Cyanocobalamin vs Methylcobalamin

Demystify the world of vitamin B12 with our comprehensive exploration of cyanocobalamin vs methylcobalamin. Gain insights into their synthesis, absorption, and potential impact on your health. Navigate the complexities and empower yourself with knowledge for optimal well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of vitamin B12, while methylcobalamin is a naturally occurring form.
  • Both forms are converted into active forms of vitamin B12 in the body, but methylcobalamin may be better retained.
  • It is recommended that adults ages 18 and up get at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 daily.

Suppose you’re an avid reader of food labels or simply prefer to be informed about what you put in your body. In that case, you’ve likely seen cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin on food and supplement labels.

Cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin are two different forms of the same vitamin, vitamin B12. So if they are the same vitamin, why do they have different names? That’s an excellent question! Let’s dive in.

Cyanocobalamin vs Methylcobalamin: What’s The Difference?

Both cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin are vitamin B12 however, they are different forms.

The difference between methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin is cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of vitamin B12, while methylcobalamin is a naturally occurring form.

Just because cyanocobalamin is synthetic, doesn’t mean it’s bad. Cyanocobalamin is converted to a natural form of vitamin B12 by the body.

Vitamin B12, simply referred to as cobalamin, is an essential water-soluble vitamin required for a variety of body functions, including keeping your blood vessels and nerves healthy. Vitamin B12 aids in making DNA and is also important for preventing megaloblastic anemia. (Source)

Vitamin B12 exists in several different forms. The most common form of vitamin B12 found in dietary supplements is cyanocobalamin but there is also adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin, all of which are natural forms of vitamin B12. (Source

The absorption rate for all of these forms is believed to be about the same, the main differences are how they act in the body, how much they cost, and how stable they are.

For example, cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin are commonly used for vitamin B12 injections as absorption is improved and they tend to be more effective at raising B12 levels during a deficiency.

Many researchers believe the best vitamin B12 supplements contain a mixture of the different types.

Where Are They Found?

Vitamin B12 Foods

You can find good sources of natural vitamin B12 in animal products, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals. It is also available in a variety of dietary supplements, including multivitamins, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin B12 supplements which can include tablets, capsules, sublingual tabs, nasal sprays, and injections.

Methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and adenosylcobalamin are all found naturally in animal products whereas cyanocobalamin is made synthetically and can only be found in supplements and fortified foods. (Source)

Which Is Better: Methylcobalamin Or Cyanocobalamin?

When trying to determine which is better, methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin, the answer is not black and white.

Cyanocobalamin is converted into a natural form of vitamin B12 once it is metabolized in the body. Because methylcobalamin is a natural form, it is already active once ingested however, neither source has been proven better than the other.

It’s hypothesized through research that methylcobalamin is better retained in the body but that it works best when combined with another form, such as adenosylcobalamin. However, cyanocobalamin may be better absorbed than methylcobalamin. Despite those differences, either one will help to treat vitamin B12 deficiency. (Source)

Methyl B12 vs B12

If methylcobalamin is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B12, why does it have a different name? Methyl B12 vs B12 (also known as simply cobalamin) as it has a methyl group attached to cobalt in its chemical structure.

This is true for cyanocobalamin as well. The main difference is the methyl group is replaced by a cyano group in its chemical structure. This dictates differences in how your body can use vitamin B12.

It’s recommended that adults ages 18 and up get at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 daily, these recommendations are increased in pregnant and breastfeeding women. (Source)

Most multivitamin supplements contain doses between 5-25 mcg while vitamin B12 supplements contain higher amounts, about 50-500 mcg. Combination supplements that include vitamin B12 and B-complex vitamins have ranges even higher than this at 500-1,000 mcg. (Source

These differences in dosages are due to the absorption rate of vitamin B12 in supplements. For example, your body may only absorb 2% of a 500 mcg dose of vitamin B12 and only 1.3% of a 1,000 mcg dose. (Source)

Most healthy adults can easily obtain adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in the diet however, certain populations may be at risk for deficiency, such as pregnant or lactating women, individuals who previously underwent gastrointestinal surgeries, chronic intake certain medications such as proton-pump inhibitors, those following a vegan diet, and older adults.

How To Get Enough

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Vitamin B12 can be found in large amounts in animal products however, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet or do not like a lot of B12-rich foods, a supplement that contains vitamin B12 can ensure you are meeting your nutrient needs.

While vitamin B12 supplements are beneficial for those who need them, taking a multivitamin supplement or a nutrient-dense green powder may prove more beneficial to ensure all nutrient gaps are filled. Whichever path you choose, be sure to discuss your plans with your health care provider before adding a supplement to your routine.

When choosing supplements of any kind, always look for trusted brands that offer third-party testing for quality and purity along with full ingredient transparency, such as Human Tonik Supergreen Tonik powder.

Avoid proprietary blends and make sure the supplement includes ingredients that support your health goals. For example, Supergreen Tonik contains 10 mcg of cyanocobalamin along with 38 plant-based superfoods, adaptogens, and nutrients to promote better energy, immunity, and focus.

If you choose to take a dietary supplement that contains vitamin B12, it’s best to take it first thing in the morning as it promotes energy production. This could lead to sleep alterations if taken too close to bedtime.

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