Question

I want to take B12 supplements and I understand that Methylcobalamin is a better choice when compared to Cyanocobalamin, since the body doesn’t have to convert to be useable and this form already exists in nature. What I am not sure about is what brand to choose and what B12 supplement form is more effective, pill or liquid?

Wilson

Answer

Yes, I definitely recommend to go with the methylcobalamin form of B12 over the cyanocobalamin form for most people’s common usage of this supplement. Methylcobalamin is the natural and active form of this vitamin, whereas cyanocobalamin is synthetic, it does not exist in nature and is chemically-derived, and much cheaper to produce, which is mainly why most vitamin B12 supplements contain it. There are certain health cases that may warrant the use of cyanocobalamin or even another form of B12 altogether, but these usually apply to people who have problems digesting or assimilating vitamin B12 or suffer from serious deficiencies of it. For more information read the following article about methylcobalamin versus cyanocobalamin use.

With regards to the best brands of B12 methylcobalamin, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of supplement brands worldwide, and most vary in availability by region in the world. It is therefore difficult to recommend a specific brand for any number of logistical reasons. Over the years I have personally cycled through many brands, and as my research and awareness grew and as supplement formulas change, I have never been able to stick with one brand that I can routinely rely on. The most important advice I follow and recommend to others is to, first, rely on supplements as little as possible. Nothing in a bottle, no formula or supplement, will ever be truly risk-free or be able to fully replace what only whole natural plant food is capable of providing. To understand this further, I recommend the following video episode I did with Dr. John McDougall about supplements and plant-based eating.

The second most important advice I live by and recommend to others, when it comes to supplements, is to seek products that are are pure and high quality as possible. This means that you always read the other ingredients listed on the bottle and determine whether you feel comfortable with those ingredients. It is here that we will usually find all sorts of animal by-products, colors, flavors, artificial sweeteners, fillers, GMOs, allergens, and preservatives. At minimum, any supplement we choose should be vegan, with no gelatin or any other animal-derived ingredients, and free of such harmful ingredients. After that, it may be necessary to sacrifice a little, where a formula may contain some natural flavor or sugar alcohols, like xylitol. Neither of these are high risk ingredients, and will usually be found in negligible amounts anyway in supplements. Organic supplements, especially when they contain whole food parts, can be a big asset, but it is not always easy to tell if they include what they claim to include or whether it is even significant. Other than that, it is next to impossible to find a truly “pure” supplement, and why, aside from vitamin B12, the less we depend on them, the better.

Ingredients aside, to determine whether the supplement is of a true high quality, specifically when it comes to potency and efficacy, it takes a little research. Don’t fall for any of the claims on the package or the product website. Marketing can bend rules like crazy and make all sorts of claims, and given that supplements are very poorly regulated in most countries, consumers are most often left in the dark about the quality of the product they are using. Remember, image sells and is highly persuasive given our emotional tendency to make decisions. So just because a brand comes across as pure, natural, or high quality, does not mean it is.

When it comes to effectiveness, both a pill and a liquid can be sublingual, and thus contain the methylcobalamin form of B12. Similarly, both a pill and a liquid of B12 methylcobalamin can be non-sublingual and made to be swallowed. Given the characteristics of methylcobalamin, in terms of how readily it cab be absorbed by our body and how much it can be destroyed going through the digestive tract, I most recommend sublingual forms of it. But from amongst the methyl sublingual forms, there won’t be much difference between a dissolvable pill and a liquid, as long as the tablet dissolves well. In this case, I would recommend to pick either a pill or liquid sublingual form based on what is personally preferred.

Top Choices of Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin Brands

All of the following choices are suitable for vegans and are the purest formulas available with no harmful ingredients, like animal by-products, GMOs, preservatives, colors/dyes, artificial flavors, or common allergens. They are listed in alphabetical order, and not in any order of preference. Note that this list is not exhaustive of all of the possible good choices out there; it is focused on brands that I am familiar with that are common in Canada and the United States. Formulas may change at any time, so be sure to read the ingredients of the actual product package you are interested in before buying. Any product chosen should be based on what you feel would be the best choice for you, taking into consideration the supplement form, dose, flavor, price, and availability in your area.

Deva Vegan Vitamins

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 1,000 mcg Lemon Tablets — sublingual
Features: With vitamin B6 and folate
Other Ingredients: Xylitol, Mannitol, Lemon Flavor, Crospovidone, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Silica. (All from non-animal sources.)

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 2,500 mcg Lemon Tablets — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Xylitol, Mannitol, Lemon Flavor, Crospovidone, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Silica. (All from non-animal sources.)

Live Wise Naturals

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin Liquid — sublingual
Features: Flexible dosage from 200mcg to 6,000mcg (depending on number of drops taken)
Other Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Grape Alcohol, Monoammonium Glycyrrhizinate (Licorice Root Isolate).

MegaFood

Product: Methyl B12 500 mcg Tablets — not sublingual
Features: With methylated folate and vitamin B6, with red beet root, broccoli, and brown rice.
Other Ingredients: Cellulose, Stearic Acid, Silica.

New Roots Herbal

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 1,000mcg Capsules — not sublingual
Features: With red beet root, dandelion root, lapacho bark, and plant enzymes.
Other Ingredients: Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Silicon dioxide, Vegetable Capsule (Vegetable Carbohydrate Gum, Purified water).

Pure Encapsulations

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 1,000 mcg Capsules — not sublingual
Other Ingredients: Hypoallergenic Plant Fiber (Cellulose), Vegetarian Capsule (Cellulose, Water)

Solgar

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 1,000 mcg Cherry Nuggets — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Mannitol, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Silica, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Natural Cherry Flavor, Vegetable Cellulose.

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 2,500 mcg Cherry Nuggets — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Mannitol, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Natural Cherry Flavor, Silica.

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 5,000 mcg Cherry Nuggets — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Mannitol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Silica, Natural Cherry Flavor, Vegetable Cellulose, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate.

Yarrow

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 1,000 mcg Lemon Lozenges — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Xylitol, Cellulose, Stearic Acid (Vegetable Source), Natural Lemon Flavor, Magnesium Stearate (Vegetable Source), Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide.

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 2,500 mcg Tropical Lozenges — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Xylitol, Cellulose, Natural Tropical Flavor, Ascorbic acid, Stearic Acid (Vegetable Source), Silicon Dioxide.

Product: B12 Methylcobalamin 5,000 mcg Cherry Lozenges — sublingual
Other Ingredients: Xylitol, Cellulose, Stearic Acid (Vegetable Source), Natural Cherry Flavor, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate (Vegetable Source).

Other Brands

Two other brands that also specialize in organic, pure, and whole food forms of supplements are New Chapter and Garden of Life. However, New Chapter does not have a specific B12 methylcobalamin formula. The closest they have is their Coenzyme B Food Complex, which contains all the B vitamins, and B12 in the cyanocobalamin form. Garden of Life does have a B12 methylcobalamin liquid and B12 methylcobalamin capsule, but I cannot recommend their products anymore, since they became acquired by Nestle at the end of 2017. Given Nestle’s slew of unethical practices and harmful products, Garden of Life products will not be a good choice for conscientious consumers who care what company they support with their money and want to ensure that a company’s values are in alignment with the greater good of all. Sadly, most natural supplement brands are owned by large corporations that often work directly against our health and wellbeing, so it has become increasingly challenging to make truly ethical choices today. This is where a little care, research, and awareness can go a long way to not only get a good product but also support the right companies with your money too.

In the end, when it comes to any supplements the most important thing is to avoid the common, conventional and generic brands that have supplement formulas full of various risky, harmful, and allergenic ingredients. There is no need to sacrifice your health when there are so many better and safer alternative choices today.