Let’s first briefly recall the most important points about vitamin B12
- In nature, Vitamin B12 is almost exclusively produced by bacteria: about ten different strains have this capacity. Herbivorous animals have developed a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria, which explains why their tissues content B12. Carnivorous animals get the vitamin B12 they need by eating the meat of herbivorous animals.
- Vitamin B12 plays a key role in growth (fetuses, children) and in the renewal of body tissues, including blood and nerve cells. It is an essential vitamin at any age.
For the vegans and all the people who have a low consumption of animal products (vegetarians, serious flexitarians), the supplementation in Vitamin B12 is obligatory, essential.
- For a few decades, we have been able to produce Vitamin B12 in laboratories, with complex but well-controlled processes (see below). This has been a fundamental breakthrough for the dietary balance of all vegans.
- It is sometimes argued that some algae (Spirulina, Klamath, Nori..) are alternatives for vitamin B12 intake, which is unfortunately not the case: their B12 content is at best never at a level allowing for a somewhat significant contribution to the coverage of needs.
- The daily requirements for a vegan adult are higher than the European Recommended Nutritional Value (NRV), which is 2.5 μgr (micro gram) / day (in USA: the NRV is 6 µgr/day, which is more adequate).
In addition, the absorption of vitamin B12 decreases very strongly as the dose increases, but it is also one of the few vitamins to present no risk of overdose.
In practice, with a sufficient safety margin, the recommended intakes for a vegan (including child from 12 years old)* healthy adult are:
- For one dose per day: 10 μgr (or 4 times the NRV).
- For a dose every 3 or 4 days: 1000 μgr (or 1 milligram or 400 times the NRV).
- For a weekly dose: 2 mg (or 800 times the NRV)
* 4 to 12 years: divide the dose by 2Vegetarians, flexitarians, senior omnivores: 1 mg /week in one dose or a daily supply of 5 µgr
Methylcobalamin vs Cyanocobalamin: What’s the Difference?
In the body, the two active forms of Vitamin B12 are methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, which act as Co Enzymes (say, ‘facilitators’ of physiological mechanisms).
It is important to note that each of these two forms acts on different targets and functions (mainly: cellular plasma and nerve cells for the first, and mitochondria for the second).
However, there are 8 distinct molecular forms of vitamin B12 sources, all derived from cobalamines, the most common being cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin.
There are subtle differences between each molecular form, which sometimes gives rise to some conflicting debates and controversies.
Do not worry, all these differences are secondary, the priority is to have a sufficient intake of vitamin B12, then we are talking of optimizing details.
Vitamin B12 production
The production of these molecules always involves bacterial synthesis and purification processes using sophisticated biotechnologies.
For Drugs and dietary supplements offering significant and reliable doses, there is not, strictly speaking, natural vitamin B12 in the case of molecules, which are certainly derived from a bacterium but which have been treated with high technology processes *.
To give you an idea: the work on the synthesis of the vitamin B12 was rewarded by two Nobel Prize in chemistry (Dorothy Hodgkin in 1964 and Roger Woodward in 1965).
* otherwise, with the same logic, we could also say, for example, that all products derived from petroleum are natural products, since the oil is itself derived from the decomposition of organic matter!
The choice of cyanocobalamin for our supplements
- Cyanocobalamin is the form deemed most stable over time and insensitive to degradation by temperature.
- The capsule form avoids exposure to dangerous temperatures (more than 80 °C) for the stability of the molecule, which is not the case for tablets (the mechanical effect of compression generates a sudden increase in temperature often above 80 °C).
- Cyanocobalamin can be converted into any of the active forms of B12 in the body (adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin), which is an interesting flexibility.
Good to know: Several studies show a positive effect of calcium on the absorption of vitamin B12.
To learn more about our products and the supplement B12 + Iodine and Selenium, it’s here!
The Argalys team