The best B12 supplement
B12 is an essential nutrient required by the human body. Without it, the body's natural processes -- like metabolism and red blood cell production -- are compromised. Unfortunately, it's relatively common for people to lack B12 in their diets. Vegetarians, vegans, and older individuals are most likely to be B12 deficient.
Thankfully, there are many B12 supplement options on the market, like our top pick, Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin Lozenges, to keep your body functioning as it should. Our buying guide provides you with the information you need to confidently browse the many supplement varieties available.
Considerations when choosing B12 supplements
Why is B12 important?
B12 is essential because it aids in blood cell, nerve cell, DNA, and RNA production. Without enough B12, your body may struggle to fight off illness and handle stress. While B12 is extremely important for the healthy functioning of the human body, it's tough for some people to consume enough of it in their regular diet. Plants don't contain B12, so anyone on a primarily plant-based diet (vegetarians and vegans) may potentially develop a deficiency if they don't carefully monitor their intake.
Those with metabolic illnesses or digestive conditions (e.g., Crohn's or celiac disease) also have a higher risk for B12 deficiency.
How do I know if my body is lacking B12?
If you're a carnivore, chances are high that you get plenty of B12. While a deficiency is still possible -- particularly if you have some kind of digestive issue or illness that prevents proper absorption or metabolism of this vitamin -- it's unlikely.
Without blood testing, it's tough to diagnose a B12 deficiency. If you suspect you are deficient, it's best to speak to your doctor to find out if supplementation is the right move for you. Here are some signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency:
Tingling in the hands and feet
Balance issues (a lack of B12 can have neurological effects)
Shortness of breath
Many of these symptoms are also signs of other ailments, so proper diagnosis is vital.
Evidence has also shown that vitamin B12 deficiency is connected to conditions such as heart disease and dementia.
Hate swallowing pills? No problem. There are quite a few B12 supplement options out there including:
Gummies: For those who hate swallowing big pills. Gummy supplements are a candy-like option for B12-deficient adults and children alike.
Sublingual: Pills that don't require swallowing. Simply hold them under your tongue until they dissolve and are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.
Transdermal: Finicky about what you put in your mouth? Opt for a cream or skin patch that delivers B12 via the skin.
Nasal spray: Easy to use and quickly absorbed by the bloodstream in your nasal passage.
Capsules: Not everyone enjoys swallowing pills, but this method is tried and true. It takes a quick moment to swallow a tablet, and you're done. However, capsules are slow to dissolve.
B12 supplement prices
B12 supplements cost between $10 and $30. Oral B12 supplements are typically the cheapest option, with a maximum price of about $20. You pay the most for liquid B12, nasal sprays, and dermal forms of this vitamin.
Most supplement products contain far more B12 than most people need. It's pointless to pay more for products that claim to offer mega or extra-strength doses. The excess vitamin isn't dangerous, but you excrete most of it in your urine.
Q. How much B12 do I need to take on a daily basis?
A. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults.
Q. Is it safe to take B12 with my regular medication?
A. Have a talk with your doctor if you're concerned about an interaction. Metformin, Prevacid, or Prilosec may impede proper absorption of vitamin B12 supplements. You should also avoid taking vitamin C tablets and B12 supplements together to ensure your body can adequately absorb the B12.
B12 supplements we recommend
Best of the best: Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin B12 Lozenges
Our take: A trusted brand delivers a highly absorbent B12 vitamin formula.
What we like: Methylcobalamin B12 is easily absorbed by the body, and the lozenges go down easy, too. The formula is vegan-friendly.
What we dislike: Expensive.
Best bang for your buck: Nature Made Vitamin B12 Max Strength
Our take: A low-cost B12 supplement option from a reputable brand.
What we like: Capsules are easy to swallow, and the formula is free of preservatives and other additives. Budget-friendly price.
What we dislike: Not vegetarian since the formula contains gelatin.
Choice 3: Vitafusion Extra-Strength B12 Gummies
Our take: Tasty gummies for the swallow-averse vitamin-deficient user.
What we like: Cherry-flavored gummies are delicious and gluten-free.
What we dislike: You need to pop two gummies to get an extra-strength dose of B12 (3,000 mcg).
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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