The Different Forms of Vitamin B12

by in Dietary Supplements, Health Tips February 7, 2020
  • In nature, Vitamin B12 is almost exclusively produced by bacteria: about ten different strains have this capacity. Herbivorous animals have developed a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria, which explains why their tissues contain B12. Carnivorous animals get vitamin B12 by eating the meat of herbivorous animals.

  • Vitamin B12 plays a key role in growth and in body tissues, including blood and nerve cells. It is an essential vitamin at any age.

For people who have a low consumption of animal products (vegans, vegetarians, serious flexitarians), supplementation in Vitamin B12 is necessary.

  • For several decades, we have been able to produce Vitamin B12 in laboratories, with complex but well-controlled processes. This has been a fundamental breakthrough for the dietary balance of all vegans.
  • It is sometimes argued that some algae (Spirulina, Klamath, Nori, etc.) are alternatives for vitamin B12 intake, which is unfortunately not the case, as their B12 content is at too low a level.
  • The daily requirements for a vegan adult in U.S. is the Recommended Nutritional Value (NRV), at 6 µgr/day.
  • In addition, the absorption of vitamin B12 decreases as the dose increases, but it is also one of the few vitamins to present little risk of overdose.

Methylcobalamin vs Cyanocobalamin: What’s the Difference?

In the body, the two active forms of Vitamin B12 are methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, which act as coenzymes (‘facilitators’ of physiological mechanisms).

  • It is important to note that each of these two forms acts on different targets and functions (mainly: cellular plasma and nerve cells for the first, and mitochondria for the second).
  • However, there are 8 distinct molecular forms of vitamin B12 sources, all derived from cobalamines, the most common being cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin.
  • There are subtle differences between each molecular form, which sometimes gives rise to some conflicting debates and controversies.

aRgalys Essentials B12 + Iodine & Selenium

For Argalys Essentials (Multivitamins and minerals and B12 (1000 µg) + Iodine & Selenium, we selected cyanocobalamin and capsule form for the following reasons:

  • Cyanocobalamin is the form deemed most stable over time and insensitive to degradation by temperature.
  • The capsule form avoids exposure to extreme temperatures (more than 80°C) for the stability of the molecule, which is not the case for tablets (the mechanical effect of compression generates a sudden increase in temperature often above 80°C).
  • Cyanocobalamin can be converted into any of the active forms of B12 in the body (adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin), which is an interesting flexibility.

Good to know: Several studies show a positive effect of calcium on the absorption of vitamin B12.