- Kelin M
5 Best B12 supplements of 2021
Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Feeling sluggish? Foggy headed? Having trouble falling asleep? Metabolism slowing down?
It could be low B12.
Vitamin B12 is a critical nutrient responsible for keeping nerves and heart healthy, red blood cell production, and brain health. It helps your body make DNA and strengthens your immune system, and makes your hair and nails stronger, among many other benefits!
1. Best overall: Why Not Natural Sublingual 5000 mcg B12 drops 2. Best tablet: Jarrow Formulas Methyl B12 3. Best spray: Garden of Life 500 mcg spray 4. Best with adenosylcobalamin: Vimergy organic 2500 mcg drops 5. Best capsule: Vitamin Code raw B12 1000 mcg capsules
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WHAT WE LOOK FOR
Vitamin Form: Many of the top-selling brands still use the inferior synthetic form of B12, cyanocobalamin. We look for brands who use the naturally-occurring forms, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, that your body can easily absorb.
Reviews: All the supplements on our list have thousands of raving, verified reviews and come from highly respected companies.
Good Manufacturing Practices: All companies listed are compliant with the FDA's GMP standards for purity and consistency of ingredients so you can trust that you're getting what's advertised.
Sugar-Free: None of the options listed include sugar as it is highly inflammatory, which is why we haven't included any gummy forms (the most popular B12 gummies contain sugar as the main ingredient, dyes, and even pork!).
Vegetarian: We didn't include brands who use non-vegetarian ingredients, such as pork.
Beneficial Dose: Most people don't absorb a large percentage of the B12 taken as a supplement, so we recommended products with a large enough dose to ensure you absorb it. All the supplements listed have at least 500 mcg per serving. (Excess B12 is simply excreted in the urine!)
Supplements Only: Some fortified foods contain B12 but they are often highly processed and use the cheaper cyanocobalamin form of B12, so we only recommend pure supplements on this list. It's also worth noting that doctors can inject their patients directly with B12, but we haven't included injectable formulas.
To account for the large variation in serving sizes, we priced them per 1000 mcg serving size (actual serving size will be marked on the bottle):
$=under $0.10 per 1000 mcg
$$=$0.11 to $0.20 per 1000 mcg
$$$=$0.21 to $0.30 per 1000 mcg
$$$$=$0.31 to $0.40 per 1000 mcg
$$$$$=$0.41 and up per 1000 mcg
1. Best Overall: Why Not Natural B12 Liquid
Supplement Type: Liquid
When you have low B12, the best thing you can do is supplement with a sublingual liquid form because it bypasses the digestive system (and your digestive system could be a factor in your B12 deficiency, so bypassing is always a good idea!).
Unfortunately, most liquid B12 supplements are full of junk (like sugar, aspartame, sodium benzoate, or alcohol).
Why Not Natural's B12 has a cult-like following because of its ultra-clean ingredient list, potent dose of methylcobalamin B12, and great taste. Oh, and it's one of the few B12 supplements that's packaged in glass with a marked glass dropper!
We can't really find anything bad to say about this one, which is why it gets our highest overall recommendation.
2. Best Tablet: Jarrow Formulas Methyl B12
Supplement Type: Chewable Tablet
Tablets aren't exactly "in vogue" these days, but they can be handy to dissolve below your tongue (again, bypassing the digestive system).
We love the Jarrow Methyl B12 because it has a large dose, great taste, and dissolves quickly.
We wish it didn't have xylitol as its first ingredient (which can cause digestive problems) and additives magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide, but as far as tablets go it has a pretty "clean" ingredient list and is well-tolerated by most customers, plus we're really happy to see a tablet with the methylcobalamin form of B12!
3. Best Spray: Garden of Life B12 spray
Supplement Type: Spray
There's a lot to love about this spray. Certified organic, super clean ingredient list, and even added organic food blend.
The convenience of a spray bottle could make this one a winner (and you only need one squirt, unlike many other spray B12 formulas!).
As much as we love the ingredient list on this one, there are three factors that make us less enthusiastic about this product overall.
The first is that it's in plastic, and we'd love to see it in glass. The second is that it's a pretty small dose compared to the other formulas (500 mcg, compared to 5000 mcg in many of the others). And the third is the pesky mold issue many customers have reported below the cap! If you purchase this, make sure you take the cap off and look for mold on the underside.
4. Best with Adenosylcobalamin: Vimergy Organic 2500 mcg
Supplement Type: Liquid
These unflavored drops contain a blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Do you need both? Not necessarily, as your body converts adenosylcobalamin to methylcobalamin anyway (the latter is the type your body uses in the end).
But many people prefer a blend, and this one has a stellar ingredient list. It's unflavored, but B12 is mild-tasting and easy to ingest.
The biggest downside of this one is the price. It's certified organic which sort of justifies a higher price, but it's half the size of the Why Not Natural B12, has half the B12 in each serving, and costs almost 50% more. If we did our math correctly, that's more than 11x more per mcg of B12 in the bottle!
5. Best Capsule: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw B12
Supplement Type: Vegan Capsule
We love that these capsules contain a probiotic and enzyme blend as well as raw fruit and veggies, which can be really helpful for those with low B12 symptoms.
The other ingredients are minimal and this is about as clean of a capsule as you can get. Oh, and it's in glass!
The main downsides to these capsules are that you only get 1000 mcg per serving and 30 servings per bottle.
If you're looking purely for B12 you might want to go for something more potent and with more servings, but this does a great job as an overall supplement to your diet. Oh, and it's owned by Nestle, which some people have strong feelings about.
Things to consider before buying Vitamin B12 supplements
Before you jump to a conclusion and purchase a random vitamin B12 supplement, consider a few things, for instance, whether you are comfortable with the type of the supplement or if the product is reliable & safe to consume. The guide above will help you choose the best vitamin B12 supplement – not just the one of the highest quality, but also the one you like!
Type of supplement:
If you are a person who doesn't like taking capsules, then considering the type of vitamin B12 supplement you choose is critical. Apart from capsules, vitamin B12 supplements are often available as liquid or dissolvable tablets. Considering the kind of supplement before buying will help you enjoy it more and help it become a regular habit.
Quality compliance & certifications:
One of the notable differences between supplements and common drugs is that the FDA does not regulate supplements like other drugs. As a result, doing a little bit of research by you is highly recommended before buying a vitamin B12 supplement. To ensure the product's quality compliance and certificates, you can look for the following:
Look for CGMP compliance and certification, which ensures that the vitamin B12 supplement is manufactured under the current manufacturing practices and meets the requirements of the FDA.
Check whether the vitamin B12 supplement brand has the Certificate of Analysis (COA), which essentially proves that the brand delivers what it promises.
You can also check for any third party testing commissioned by the supplement company.
Signs You May Need More B12
A critical consideration when supplementing is: do you actually need more?
B12 isn't like caffeine; it won't give you extra energy if you're already consuming enough. B12 deficiency is very common, but it's important to get an official diagnosis so you're not treating the wrong problem.
Here are some risk factors for B12 deficiency:
Taking certain medications, most notably Metformin
Consuming a vegetarian or vegan diet
Removal or part of/entire stomach or intestines (for example, gastric bypass surgery)
Being of Northern European descent
Deficiencies can take years to manifest, so pay attention to these warning signs you should get your B12 level checked:
Numbness or tingling in hands/feet
Fatigue, low energy
These symptoms are easy to confuse with other health problems, so you should talk with your healthcare provider if you're experiencing anything on the list above.
DISCLAIMER: if you're concerned about your B12 levels, please speak with your healthcare provider. Ingredient Nerd bases our findings on peer-reviewed research, but our articles are not intended as medical advice and shouldn't be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice.