If you are vegan, follow a plant-based diet, or are just interested in nutrition, you are probably aware of the importance of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in red blood cell formation, neurological function, cell growth and division, and metabolism. It can be difficult to get enough vitamin B12 on a plant-based diet because the most common dietary sources of B12 are animal products. However, you can still get enough B12 on a vegan diet either through eating certain plant-based foods fortified with B12, taking supplements, or a combination of the two. If you are uncertain whether you should go the supplement route, read Should I take vitamin B12? for help deciding.
If you do decide to supplement with vitamin B12, you will have many different options to choose from. With so many different products on the market, including liquid and tablet forms and various dosages, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. There are a few factors you will want to consider before buying a supplement.
Probably the most important consideration is the purity of the product. You want to be sure that you are taking only what is listed on the bottle and that it is free of heavy metals and dangerous artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. All of the supplements on this list have been tested and given a high rating by Labdoor, an independent testing service which tests supplements for purity and quality. Each vitamin has passed screenings for heavy metals and unsafe artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives (1). Many people want to avoid additives altogether, so I have included options with no sweeteners or other unnecessary ingredients.
You also want to be sure that the supplement contains a sufficient amount of vitamins, but not too much. When it comes to vitamin B12 supplements, dosage can be confusing. According to the Vegan Society, vegans should either eat at least 3 mcg of B12 daily from fortified foods, take a daily supplement with at least 10 mcg, or take a weekly supplement with at least 2000 mcg (2). Your body can only absorb a small amount of B12 at once, so taking a large amount of B12 is not dangerous, but it also doesn’t provide additional benefits. Any excess B12 will simply be excreted in urine.
Lastly, you will need to decide which form of B12 to take. Supplements may contain B12 as either cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin, and they come in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms. What are the differences between these different forms, and which is the best?
Most B12 supplements contain cyanocobalamin, a synthetic form of B12 which is converted to the biologically active molecules methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin inside the body. Cyanocobalamin is typically used because it is cheaper and more stable. Other supplements contain B12 as methylcobalamin or a blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.
Some people prefer to take B12 in its natural form, but studies have found that the synthetic and natural forms are about equally effective. Cyanocobalamin may be better absorbed by the body while methylcobalamin may be better retained, but both can effectively prevent and treat B12 deficiency. If you do choose the natural form, you will want a supplement that contains a blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin since your body needs both molecules (3).
In addition to choosing the form of B12, you also may be wondering whether pills, liquids, or tablets are more effective. Sublingual tablets and liquid supplements are often promoted as providing better absorption, but so far there is no conclusive evidence for this. So, the form of B12 you take comes down to personal preference. It is most important to choose something that you find easy to take so you will take it consistently and reap all the benefits.
Top 5 Vitamin B12 Supplements
Keeping these considerations in mind, I have compiled a list of the 5 top vitamin B12 supplements in 2020. This list includes B12 supplements in several different forms and dosages so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Every supplement on the list is safe and effective, so you can’t go wrong!
Keep reading to learn more about the 5 top vitamin B12 supplements in 2020 and find out which one is right for you.
Form: Time release tablet
Ingredients: 1000 mcg Vitamin B12 as Cyanocobalamin, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Stearic Acid, Cellulose Gel, Magnesium Stearate, Croscarmellose Sodium.
Pros: The manufacturer claims that the time release formula of this supplement helps to maximize your body’s absorption of the vitamin.
Cons: This supplement is in a tablet form, so it may be difficult for some people to swallow.
Conclusion: If you want the benefits of a time release formula and don’t mind taking tablets, this NatureMade B12 supplement may be for you. The manufacturer recommends taking one tablet daily, but since a tablet contains 1000 mcg of B12, taking it twice a week would be sufficient for most people.
Form: Sublingual tablets
Ingredients: 500 mcg vitamin b12 as cyanocobalamin, cellulose, sorbitol, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, silica, natural cherry flavor, and malic acid.
Pros: According to reviews, these tablets taste good, dissolve quickly and are easy to swallow.
Cons: This brand of B12 contains the artificial sweetener sorbitol, which may not agree with some people.
Conclusion: This is a solid choice for a B12 supplement if you prefer the sublingual tablet form and don’t mind small amounts of artificial sweeteners. Since it only contains 500 mcg, take it daily and let it dissolve under your tongue for the best results.
Form: Sublingual liquid
Ingredients: 5000 mcg Vitamin B12 as Cyanocobalamin, Purified Water, Sorbitol, Vegetable Glycerin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Natural Berry Flavor.
Pros: Customers report that this supplement tastes good and is easy to take. It is also one of the most cost-effective liquid vitamin B12 supplements that I have come across.
Cons: This supplement does contain sorbitol, so if you are trying to avoid sweeteners this would not be the best choice.
Conclusion: This is a great choice if you are looking for an easy-to-take liquid supplement and want the most cost-effective option. The manufacturer recommends shaking before use, placing a dropperful under your tongue, and holding it there for 30 seconds before swallowing. Since a dropperful contains 5000 mcg, though, you could get your daily dose with just a few drops.
Ingredients: Vitamin B12(as Methylcobalamin (500mcg) and Adenosylcobalamin (500mcg)), purified water, and organic grape alcohol.
Pros: This liquid supplement contains a mix of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the natural, biologically active forms of B12. This is a very pure blend which contains no artificial sweeteners.
Cons: This supplement contains a small amount of alcohol, which is supposed to improve absorption. A few reviewers have complained that this gives it a bad taste and makes it difficult to take.
Conclusion: This is a decent choice for a liquid supplement. It contains 1000 mcg of B12 per drop, so you can get your daily dose in just a few drops. The manufacturer recommends to hold it under your tongue for 90 seconds, swish it in your mouth for another 30 seconds, then swallow.
Ingredients: 2500 mcg vitamin B12 as 80% methylcobalamin and 20% adenosylcobalamin, organic vegetable glycerin, triple distilled water, energized trace minerals
Pros: Like Live Wise Naturals B12, VeganSafe B12 contains a blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the natural forms of B12. It is certified organic and made in the US. It does not contain sweeteners, but reviewers say it has a nice, sweet flavor. A serving contains 2500 mcg of vitamin B12, so one serving per week would be sufficient.
Cons: VeganSafe B12 may seem expensive compared to other products, but keep in mind that the blend is very potent. The instructions on the bottle recommend taking a dropperful per day, but if you take this advice you will be getting more B12 than in necessary. To get the best value for your money, take one dropperful per week or a few drops per day.
Conclusion: VeganSafe B12 is a potent liquid blend of vitamin B12 which has overall positive reviews and actually tastes good. This is a good option if you don’t like taking pills or tablets and don’t want to bother with taking a supplement every day. One serving contains more than the 2000 mcg of B12 that the Vegan Society recommends for a weekly supplement (2). If you take one dropperful per week, a bottle will last you for several months, and you may actually save money.
Choose your B12 supplement today
If you are vegan or follow a plant-based diet, it is important to be sure you are getting enough vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 helps to support brain health, energy, and metabolism, so do not neglect this vital nutrient! Some people even report feeling a boost of energy when they start taking a B12 supplement, but you will probably only experience this if you are already low in B12. Even if you don’t feel any different, the vitamin is still working to keep the systems in your body functioning well. Any of the safe, effective supplements listed above can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and help keep you healthy and happy for years to come.