If you have issues with fatigue, weakness or even less than adequate moods, you could be deficient in certain nutrients, including many of the B vitamins. In fact, Vitamin B12 can be difficult to obtain by vegans and vegetarians or hard to absorb for those with compromised digestion and immune problems.
Deficiencies in B12 come with a host of health problems from fatigue to anemia and damage to the nervous system. Our bodies are not able to manufacture it, so we rely on food as our source of this all-important nutrient. Some of these food sources include meats, eggs, poultry and fish. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with B12, but this may not be a good source if it is not a high-quality version.
Natural or Synthetic?
Cobalamin, or Vitamin B12, is a water-soluble vitamin that we must consume from external sources. Our bodies then use it in DNA synthesis and to help manufacture red blood cells. It also seems to play a role in brain health, and deficiencies are correlated with poor learning skills and memory. (1) Vitamin B12 also stimulates serotonin production, a compound associated with well-being and happy moods.
Vitamin B supplements come in many forms like pills, injections, and oral liquids. The form that is taken will determine how quickly it works and how many benefits will be recognized. In addition, there are two types of supplements sold; natural and synthetic. When it comes to B12, choosing the right version will give you better results.
Methylcobalamin and Cyanocobalamin
Vitamin B12 may be sold as the synthetic form called cyanocobalamin, or the natural form as methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin consists of carbon and hydrogen, while cyanocobalamin contains carbon, hydrogen and cyanide. Even though only a small amount of cyanide is used and not generally considered harmful, your body still must detoxify and eliminate this compound before it can convert it into the usable methylcobalamin.
Needless to say, methylcobalamin is the most preferred form of this supplement. While some studies show the body might absorb the synthetic version a little easier, the result is the body eliminates more through the urine leaving a deficit; a trait not seen in the natural version. Because of this, methylcobalamin is considered to be the more usable form of B12.
Health Benefits of Methylcobalamin
Vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin is a healthful source of this nutrient and widely studied for its benefits. Research shows it aids in visual acuity, and allows your eyes to quickly shift their focus. It seems to help with sleep as it normalizes the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. B12 also helps the body detoxify to protect itself from free radical damage and can reduce the risk of heart health issues.
Supplementing with B12 is common for many people, and can be done in a number of ways. Some doctors give B12 shots into the muscle to ensure the body quickly absorbs it, especially if digestion is impaired. A liquid vitamin of B12 as methylcobalamin is a very cost-effective and convenient source for those who don’t want to wait for a doctor’s appointment. If you do decide to supplement, find the highest quality and most bioavailable for your money, and your body will thank you
Witte, A. V., Schnelle, A., Grittner, U., Tesky, V. A., Pantel, J., . . .
Flöel, A. (2016, April). Vitamin B-12 concentration, memory performance, and hippocampal structure in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26912492