Methylcobalamin VS Cyanocobalamin: Which Vitamin B12 Is Best?
Before we get to the methylcobalamin vs cyanocobalamin debate, let’s take a look at the all-important vitamin called the B12. As you may have learned in school, vitamin B12 is needed by the body to turn carbohydrates into energy that you can use. Moreover, Vit B12 helps protect base RNA, DNA, nerve cells and brain cells. It stimulates serotonin production, has a hand in creating new red blood cells, keeps you happy and safe from microbes and similar foreign invaders.
Vitamin B12 has many different types; those that contain trace elements of cobalt are classified as “cobalamins”. The molecules that are attached to cobalamins are called “donors”.
You might be hard-pressed to find the right kind of B12 supplement due to the many possible variations but fear not. You just have to know two vitamin B12 compounds, methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. You’ll also find that most B12 and multi-vitamin supplements use cyanocobalamin.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.
Aside from being the popular ingredient in most multivitamin supplements, cyanocobalamin is mostly created using chemical synthesis. Cyanocobalamin is quite unique from all the other B12 varieties because it’s artificial and comes from the CN, or Cyano group.
To explain further, cyanocobalamin is created in laboratories. It’s simple- this form of B12 is the easiest and the cheapest to produce, and therefore is the most preferred compound. Companies who manufacture multivitamins and supplements buy the compound in bulk at a discounted price. This is certainly more appealing in a profit point of view as compared to the more expensive B12 types, like methylcobalamin for instance.
The only reason why it’s not dominating and outing methylcobalamin is that it has a precursor compound to the deadly cyanide. Generally though, B12 is added in minuscule quantities that getting poisoned is not a factor. Remarkably, our bodies do the work of converting cyano group vitamins such as cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin in order for our system to make use of the available nutrient.
Granted, a small amount of cyanide gets released when your body starts converting cyanocobalamin to methylcobalamin, but as mentioned earlier, you wouldn’t need to strictly get the methylcobalamin version if you don’t suffer from severe kidney damage or if you’re not a smoker. The idea that you’re exposing yourself to a potentially poisonous precursor while taking health supplements is not a good thing. We expect to get the good stuff while consuming healthy supplemental products, right?
To put these queries to rest, it’s important to understand that cyanocobalamins will not introduce dangerous levels of cyanide in your system. Think of it like eating broccoli, which also contains trace amounts of cyanide. It’s perfectly fine to avoid this type of B12 source if you think otherwise.
Methylcobalamin is a naturally-occurring B12 source found in animal foods, thereby making it the most bioavailable out of all the B12 varieties. One more unique thing about methylcobalamin is that it’s from the methyl group, CH3 comprised of basic hydrogen and carbon.
Methylcobalamin is the most organic and the most expensive B12 source of supplement in the market. For users who want the best B12 possible, all without fillers or chemicals, then a methylcobalamin-based product is the way to go. Being organic means you absorb the nutrients much more quickly than cyanocobalamin. Moreover, your body won’t have to convert the B12 source into methylcobalamin which saves you energy for more important functions. You get pure B12 when you’re buying methylcobalamin-based supplements, which gives you some notable benefits:
You won’t be exposed to any potentially harmful toxin.
Methylcobalamin is more bioavailable and better absorbed by the body.
Increases the ability to focus and improve visual accommodation.
Gives off SAMe, or S-adenosyl methionine, one of the most significant methyl donors that your body could have. Methyl groups are crucial for maintaining chemical reactions essential to good overall health.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
You may not know it, but you could be deficient in vitamin B12. Take a look at some of the common vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:
General lack of appetite
Uncommon fatigue, lethargy, and tiredness
Sickly pallor. Reduced hemoglobin leads to less-rich red blood cells, causing your lips and eyes to become pale.
Constant sore tongue and mouth ulcers
Vitamin B12 deficiency is most common among elderly, vegans and vegetarians. The reason for that is most of the B12 nutrients come from meat-based animal sources, i.e., beef, fish, dairy products, organ meats, etc. Inadequate absorption of B12 can lead to similar deficiency symptoms such as Celiac disease, IBS, decreased stomach acidity and other elderly-related diseases.
Vitamin B12 Absorption
The question is, which type of vitamin B12 is best for curing vitamin B12 deficiency?
One thing you have to understand is that B12 is not readily absorbed by the body. B12 compounds require another ingredient to successfully bind to a donor. From here, you’ll have 2 choices- methyl B12 or cyano B12.
It was shown in clinical trials that cyanocobalamin may be better absorbed by the body if taken in higher doses. If so, then you will be better served if you take cyanocobalamin supplements for a month or two. Methylcobalamin stays far longer than cyanocobalamin, which means it gives your body essential nutrients for far longer. Moreover, methylcobalamin can be taken different ways and can be stacked with different supplements for better potency and efficacy.
The great thing about technology is that there are more ways to get your dosage in many ways, i.e., drops and spray supplemental forms. Methylcobalamin may be taken in a simple yet efficient manner- just put a pill under your tongue and you’ll get vitamin B12 in a time-release method. There are many supplemental products that are created for this purpose. Instead of having to get to the digestive system, sublingual B12 supplements quickly dissolve in saliva and get absorbed into the bloodstream. It’s an advantage for people who need essential B12 vitamins and those who have severe digestive issues.
Our bodies are unique in that each physiology reacts differently to either methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. If it’s your first time to try out B12, you can get both B12 sources and see which one reacts with your body better.