtained from bacterial fermentations.
There are no B12 supplements of plant origin (neither extracted from algae) because they do not contain B12 or contain analogues.
What does sublingual supplement mean?
In general the benefit of sublingual B12 supplements is that they dissolve in the mouth and are absorbed rapidly. This is an advantage because stomach acids can destroy part of vitamin B12.
Sublingual supplements contain so much vitamin B12 that it assimilates very easily and quickly passes into the blood, even in people with gastrectomy who do not manufacture intrinsic factor.
Studies have shown that taking these supplements are just as effective as intramuscular injections to overcome a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Are vitamin B12 drops or tablets better?
There are supplements in vitamin B12 drops, which are more practical to use for children, who require lower doses of vitamin B12 than adults. They are generally used to supplement small or normal daily doses.
Are drops better than capsules? Depending on the dose to be supplemented. The measurement of a pipette usually equals 1 dose (2.5mcg of vitamin B12), depending on the laboratory manufacturer.
With supplement drops it is generally not possible to reach 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 and it is required to take them daily. For an adult it may be more practical and economical to use tablets.
If the packaging specifies that it contributes the 100% of the CDR of B12, is it good?
The recommended daily allowance (CDR) for vitamin B12 is 2.5mcg. As we have seen, vitamin B12 supplements intended for adults often contribute significantly more than 100% of the vitamin B12 RDA:
- One tablet of 2.5mcg of vitamin B12 contributes 100% of the CDR
- One tablet of 100mcg of vitamin B12 contributes 4.000% of the CDR
- One tablet of 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 contributes 40.000% of the CDR
* CDR values calculated for an adult.
When it is stated in the package that a B12 supplement supplies 100% of the CDR of this vitamin, although it is correct, we must keep in mind that it is not a high amount. In case of anemia or vegetarianism, it would be advisable to take 3 doses daily of this supplement or to use others with superior contributions.
It has been shown in numerous studies that vitamin B12 is non-toxic and can be easily removed from the body when it is in excess. People who are deficient in vitamin B12 are recovered long before with high doses of up to 1,000 mcg. *
* In pregnant women and children, high doses of this vitamin are not recommended unless directed by your doctor.
Is brewer's yeast a good B12 supplement?
Brewer's yeast is sometimes recommended as a vitamin B12 supplement, but it should be noted that not all contain this vitamin. Only the yeast enriched in B12 is rich in this vitamin.
It is generally not recommended because the exact amount it contains is not specified in many products, so it is safer to directly use a specific vitamin B12 supplement. That way we ensure the amount of vitamin B12 we take.
In addition, brewer's yeast has some contraindications, such as gout.
Are vitamin B12 multivitamins recommended?
It is also possible to find vitamin B12 in multivitamin complexes, although its use is not recommended if it is not prescribed by a physician. Although vitamin B12 is safe, other vitamins do have toxicity and should not be taken in supplements on a long-term basis.
In vegetarians, since vitamin B12 is a long-term supplement, multivitamins are not recommended. The best option is a B12 supplement.
What type of B12 do algae contain?
Algae such as spirulina or chlorella are known, among other properties, to contain vitamin B12 of vegetable origin.
These supplements are NOT recommended as a B12 supplement because it is an analogous type of vitamin B12, That is to say, without biological activity. In addition, consumption of these foods and supplements may mask vitamin B12 deficits.
* See: Vitamin B12 analogues
Official B12 recommendations on vegetarians
Official agencies recommend that vegetarians take cobalamin supplements because it is a very safe food supplement and can prevent many preventable complications such as anemia, neurological problems and cardiovascular damage.
Can supplements be toxic?
Being a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin B12 does not accumulate and can be removed by the urine. Vegetarians should take vitamin B12 supplements for life to prevent diseases associated with their lack.
In prescribed doses, vitamin b12 is a safe and non-toxic supplement. The IOM (Institute of Medicine) has not fixed a toxic dose of this vitamin given its harmlessness in the established doses.
Vegetarian smokers: better to take methylcobalamin
Smokers should take vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin, which is the way the B12 circulates in the blood (1,000 mcg of methylcobalamin daily, or a combination of methylcobalamin and cobalamin, accompanying food to improve circulation)
Methyl-cobalamin is recommended because smoking increases the requirements of methylcobalamin and folic acid in the body.
This is because smoking increases levels of toxins in the blood, such as homocysteine, and these vitamins inactivate. Folic acid and B12 are responsible for transforming homocysteine (harmful) into methionine (which is not harmful) in the cycle of homocysteine-methionine.
The recommendation to supplement methylcobalamin is for vegetarian smokers.
Smokers who eat meat (non-vegetarians), even if they do not have a possible B12 deficiency, it would be very convenient to eat a diet rich in folic acid, in addition to decreasing or quitting smoking.
* Related information:
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.