Different Faces of Vitamin B12 – Characteristics of Individual Forms

Vitamin B12 comes in a number of different forms and the differences are subtle. The role played by vitamin B12 should not be understated and it is important to know the common causes of deficiency and be able to accurately decided whether to supplement your B12 intake and which type of B12 to use.

Cyanocobalamin contains cyanide, which requires the body to detoxify, a process which uses B12, making cyanocobalamin the least beneficial of the common types of Vitamin B12.

Methylcobalamin does not contain cyanide, making it more available than cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin may have an analgesic effect.

Hydroxocobalamin is another form of B12 which is preferable over methylcobalamin for people who deal with over-methylation.
The body converts it easily into methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin and is an effective antidote to cyanide poisoning.

Hydroxy-B12 and adenosylborabalamines are most abundantly found in foods. Hydroxy-B12 maintains the highest level of B12 blood concentration.

Adenosylcobalamin is cobalamin with 5-deoxyadenosine molecule attached. Like methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalymin does not require the body to convert it before use, but unlike methycobalamine, it does not provide methyl groups to the body. Adenosylcobalamin may regenerate myelin sheaths.

Supplementation of B12 should not be taken lightly and finding the right combination of forms is important for one’s health and fitness.

Key Points:

  • 1Cyanocobalamin is a very common inexpensive form of B12 but it contains cyanide, a strong toxin. B12 is good at combatting this but it causes a portion of the vitamin to already be used when ingested.
  • 2To receive the benefits that vitamin B12 supplements can offer it is recommended to consume both methyl adenosylcobalamin in conjunction with one another.
  • 3Not everyone who takes Methylcobalamin reacts well to it, and if that is the case using hydroxocobalamin with adenosylcobalamin or by itself is a good enough alternative.

It is worth mentioning, however, that vitamin B12 is not a single substance and it is present in several forms, including cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamine, hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, which show some differences.

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