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Top 5 Vitamin B12 Supplements of
2022

Always tired? You may not be getting enough B12. Learn how this special vitamin can improve energy, immune health & more — plus, our favorite picks of 2022

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When was the last time you had your vitamin B12 levels checked? (It may have been longer than you think). And because your vitamin B levels are not typically checked with routine blood work, you could easily be one of the 20% of people with a vitamin B12 deficiency, or in rare but more serious cases, anemic.1

This leads to a crucial question: Why is this even important? To answer this question, we'll take a quick look at what exactly vitamin B12 is, what it does for the body, and who can benefit from it.

We'll also explain why—when it comes to supplements—liquid and sublingual B12 are superior to other alternatives like tablets or pills. Plus, we'll share our top 5 picks for best vitamin B12 supplement of 2021. 

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a vital l nutrient your body needs but cannot produce on its own.2 It is involved in producing red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and supporting healthy, functioning nerves. Its role in cell production also makes vitamin B12 essential to supporting stronger hair, skin, and nails3

B12 Deficiency and Anemia

One of vitamin B12's most important jobs in the body is producing red blood cells. Red blood cells (RBCs) transport oxygen throughout our bodies, including our tissues and organs.

If you have a B12 deficiency, your body produces fewer RBCs. As a consequence, some of your most vital systems become oxygen deprived, which can result in feelings of weakness, shortness of breath, and fatigue

These symptoms may also point to a more serious underlying condition known as pernicious anemia. People with pernicious anemia lack the intrinsic factor protein that enables them to successfully absorb vitamin B12, even if they get enough from their diet. 

The good news is that taking vitamin B12 supplement regularly can lower your chances of developing a deficiency. And that's not the only benefit of taking vitamin B12; it's also essential for maintaining a healthy immune system

Immunity Bonus

B12 is a key player in the immune system as it increases your white blood cell count. White blood cells are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. When your count is low, you're more at risk for pathogens entering your system.

People at risk of being deficient in b12 are vegans, vegetarians and people over the age of 50. 

Why Liquid B12 Is More Effective

If you've ever shopped for vitamin B12, you may have noticed it comes in a variety of forms — pills, sprays, gummies, liquid drops, etc. For some, choosing the right B12 supplement boils down to personal preference (if you have a hard time swallowing pills, for example, you might prefer a gummy or spray). 

However, most experts agree that the best way to ingest B12 is sublingually, or under the tongue since they are highly "bioavailable" (easier to absorb). Thus, liquid drops, sprays and caplets that dissolve under the tongue are absorbed faster than gummies and pills, which must first be broken down in the intestine. 

Still, sprays can get a little messy (and sticky!), which is why we recommend liquid B12 drops. They're fast-acting, concentrated, and most reviewers find they have a pleasant taste. For additional tips on what to look for and what to avoid, check out our B12 buying guide below. 

Your Complete Vitamin B12 Checklist:

Contains Methylcobalamin

Methylcobalamin is a bioidentical form of naturally occurring B12. Unlike its cousin, cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin is already in a biologically active form, so it can metabolize and get to work much faster.5

Opt for Well-Known Manufacturers

While lesser-known manufacturers may be just as good as their counterparts, you can’t always count on this. Opting for a manufacturer that you can trust is only using the highest-quality ingredients and is testing them for purity and potency.

Look for Sublingual or Liquid B12

Sublingual, or under-the-tongue, supplements start to work immediately, unlike tablets and pills, which must be digested first. Similarly, liquid drops are fast-acting and typically contain high concentrations of vitamin B12. 

The Right Dose

You’ll see supplements with anywhere from 500 mcg of vitamin B12 to more than 8,000 mcg — the ideal dose for a B12 supplement, however, is actually 5,000 mcg for optimal potency.

What To Avoid:

Cyanocobalamin

Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of vitamin B12 that's metabolically inactive. It must first be converted to its biologically active form (i.e., methylcobalamin) which prolongs it from taking effect. 

Extremely High Doses

There is no clearly defined upper limit for vitamin B12, however, too much can place unnecessary strain on your liver. Look for a product whose dose does not exceed 6,000 mcg.

Remember, you should always speak with your physician before starting any type of supplement. He or she can also advise you on a good dosage to start off with.

Top 5 Vitamin B12 Supplements

We looked at the most popular vitamin B12 supplements available and narrowed them down to the top 5. Here's what we found...

 

1. Vegan B12

Total Ranking

9.6/10

A+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • No high fructose corn syrup, dairy, synthetic dyes, or gluten
  • Contains methylcobalamin
  • Potent 5,000 mcg dos
  • Highly Bioavailable
  • Made in U.S.A.

CONS

  • Frequently out of stock
The Bottom Line

We chose Vegan B12 by Live Conscious because it uses methylcobalamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, so that excess amounts can easily be washed out to prevent adverse effects of overconsumption. This means that their high dose of 5000 mcg is extremely safe, since your body will be able to absorb as much as it needs, and no more. 

We appreciate that Vegan B12 comes in liquid form and is highly bioavailable. It comes with a simple dropper in the bottle, which is by far the best way to take this supplement. 

Not only does Live Conscious offer a comprehensive 365-day return policy, but the brand also promotes a whole-body approach to health that we really appreciate.

With all this in mind, we had to put Vegan B12 supplement at the top of our list. *

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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2. B12 Liquid

Total Ranking

8.9/10

B+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Sourced from trusted suppliers for potency and purity
  • Free from artificial colors and sweeteners

CONS

  • Contains less potent dose of 1,000 mcg
  • Sweetened with preservatives 
The Bottom Line

There's a lot to like about Pure Encapsulations B12 liquid. They source from trusted suppliers to ensure potency and purity, it's free from artificial colors and sweeteners, and it's pure methylcobalamin

Though it has a smaller dose than most other supplements at 1,000 mcg, you can worry less about taking too much. Pure Encapsulations also has sustainability initiatives to support a greener future.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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3. Ultra B12

Total Ranking

8.6/10

B+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Contains a vitamin B complex
  • Has three different types of B12
  • Vegan-friendly

CONS

  • Has a source of carbs from sweeteners
  • Higher dose of folate
The Bottom Line

NOW Supplement's Ultra B12 not only offers three different types of B-12, but also contains B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 making it a well rounded vitamin B complex. 

While this B12 supplement does contain multiple B vitamins, it also contains a dose of biotin and folate, and a source of carbs. Which is something to keep in mind if you are wanting a simple B12 supplement.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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4. B-12 Drops

Total Ranking

7.3/10

C

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Large serving size of 5,000 mcg B12
  • Pure Methylcobalamin
  • Vegan

CONS 

  • Contains fructose 
The Bottom Line

VitBoot's B-12 drops contain a large serving of 5,000 mcg of B12 which is the perfect dose within our recommended range. It also is pure methylcobalamin, so you know you're getting a large dose of pure B-12. 

Users have reported great results while taking it and also state it also had a great taste -- saying it was "pleasant" and not at all "medicinal."*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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5. Organic Liquid B12 Spray

Total Ranking

7.2/10

C

Overall Grade

PROS

  • USDA Organic
  • Pure Methylcobalamin

CONS

  • 1,500 mcg is a less potent dose
  • Sprays can be messier than a dropper
  • Flavored
The Bottom Line

MaryRuth's liquid B12 is the only one our list that is USDA organic.

This product is also the only spray supplement on our list. Sprays are still a great way to get extra B12 and you only have to spray twice to get a good dose of 1,500 mcg, but people have complained that sprays are messy. They are also known to not absorb as fast as sublingual supplements. 

All this considered, MaryRuth's B12 spray was as strong pick to round out our list.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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CITATIONS

  1. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/signs-of-b12-deficiency
  2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2965901/
  4. https://nutritionstudies.org/12-questions-answered-regarding-vitamin-b12/
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  6. https://www.justvitamins.co.uk/blog/cyanocobalamin-versus-methylcobalamin/#.WphjZGrwaUk 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28216963/