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Are you confused about which type of B12 is best for you? Are you wondering which form of Vitamin B12 is best, in general? In this article we will look at the different types of B12 and different ways to take B12 . We will look at types of B12 based on genetics and using signs and symptoms to point you in the right direction.
If you want to know which form of B12 is best for you, keep reading.
Best Form Of B12
First we need to understand the different routes of administration and the different types of B12. From here we can understand which form a B12 is best for you. When it comes to the different types of B12, it really comes down to which molecules are attached to the cobalamin molecule. This structure allows us to determine which one might be best for you. It's also worth pointing out that there are some types of B12 we can exclude from taking at all.
B12 is known as cobalamin. The type of B12 is based on what functional group is attached to it. It could be a 'methyl' group as in methylcobalamin. It can also be a cyanide group as in cyanocobalamin or a hydroxyl group as in hydroxycobalamin, and finally an adenosine as in adenosylcobalamin. Each of those molecules on the front of the cobalamin name are the functional groups. In the case of the 'cyano' and 'hydroxyl' those two molecules are not really adding much value to the physiology of your body. In the case of the 'cyano' group or cyanocobalamin you probably don't want to take it at all. Cyanide is poisonous to our mitochondria and it's just not good for our bodies. In a pinch it will help if you are really really low on vitamin B12 (cobalamin). If no other sources are available, it's ok to take it. It's generally not recommended to put cyanide in your body no matter how small it is, however. Hydroxyl groups do not cause any harm but they are not as beneficial either. So both 'cyano' and hydroxyl are not necessarily that functional and don't add much benefit to the body. Now let's look at those that do add benefit.
Methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin do have functional uses. Methylcobalamin has a 'methyl' group on it. If you do have genetic issues with recycling B12, such as an alteration in MTRR (or even MTHFR or MTR), you may need more vitamin B12 in the form of methyl-B12. This will keep those enzymes functioning at their normal capacity. This is a genetic reasons why you might need methylcobalamin. Another reason to look at methylcobalamin is if you have a high homocysteine. High homocysteine occurs in B12 deficiency.
A methylmalonic acid test will be elevated when you have low B12 levels too. The methylmalonic is a more sensitive way to test for B12 deficiency, however. The methylmalonic molecules increase when there is a lack of adenosylcobalamin. This is a type of B12 which is needed for fatty acid and myelin sheath production. The myelin is an important component of your nerves. When you have a lot of nerve issues you may want to use the adenosyl form. The problem with this form is that doesn't come in injectable forms. It is less stable so harder to make in injectable form. There are also limited sources of adenosylcobalamin. Here is a link to adenosylcobalmin you can take by mouth.
Adenosylcobalamin is used more for the nerve conduction and myelin sheath production. If you have issues with methylmelonyl CoA mutase genetically, you may need more of the adenosylcobalamin as well. Adenosyl and methylcobalamin are two of the best forms you can get. Because the adenosine does not come in the injectable form, you may want to use the methylcobalamin instead. Hydroxylcobalamin is a good substitute instead of the cyanocobalamin.
Routes of B12 Administration
The main routes of administration for B12 are oral (swallowing), sublingual (dissolves in your mouth), and injectable or intravenous. We discussed the different types that are available through injectable and intravenous. All the types are available to swallow and I believe sublingual as well. The best route to administer your B12 is injection or intravenous. Of course, that's not freely available to everyone. The next best option is sublingual or under the tongue. The reason sublingual is better has to do with what happens when you swallow the B12. Some people don't have the ability to absorb it. In most cases this is why people become deficient to begin with. Be sure you talk to your doctor if you have questions about this as there are many different things to consider. Clearly if you are deficient you need more B12 and a lot of these different forms can work.
That should give you a better understanding of which form of B12 is best. If you have questions about the content in this article, please ask it in the comment section below.
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