Sublingual B12 supplements are more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re often credited with being faster, more efficient and more effective than oral tablets and other supplements. But sometimes it can be difficult to tell exactly where the line between marketing and reality actually is.
How Sublingual Tablets Work
The word sublingual actually comes from the Latin for ‘under the tongue’, so it’s no surprise that this is how sublingual tablets are supposed to be used. The idea is that the B12 in the tablet will dissolve in your mouth and diffuse directly into the blood through the mucosal membrane under your tongue.
This bypasses the gastrointestinal tract (the root cause of many people’s problems with low B12 levels), so you don’t have to worry about malabsorption.
When you take a sublingual tablet, you just have to place it under your tongue and hold it there until it’s completely dissolved. If you’re using drops instead of tablets, it’s basically the same – just make sure the droplets dissolve rather than get swallowed. Swallowing the B12 completely defeats the point!
Efficiency Of Sublingual Methylcobalamin
As well as all the other benefits, taking methylcobalamin rather than cyanocobalamin ensures that your body doesn’t have to do any internal chemistry before it can actually use the B12 you give it. Methylcobalamin is simply the most efficient ingredient for B12 supplements.
As one of the best things about sublingual tablets is their efficiency, it makes sense to maximize this by taking a supplement that contains methylcobalamin.
When B12 is taken sublingually, the vitamin is absorbed straight into the blood without going anywhere near the digestive system. While more research needs to be done to prove it conclusively, it’s intuitively clear that this is much faster than the more traditional method of swallowing oral supplements.
Effectiveness Of Sublingual Methylcobalamin
Supplementing your B12 intake with sublingual methylcobalamin is undeniably effective. It has been used many thousands of times to treat B12 deficiency, and there’s a large body of scientific research behind it.
Most sublingual tablets contain high doses of methylcobalamin, which is one of the reasons they work so well. Tablets containing as much as 5mg of methylcobalamin are available, thousands of times more than the RDA for vitamin B12.
Fortunately such high dosages don’t seem to be a problem. Allergic reactions to vitamins are vanishingly rare, and any excess B12 would simply be excreted in urine, as B12 is water-soluble. This means that taking too much isn’t something you need to worry about too much.
Sublingual Tablets vs Oral Tablets
One of the main problems with swallowing B12 tablets is that they have to go through the gastrointestinal tract before the vitamin can be absorbed. One of the most common reasons for people to take methylcobalamin supplements is that they can’t absorb B12 properly anymore, a common problem for the over-50s.
So perhaps swallowing a pill might not be the best way to solve the problem. However, while that certainly used to be the case, times have changed. Modern high dose oral supplements can even be used to treat pernicious anemia, as such large quantities of B12 allow sufficient amounts to be absorbed through passive diffusion in the gut.
While more research is needed in this area, a couple of studies have found no difference between the effectiveness of oral and sublingual B12 supplements. So while sublingual tablets can certainly be used to treat B12 deficiency and work extremely well, oral supplements may actually be just as effective for many people.
More Advantages Over Other Supplements
If everything above isn’t enough to convince you, here are a few more facts in favor of sublingual supplements:
- While they may be similar in price to oral tablets that you swallow, sublingual tablets are far cheaper than B12 injections or intravenous administration.
- Sublingual methylcobalamin supplementation won’t require a doctor or nurse to help you out, unlike the injections or IV mentioned above.
- No needles are involved.
- Sublingual pills are perfect for people who either can’t or don’t like swallowing tablets.
- Much less invasive (and less expensive) than the intranasal alternative.
- Quick and easy – just let one pill dissolve and you’re done for the day. Skin patches on the other hand have to be worn for at least 24 hours to get the most out of them.
In our opinion, the best sublingual B12 tablets on the market are these ones produced by Wonder Laboratories. Just click that link or the picture on the right to check them out on Amazon!
If you want to see the other methylcobalamin B12 supplements that we recommend, please head over to our Recommended B12 Supplements page. Oral pills are first on the page, followed by sublingual tablets second.
We hope you find what you’re looking for!
From top to bottom, images are courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young, Toa55, jk1991, Stuart Miles, all at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.