With the huge number of options on the market, choosing the best vitamin B12 supplement can be a nightmare. Should you buy tablets or patches? Do you want methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin? What about multivitamins? Which brand is best?
To help you save some time, we’ve selected the B12 supplements that we think are the best, as well as revealing which products are the most popular with our readers.
If we had to choose just one B12 supplement to take for the rest of our lives, this would be it! Pure Encapsulations is a great brand, and the pills contain methylcobalamin, they’re hypoallergenic and vegetarian, and they’re good value too.
You get 180 capsules in a single packet so you probably won’t have to restock for three months, and 1000mcg is a great dosage for a B12 supplement.
We always thought that the B12 tablets we recommend would be the most popular with our readers, but we were wrong! It turns out that the single most popular product is this pack of B12 skin patches.
Skin patches are very convenient and have a number of advantages over more traditional pills and tablets, and these patches also contain an excellent complex of other B-vitamins. We normally hesitate to recommend multivitamins (more on this below), but with 1000mg per patch, these skin patches should provide enough B12 for anyone.
To read more about the benefits of skin patches, you can read our dedicated article here.
Lots of people are moving away from the tablets we’re all familiar with and gravitating towards sublingual B12 supplements instead. All you have to do is place them under your tongue and wait for them to dissolve, and they’re getting more and more popular every year.
With this in mind, our runner-up for the best B12 supplement has to be this pack of high-dose sublingual methylcobalamin tablets made by Wonder Laboratories.
This is another excellent brand, and these tablets are the best value for money of any of the products listed here – you get far more B12 for your dollar than with any of the others! There are 120 tablets in the pack, all containing a huge 5000mcg dose of methylcobalamin. You’ll never need more B12 than that, so if you’re at all unsure about whether 1000mcg will be enough – buy these instead!
(It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to worry about overdosing on B12 – we’ve written about this before)
Like skin patches, taking your B12 sublingually also has a number of advantages over swallowing pills – check out this article for more information.
B12 Supplements for Vegans and Vegetarians
Vitamin B12 supplements are essential for all vegans and some vegetarians. As you won’t get any B12 in your diet if you don’t eat animal products, you simply can’t live a healthy life without supplementing your B12 intake. We’ve written more about Vegan B12 here.
We usually recommend these vegan sublingual B12 tablets for vegans and vegetarians who want to supplement their intake.
The Big Questions
We think the products above are the best B12 supplements available, and the stats show that our readers agree. But if you’re still not convinced by any of these products, you probably want some answers to the questions we asked at the start…
Should You Buy Tablets or Patches?
This mostly comes down to personal choice – whether you take oral pills, sublingual tablets or use B12 skin patches, you should be able to get all the B12 you need from any of these supplements. As we mentioned above, we’ve discussed the benefits of sublingual tablets before as well as the advantages of skin patches, which you can read by following those links.
One thing worth mentioning is that while oral tablets will be fine for the majority of people, there’s a chance that some won’t give you as much B12 as you need. If your body can’t absorb B12 properly (a common condition in the over-50s), taking oral tablets could still put you at risk of B12 deficiency. In this case, skin patches are ideal, although particularly high-dose tablets will also bypass the problem (enough B12 will be absorbed by a different process to normal).
Methylcobalamin or Cyanocobalamin?
We’re firm proponents of always taking B12 supplements that contain methylcobalamin. This is the natural, active form of B12 that your body can use straight away – cyanocobalamin is a synthetic compound that your body must convert to methylcobalamin before it’s useful. This conversion also releases very small quantities of cyanide into your body.
The only reason to take supplements containing cyanocobalamin is that these products tend to be a bit cheaper. Indeed, this is precisely why this chemical exists – it’s a little cheaper and a bit easier to store than methylcobalamin, so pharma companies tend to push cyanocobalamin on consumers despite all the disadvantages it has.
(If money is the main priority, we’ve made a list of Recommended Cyanocobalamin Supplements that should still get the job done.)
We’ve written about this topic extensively on this website in the past – if you want to find out more, read our comprehensive Methylcobalamin vs Cyanocobalamin article.
What About Multivitamins?
This is a tricky one. If you only want to take a B12 supplement to improve your general health and you don’t have any specific issues regarding B12, then a multivitamin should be fine.
However, if you suffer from pernicious anemia or any other condition that leads to malabsorption of B12, then a multivitamin probably won’t give you enough B12 to keep you healthy long term. This is often the case for people over the age of 50 as your ability to absorb B12 declines as you age. For this reason, we always recommend a single B12 supplement for anyone older than 50.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, then a multivitamin will absolutely NOT be sufficient. A dedicated B12 supplement will be essential to restore your vitamin levels to a healthy point. This is why we’re never comfortable recommending multivitamins without learning more about an individual person’s health.
If you’re under 50 and don’t have any other conditions that prevent your body absorbing B12 (check if you’re at risk here), then a multivitamin should be great. We recommend the DNA Formulas Whole Food Multivitamin, or one of the multivits from Garden of Life. These are vegan, organic, non-GMO and gluten-free. They make a separate multivitamin for men and a multivitamin for women.
Which Brand is Best?
Again, this isn’t easy to answer. There are so many different brands that we couldn’t possibly go into detail about which ones are best here, but it’s generally pretty easy to tell if a company is reputable.
We have no hesitation with recommending any of the products mentioned on this page because we trust the companies that sell them. If you’re looking at B12 supplements from other producers, the simplest thing to do is to just google their name. Adding words like ‘complaints’ or ‘satisfaction’ will quickly tell you everything you need to know.
This works well for established brands, but new businesses are popping up all the time. Many of these will produce great supplements that will give your body everything it needs, but it’s hard to be sure. If you can’t find any information about a brand, it’s unfortunately probably best to avoid it to be on the safe side.
There’s a lot of information on this page, but it basically comes down to this – get a supplement that contains methylcobalamin, don’t take a multivitamin if you have problems absorbing B12, and be sure about the brand before you buy anything.
The products we recommended at the top really are the best B12 supplements we’ve ever come across, and our readers have a track record of using them – and we’ve never had a complaint. Remember: these tablets are our top pick, these skin patches are hugely popular, and these sublingual tablets are the best value for money.
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