Best B12 Supplements
Have you ever wondered why red blood cells are so important?
If that's a yes, or no, let's highlight the reason anyways. We all need red blood cells to be produced by our body to transport oxygen from our lungs to other parts of our body. If we didn't have enough red blood cells, we could put ourselves at risk of anemia and many other conditions. One way of increasing our blood cells is by making sure we have enough b12 in our bodies, and that is often done the best using a form of b12 supplement. But, before we delve into the supplement part, let's explore B12.
What is B12?
B12 is an essential vitamin required by our body. Its primary purpose is to help keep our body's blood cells and nerves healthy and help make DNA in most cells. It also stops you from having a type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, which prevents you from becoming too weak and tired. Vitamin B-12 is also one out of eight B vitamins that allow your body to convert food into glucose to provide you with energy. It also helps your body to regenerate bone marrow and line your gastrointestinal and respiratory tract. Plus, it contributes to a healthier nervous system and protects your spinal cord.
How does vitamin B12 work?
Vitamin b12 binds to an intrinsic factor that is made in the stomach. However, it must be available in high amounts for your body to absorb b12 effectively. If your body does not have enough of the intrinsic factor, it could contribute to a b12 deficiency.
Conditions that can be treated
- Irritability: Vitamin b12 can help contribute to a better mood, allowing you to feel less irritable and alleviate certain symptoms of depression.
- Pins and needles: Vitamin B12 creates a substance known as myelin which acts as a protective coat against the nerves and stops them from being damaged.
- Disturbed vision: This vitamin, alongside other B vitamins, has proven effective in helping better your eye health. They help reduce the inflammation in your eyes and reduce levels of a chemical known as homocysteine which can contribute to macular degeneration.
- Cyanide poisoning: A natural type of b12 known as hydroxocobalamin is administered by injection to treat cyanide poisoning.
These are just a few conditions that vitamin b12 can treat. To know more, please check out our top 10 list of Vitamin B-12 supplements.
Types of supplements
The best Vitamin b12 supplements don't always come in the same form or are the same type. Generally, there are four types of Vitamins B12 supplement which are:
- Cyanocobalamin: This is a man-made type of Vitamin B-12 that is available via prescription, or you can buy it over the counter from your local pharmacy. Cyanocobalamin is renowned for its long shelf life and is an affordable type of Vitamin B-12. This supplement comes in a tablet, nasal spray, and injection form. This type of Vitamin B12 isn't toxic to take in low forms; however, if you take large amounts, then it could be toxic. Similarly, compared to the other types of Vitamins B12, this is one isn't absorbed as easily.
- Methylcobalamin: This type of vitamin B12 is commonly used to help your brain, liver, and nervous system. It also helps convert an amino acid known as homocysteine into another amino acid, methionine, which also helps protect your cardiovascular system. Methylcobalamin is renowned for its dark red crystal-like appearance and can come in tablet or injection form.
- Hydroxocobalamin: This type of B12 is often the most natural, and you get this from animal-based food sources like eggs, meat, fish, and milk. It can come in a sublingual tablet or injection.
- Adenosylcobalamin: A type of b12 is commonly found in human livers and stored in a cell's mitochondria. It's an essential part of our bodies that helps reduce methylmalonic acid. Therefore, limiting damage to the nervous system is often taken in tablet form too.
Best food sources
If you're looking to top up your b12 levels naturally, without taking any vitamin b12 supplements, then there is a range of meat and vegetarian foods you can consume, which are:
- Kidneys and animal liver: The liver and kidneys, in particular, those from a lamb, are high in vitamin b12. On average, around a 100-gram serving of lamb liver contributes to 3,571% of the daily valued intake. Beef liver is high in vitamin b12 too.
- Clams: If you like shellfish, then you only need to eat around 20 clams to reap the benefits of the b12 it contains. Similarly, a 100-gram serving has around 99mcg of vitamin B12. They are also high in antioxidants and iron.
- Sardines: You can purchase sardines in the supermarket in sauces, cans, or in oil. They're small freshwater fish that are full of omega 3 fatty acids. Most importantly, in a 150-gram serving, they have 554% of the daily value for vitamin B12.
- Fortified cereal: If you're a vegetarian or vegan, this is a great source for you to get your vitamin B12 from. Fortified cereal is synthetic and can have high levels, but the amount of B12 can vary based on the type of cereal and brand. So, read the packaging first.
- Fortified Milk alternatives: Again, if you're someone who drinks nondairy-milk, you can gain a lot of vitamins b12 from alternatives like soy and almond. Take, for example, fortified soy milk; if you drink 240ml, you will consume 2.1mcg of vitamin b12.
- Eggs: Eggs are packed with protein and vitamin b12. It's believed that egg yolks contain more vitamin b12 than egg whites; therefore, it's encouraged to eat the whole egg. Two large eggs equivalent to 100 grams hold 1.1mcg of vitamin b12. Eggs are also high in Vitamin D.
- Milk and dairy products: Cow’s milk, yogurt, and cheese contain a lot of protein, many minerals, and vitamins. On average, 240 ml of whole milk contains 46% of the daily value for vitamin B12. Similarly, one slice of Swiss cheese contains 16% of the daily value. That's not even other cheeses either!
Here are a few items mentioned above that can help boost your vitamin b12 levels; there are many more out there. Just check the packaging first before you buy food or drinks to know if they contain sufficient levels of B12 in them.
There are lots of benefits to taking Vitamin B12, and some are quite impressive! Similarly, some are effective, may be effective and other areas which require more research, that are:
It can help the formation of red blood cells and anemia
When you lack vitamin b12 in your body, your red blood cell production is affected, and they turn into an oval shape. This inefficiency for them to develop properly can contribute to anemia. However, when you have enough vitamin B12, red blood cell levels increase and become small and round, they're able to transport a lot of oxygen.
It could stop severe birth defects
Throughout pregnancy, having consistent Vitamin B12 levels are essential. There are lots of scientific studies out there which show that b12 helps a fetus's brain and nervous system develop better. Similarly, in the mother, if there's little vitamin B12, they could be at risk of having a miscarriage or premature birth.
May provide you with an energy boost
Vitamin B12 is part of the B vitamin group, which is renowned for providing you with extra energy if you have low levels.
It could reduce the risk of osteoporosis
If your bones lack having sufficient minerals, they will gradually become brittle and weak in time. As a result, you can have a higher chance of having osteoporosis. It's believed that low levels of vitamin B12 can increase your chances of having osteoporosis.
It May help improve mood and alleviate depression symptoms
A lack of Vitamin B12 may cause little production of a neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Low levels of serotonin can contribute to a depressive state. There's lots of research that shows that Vitamin B12 supplements may help improve people's mood when they have a deficiency.
- Skin rash;
- Vein thrombosis;
- Swelling sensation.
In the worst-case, Vitamin B12 can cause anaphylaxis, and that is a serious allergic reaction where your whole face swells up. If you experience any of the above side effects while taking or go into a severe allergic reaction, see a doctor immediately.
Precautions and warnings
If you're considering taking vitamin B-12, you should be aware of the following:
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vitamin B-12 is safe to take orally, but if you're pregnant, you should not exceed 2.6 mcg per day. If breastfeeding, the dose of your b12 supplement should be no more than 2.8mcg per day. Anything higher is unknown.
- Allergies or sensitivities to cobalamin or cobalt: You should not take B12 if you're allergic or you show sensitivities to these.
- Post stent surgery: After you've had a coronary stent fitted, you should avoid folate, Vitamin B16, and Vitamin B12.
How long should I take it?
The duration you take Vitamin B12 can vary based on the method, dosage, and the reason why you're taking it. To know how long you should have it for, speak to a doctor first.
Interaction with other medicines
The following medicines might impact the absorption of vitamin B12, which are:
- Certain antibiotics;
- Anti-seizure medications;
- If you are taking any medication, you should always speak to a physician first before taking b12 supplements.
B12 supplements are great to take to stop your red blood cell count from going low and increasing your chances of becoming anemic. Depending on how low your levels are, a doctor may advise you to take supplements orally or via injection. B12 supplements have many benefits, but you shouldn't take them unless the doctor tells you to do so. You can however, obtain Vitamin B12 from natural food sources such as clams, liver, fortified cereals, milk and dairy, eggs, and much more.
What is the best form of b12 supplement?
The best form of Vitamin B12 supplement is usually cyanocobalamin or methyl cobalamin, in table form. You can also get these available as injections, but it depends on how severe your deficiency is.
What is the best b12 supplement for vegans?
If you're a vegan, you will want to eat fortified foods containing vitamin B12 or consume supplements made from natural or fortified products. There's a range of sublingual tablets on the market that are vegan friendly.
When is the best time to take vitamin b12 supplement?
You should always take Vitamin B12 supplements on an empty stomach and with a glass of water. Ideally, you should take them in the morning before you've had any breakfast.
What is the best b12 supplement for energy?
B12 supplements are designed to increase your levels of Vitamin B12. Only if you have a severe deficiency, you may feel more energized from taking them. However, if your energy is normal, then you won't feel any difference.
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