Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that can be difficult to get from food sources – especially for vegetarians and vegans.
That’s why vitamin B12 supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years. A growing number of people with all different diets take vitamin B12 supplements to support different health goals.
But with multiple vitamin B12 supplements on the market, it can be difficult to know which vitamin B12 supplement is the best choice for you. That’s why we want to help. Today, we’re highlighting the best vitamin B12 supplements you can buy from Amazon and other major retailers.
Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin
Jarrow Formulas offers a vitamin B12 supplement similar to many others on this list, delivering it in the form of an artificially sweetened lozenge. As of 2019, the Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (Methyl B12) supplement is the number one bestseller on Amazon in the “vitamin B12 supplements” category.
You can buy the supplement in 60 lozenge or 120 lozenge bottles. Each lozenge delivers 5000mcg of vitamin B12, or 83,330% of your recommended Daily Value (DV) of vitamin B12. Other ingredients include xylitol, cellulose, and natural cherry flavor.
Amazon Elements Vitamin B12
Amazon now offers a range of popular, well-made supplements under its Elements brand. Today, the Amazon Elements Vitamin B12 supplement is one of the best-selling supplements in the vitamin B12 supplement market.
Each bottle of Amazon Elements Vitamin B12 contains 65 berry flavored lozenges, good for a two month supply, at a reasonable price. Each lozenge contains 5000mcg of vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin), or 83,333% of your recommended Daily Value (DV). It’s all packaged into a convenient and surprisingly tasty lozenge (with raspberry flavor) at an unbeatable price.
Vitafusion Extra Strength B12
Vitafusion Extra Strength Vitamin B12 is a gummy-based vitamin B12 supplement that provides 3000mcg of vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) in each two gummy vitamins serving (45 servings per container). That’s 125,000% of your recommended Daily Value of vitamin B12 with each two gummy serving.
The gummies are made from tapioca syrup and contain 3g of added sugar (3g of sugar in total) in each two gummy serving. There’s also gelatin, coconut or palm oil, beeswax, and other natural ingredients.
Global Healing Center VeganSafe B12
Global Healing Center’s VeganSafe B12 supplement uses a different delivery method than every other formula on this list. Instead of being packaged into a capsule or powder formula, Global Healing Center’s VeganSafe is in a 1 fl oz or 2 fl oz bottle.
Some people mix the liquid with a beverage of their choice. Others place a drop under their tongue. Global Healing Center claims this is the best and most bioavailable way to consume vitamin B12. Each 1mL serving (30 servings per 1 fl oz container) includes 2500mcg of vitamin B12, or 41,667% of your recommended Daily Value.
Garden of Life Vitamin Code B12
Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code Raw B12 is a popular vitamin B12 supplement currently scoring an average rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 on Amazon with over 400 customer reviews. Garden of Life is known for making a range of other popular nutritional supplements, primarily sourcing nutrients from whole food sources.
Garden of Life claims their Vitamin Code Raw B12 supplement can protect the body against anemia and support a healthy central nervous system. Each capsule (30 capsules per container) contains 1000mcg of vitamin B12, or 16,670% of your recommended Daily Value (DV). However, each capsule also contains 60mg of a raw probiotic and enzyme blend and 20mg of a raw organic fruit and vegetable blend, delivering an additional dose of enzymes, digestive support blends, fruits, and vegetables.
If you’re looking for a vitamin B12 supplement that does more than just provide your body with a hefty dose of vitamin B12, then the Garden of Life Vitamin Code B12 formula may be the right choice for you.
Amazon Brand Solimo Quick Dissolve Vitamin B12
The Amazon Elements Vitamin B12 supplement is near the top of this list, but the Amazon Solimo Vitamin B12 supplement is worth a mention as well. Each bottle contains 120 tablets (a four month supply), with each tablet containing 25000mcg of vitamin B12.
In other words, you’re getting 104,167% of your recommended Daily Value of vitamin B12 in each one tablet serving. It’s packaged with natural cherry flavor and sucralose. As with most other Solimo supplements, you get a powerful dose at a surprisingly reasonable price.
Twinlab B12 Dots
TwinLab makes a unique vitamin B12 supplement unlike anything else on this list. They’re sublingual dots that are placed under your tongue to provide a hefty dose of vitamin B12 directly into your body.
Each dot has 500mcg of vitamin B12, and there are 100 tablets in each package. Plus, unlike many of the gelatin gummies on this list, the Twinlab B12 Dots are a vegetarian formula. The dots are made from cellulose and other veggie sources. Although it’s a unique delivery method compared to other products on this list, many people claim the dots have helped them enjoy the benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation more easily.
Bronson Vitamin Sustained Release B12
Bronson Vitamin claims their vitamin B12 formula will slowly release over a 6 to 8 hour period to provide a steady, balanced stream of vitamin B12, giving users long-lasting energy throughout the day. Bronson Vitamin also claims their supplement can help promote healthy skin, eyes, hair, nerves, liver, and muscle tone, among other benefits.
As with most other supplements on this list, the Sustained Released B12 comes in the form of a tablet. Each container has 250 tablets, with each tablet containing 1000mcg of vitamin B12 (41,667% of your recommended Daily Value). It’s also a vegetarian and vegan friendly supplement. Overall, Bronson Vitamin offers a strong dose of vitamin B12 at a reasonable price.
Zenwise Health Vitamin B12
Zenwise Health Vitamin B12 is a 1000mcg vitamin B12 supplement packaged into a colorful container. As with certain other formulas on this list, Zenwise Health’s B12 supplement claims to be a timed-release formula that delivers 1000mcg of vitamin B12 to support cognition, digestion, and energy levels.
You get 160 tablets in each container. Zenwise Health claims their formula supports cognition, digestion, and energy levels, among other benefits. Many of the reviewers taking Zenwise Health Vitamin B12 claim they were regularly fatigued until they started taking the formula.
Natrol Vitamin B12
Natrol Vitamin B12 provides a 5000mcg dose of vitamin B12 in fast-dissolving tablets. The formula claims to rapidly raise your body’s circulating levels of vitamin B12. Unlike other supplements, it’s not a timed release formula: it’s designed for rapid action and fast absorption.
If you’re looking for a formula that delivers a high dose of vitamin B12, then this may be the right option. Natrol Vitamin B12 provides 5000mcg of vitamin b12 (208,330% of your Daily Value) in each one tablet serving (100 tablets per container).
Nature’s Wonder Timed Release B12
Nature’s Wonder offers a popular vitamin B12 supplement on Amazon available in 120 capsule or 240 capsule bottles. Each capsule contains 1000mcg of vitamin B12, good for 41,667% of your recommended Daily Value of vitamin B12.
Nature’s Wonder also describes their formula as a timed release. Plus, they claim it supports healthy blood cells and a better nervous system. As with other vitamin B12 supplements, Nature’s Wonder’s vitamin B12 supplement claims to give your body the ingredients it needs to synthesize hemoglobin, helping your body in various ways.
SBR Nutrition Vitamin B12 Drops
SBR Nutrition’s Vitamin B12 Drops contain 3000mcg of methylcobalamin per serving. Each serving is half of a dropper’s worth of liquid, and there are 60 servings in each container. With each half dropper, you get 50,000% of your recommended Daily Value of vitamin B12.
The remaining ingredients in the liquid formula include purified water, organic grape alcohol, a natural flavor blend (cherry flavor), and stevia. You place the drops under your tongue to give your body a high dose of vitamin B12 that absorbs quickly.
Health Labs Nutra Vitamin B12 Complex
Health Labs Nutra sells a Vitamin B12 complex supplement in the form of liquid drops. The company claims the drops can “naturally boost energy and brain function”, making you smarter and more energetic – similar to the claims made by other vitamin B12 supplement manufacturers on this list.
You take the drops sublingually, placing a dropper underneath your tongue as needed. The 1200mg of vitamin B12 gets “immediately released” for “fast-acting results” according to Health Labs Nutra.
There are a blend of other B vitamins and nutrients inside Health Labs Nutra Vitamin B12 Complex as well. Each 1mL serving (60 servings per container) includes 100% of your DV of vitamin B2, 1005 of your DV of Niacin, 50% of your DV of vitamin B6, and 200% of your DV of pantothenic acid, along with the main ingredient, which is 20,000% of your DV of vitamin B12.
Our Ranking Methodology
Our editorial; team spent hours compiling the rankings above and researching leading vitamin B12 supplements. We ranked supplements based on all of the following factors:
Limited B Complex Vitamins: There are plenty of multivitamin supplements and B-complex vitamin supplements out there. These supplements offer a wide range of B vitamins and other nutrients. This list, however, focused mostly on vitamin B12 supplements in particular.
Delivery Method: You can find topical vitamin B12 creams sold on Amazon. You rub the creams on your body to deliver vitamin B12 to targeted areas of your body (at least, that’s the claim). We focused mostly on oral vitamin B12 supplements, including capsules, liquids, and powders.
Vitamin B12 Dosage: You’re taking a vitamin B12 supplement to get your maximum dose of vitamin B12. We emphasized supplements with higher doses of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means excess amounts will be flushed out of your body (through urine). Even at doses of 20,000% of your recommended daily value, vitamin B12 is generally recognized as safe.
Other Active Ingredients: Most vitamin B12 supplements above only included vitamin B12. Some, however, included additional complementary ingredients – like other B vitamins. We focused mostly on supplements containing vitamin B12, although we analyzed other supplements as well.
Advertised Claims: Some supplement makers go too far with their health claims. They claim their supplements can boost brain power and supercharge your energy, for example. It’s technically illegal for supplement makers to make health claims like this. We emphasized vitamin B12 supplements that made reasonable health claims.
Other Inactive Ingredients: Some supplement makers package their gummies or capsules with cheap inactive ingredients – like gelatin capsules or rice flour. Others emphasize high-quality vegetable cellulose capsules. We emphasized vitamin B12 supplements with minimal amounts of fillers, binders, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and other inactive compounds.
Manufacturer Reputation: You can find hundreds of supplement makers on Amazon. Many of them, unfortunately, are low-quality companies that emerge exclusively to target trendy supplement niches. We analyzed the reputation of each manufacturer to verify they were legitimate, high-quality companies with a proven track record.
Who Should Take a Vitamin B12 Supplement?
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the function of your central nervous system and your cardiovascular system. Despite its importance, many people struggle to get sufficient vitamin B12 in their diet – especially those with dietary restrictions.
The most common food sources of vitamin B12 include beef, eggs, chicken, and dairy.
If you’re not getting vitamin B12 from food sources, then you may need to take a supplement or fortified food.
That’s why vegans and vegetarians, for example, often struggle to get adequate daily intake of vitamin B12. In fact, according to the Vegan Society, there are zero vegan-friendly sources of vitamin B12: you can only get it though fortified foods or supplements.
Those following a keto diet can also struggle to get enough vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also affect pregnant and nursing women. The pregnant and nursing body uses more vitamin B12, and vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the development of the fetus. It’s also crucial for infants and children. That’s why vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient in many prenatal vitamins and multivitamins for kids.
Additionally, some people who have had weight loss surgery may wish to take a vitamin B12 supplement. People who have had bariatric surgeries (like a band or gastric bypass) appear to have a reduced ability to absorb and process vitamin B12 after surgery – even if they’re eating beef, eggs, chicken, and dairy. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a major issue among those who have undergone weight loss surgery. One report published in Nutrition in 2010 specifically recommended blood monitoring and vitamin B12 supplement for patients who have had weight loss surgery.
Finally, older adults may wish to take a vitamin B12 supplement to reduce the rate of cognitive decline. Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common among the elderly, and it can be linked to declining cognitive function.
Benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a necessary vitamin for several crucial bodily functions. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, a pregnant woman may have complications with her pregnancy, a child or infant may fail to develop a fully functioning nervous system, or an older adult may experience faster rates of cognitive decline.
Researchers in this study described how vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with problems like weakness, dizziness, pale skin, and constipation, for example.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is also one of the leading causes of anemia, a condition that causes the supply of red blood cells to your muscles to drop. This can lead to weakness, fatigue, and poor athletic performance.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common than you think. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 1 in 5 adults have “marginal” B12 levels, which means they’re right on the limit of the recommended amount of vitamin B12 to take per day. An estimated 6% of adults are fully vitamin B12 deficient. In other words, approximately one quarter of the population is either vitamin B12 deficient or at risk or vitamin B12 deficiency.
There’s a good reason why vitamin B12 deficiency is a problem: researchers found that low vitamin B12 levels are linked to a number of different health issues at all ages.
In older adults, for example, low vitamin B12 levels can be linked to the development of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
This study published in 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology, for example, tested the blood levels of patients who had been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected cases of Alzheimer’s disease, then compared the results to healthy control subjects of around the same age. Researchers found that having low levels of vitamin B12 was associated with a 4.5 times higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, vitamin B12 does not appear to reverse cognitive decline once it has begun. That’s why there continues to be no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In 2008, researchers gave a vitamin B12 supplement to older adults who had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After 18 months, the authors found no difference between the group that received a vitamin B12 supplement and the group that received a placebo. This research emphasized the importance of taking a vitamin B12 supplement before cognitive decline has begun.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is also linked to other neurological conditions. This study by researchers in the Netherlands, for example, showed that low vitamin B12 levels were linked with clinical depression. Researchers analyzed populations to determine if there was any link between vitamin B12 and clinical depression. They found that people with depression had significantly lower levels of vitamin B12.
Many people take a vitamin B12 supplement to maintain cardiovascular health. Research backs up this idea. This study published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation, for example, found that B vitamins – including vitamin B12 – gave people a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. Researchers tracked thousands of people over a three year period.
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in prenatal vitamins and children’s multivitamins – similar to folate.
The World Health Organization reports that vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of neural tube defects, a serious birth defect. There’s some evidence that vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with other birth defects as well, but more research needs to be done to confirm these effects.
Vitamin B12 is important after birth as well. Children who are deficient in vitamin B12 may experience developmental delays. Many of these children will never fully recover from these delays. Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to poorer test results and learning ability in children, for example, and reduced nervous system development.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is clearly a problem for certain groups. But can a vitamin B12 supplement really help? Does taking a vitamin B12 supplement really reverse the effects of years of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Research has indicated that – yes, you may be able to quickly alleviate symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency by taking a vitamin B12 supplement.
This study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, analyzed the effects of vitamin B12 supplementation on a group of patients suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency. Patients showed a rapid blood response after taking a vitamin B12 supplement. The full benefits of the supplement, meanwhile, took about six months to take effect throughout the entire body. In other words, even after years of vitamin B12 deficiency, you may be able to reduce these effects with supplementation.
Side Effects of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is generally recognized as safe, and few side effects have been reported in vitamin B12 studies – even at higher doses and for prolonged periods of time.
However, researchers at Ohio State University found that men taking high doses of vitamin B12 for long periods of time were 2 to 4 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men taking lower doses of vitamin B12.
For this reason, you may want to be extra cautious taking a vitamin B12 supplement if you are a smoker.
Generally, it’s believed that the benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation outweigh the risks. However, you should always talk to your doctor before taking vitamin B12 supplement or any other supplement.
Recommended Dose of Vitamin B12
There have been thousands of clinical trials on vitamin B12 supplementation, making it easy for us to identify the ideal dose of vitamin B12.
This study published in the Journal of the American Medical Academy Internal Medicine, for example, tested doses of 2.5 to 1000mcg per day of vitamin B12 over a several week period to determine which dose most effectively raised vitamin B12 levels.
Researchers found that doses of 500 to 1000mcg elicited the highest and fastest response. If you are deficient in vitamin B12 and want to reverse that condition, then a dose of 500 to 1000mcg may be ideal.
After a few months of taking a vitamin B12 dose of 500 to 1000mcg, you may want to reduce the dose to maintain your levels.
The National Institutes of Health has also outlined recommended vitamin B12 doses based on age:
- Birth to 6 Months: 0.4mcg
- Infants 7 to 12 Months: 0.5mcg
- Children 1-3 Years: 0.9 mcg
- Children 4 to 6 Years: 1.2mcg
- Children 9 to 13 Years: 1.8mcg
- Teens 14 to 18 Years: 2.4mcg
- Adults: 2.4mcg
- Pregnant Teens and Women: 2.6mcg
- Breastfeeding Teens and Women: 2.8mcg
As with any supplement, talk to your doctor before taking a vitamin B12 supplement at any dose.
FAQs About Vitamin B12
Q: Which foods are rich in vitamin B12?
A: There are surprisingly few foods naturally rich in vitamin B12. Most of us get sufficient vitamin B12 from beef, salmon, milk, cheese, and eggs. Many fish, cheese, and dairy products also contain vitamin B12.
Q: Can I get vitamin B12 from cereal?
A: Most cereal does not naturally contain vitamin B12. However, cereal makers may fortify their cereals with vitamin B12, making it easier for children, vegetarians, and vegans to access their recommended daily value.
Q: What’s the best vegan source of vitamin B12?
A: There are no natural vegan sources of vitamin B12. It’s recommended that vegans get vitamin B12 from fortified foods or supplements.
Q: Is vitamin B12 safe?
A: Vitamin B12 is generally recognized as safe, and few side effects have ever been reported. The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has confirmed that no significant side effects are linked with ordinary intake of vitamin B12.
Q: Which types of vitamin B12 supplements are available?
A: A range of vitamin B12 supplements are available, including sublingual liquids (that dissolve under the tongue), capsules, tablets, or even nasal gels. Many multivitamins – including prenatal multivitamins – also contain vitamin B12.
Q: Is vitamin B12 deficiency rare?
A: Approximately 6% of adults are vitamin B12 deficient, although an additional 20% of adults are on the borderline of deficiency. Certain groups – like vegans, vegetarians, keto dieters, and older adults – are more likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.
Q: What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin B12?
A: Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with a range of health issues, including tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, nerve problems, and more. It’s also associated with cognitive issues, including an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and depression. In infants and children, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to developmental issues.
Q: Can vitamin B12 reduce my risk of disease?
A: Certain studies have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to an increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and nerve issues. However, vitamin B12 supplement makers are forbidden from advertising their supplements as being beneficial for reducing the risk of disease or illness.
Q: Why do vitamin B12 supplements use cobalamin?
A: Many of the vitamin B12 supplements listed above use cobalamin. Cobalamin is just another word for vitamin B12, and the two terms are interchangeable. The term ‘cobalamin’ refers to the fact that vitamin B12 has an ion of cobalt at its core. This is similar to the naming pattern of other B vitamins: vitamin B9, for example, is often called folate.
Q: What does vitamin B12 do during pregnancy and nursing?
A: Many prenatal multivitamins contain vitamin B12. Most health authorities recommend that women who are nursing and pregnant consume more vitamin B12 than other adults. Vitamin B12 deficiency in pregnant women can reduce the risk of birth defects, and research has specifically linked vitamin B12 deficiency to neural tube defects (NTDs). Other research has linked vitamin B12 deficiency in breastfeeding infants to improper development of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.
Q: Why do people inject vitamin B12?
A: Some people take vitamin B12 injections. Vitamin B12 injections are for people with a poor natural ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food supplements, or for those who cannot otherwise take a vitamin B12 supplement. Certain genetic conditions can prevent your body from absorbing vitamin B12, for example. Today, however, many sports teams use vitamin B12 injections to mask steroid injections or PEDs.
Q: Which vegetables contain the most vitamin B12?
A: No vegetables contain any vitamin B12. There are no plant-based sources of vitamin B12, which is why vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Q: How will I know that I’m vitamin B12 deficient?
A: Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with a number of symptoms, not all of which are easily observable. Many people feel tingling, pins and needles, fatigue, or tiredness, for example. Others develop pale skin. Some experience cognitive issues, including depression, mood changes, forgetfulness, or general cognitive ‘fuzziness’ or mental fog.
Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient that plays an important role throughout multiple body systems. It is particularly important for women who are nursing and pregnant, and it is also crucial for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who doesn’t get enough vitamin B12 from their ordinary diet. Because vitamin B12 only comes from animal-based sources, certain diets can restrict vitamin B12 intake.
Consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement to ensure you avoid vitamin B12 deficiency.