Being vitamin B12 deficient can severely impact your health. That is why it’s important to know what are your options when it comes to supplementing.
This article will guide you through the factors you should look at when choosing a B12 supplement, and will point out the groups of people that are at higher risk of being vitamin B12 deficient than others.
Let’s get started!
Keep in mind that being diagnosed with B12 deficiency is crucial before starting supplementation. That being said, self-diagnosing and supplementing any vitamin and mineral without medical advice or prescription can pose additional risks to your health and wellbeing. Therefore, before reaching to supplements, consult your health condition with your healthcare provider or dietitian.
Table of Contents
Who should supplement with B12?
There are several groups of people who are predisposed to B12 deficiency and should consider supplementing (with the advice of health professional)  :
- Individuals following strict vegan or vegetarian eating regime.
- Pregnant women
- People over 50 years old
- People who drink a lot of alcoholic beverages.
- Individuals suffering from gastrointestinal diseases (e.g., IBD).
- HIV patients
- People with removed stomach or intestine part
- Autoimmune diseases
How to choose a B12 supplement?
There are 2 types of vitamin B12 available on the market :
- Methylcobalamin. This is the type of B12 that is naturally found in foods. That being said, the body is likely to “accept” this type of vitamin right away.
- Cyanocobalamin. This is the synthetic version of B12. In the body, it is converted in Methylcobalamin and then is absorbed. Because of this conversion, it takes a longer time to absorb cyanocobalamin than Methylcobalamin.
You can find B12 in 3 forms:
- Liquid (drops with a pipette)
- Pills (for ingesting)
- Lozenges (for sublingual usage)
According to various research and study sources, there is no difference in the effect of B12 supplements. So, you can choose whichever form suits you the most!
The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for all healthy individuals over the age of 14, except pregnant (2.6mcg) and breastfeeding women (2.8 mcg). 
In terms of supplements, age, level of deficiency, and specific overall health condition should be taken into account. Below, you will find some of the most common doses of B12 that are available on the market:
- Prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency in risk groups
- Vegans (long term)
- Vegetarians (long term)
- People who eat limited amounts of meat and dairy foods 
- People who experience slight B12 deficiency symptoms
- People above the age of 50
- Individuals suffering from B12 anemia or gastrointestinal problems
- People experiencing moderate-to-intense B12 deficiency symptoms
- · Individuals experiencing severe symptoms of B12 deficiency
It is essential to seek doctor’s advice: do not self-diagnose and do not start any treatment or supplementation without a consultation with a healthcare provider.
Alone or in complex?
B12 can be found as an ingredient in most B-Complex vitamin products. However, if you aim to boost your cobalamin blood levels, taking B-complex might not be the best option to consider. The reason for this is the fact that the multivitamin tablets often contain a very tiny dose of vitamin B12 (read the RDA on the product label). So if you are deficient, it might take a lot of time to “fill in” the depleted amounts of the vitamin in the body.
The good thing about B-complex is that it contains Folate (B9), which can stimulate the absorption of vitamin B12 in the body. That being said, folate is also available in as a supplement, and can be purchased in different dosing options.
Another compound, which stimulates cobalamin digestion is Vitamin D.
By combining vitamins B9, B12, and D, you can make powerful complex to fight the cobalamin deficiency symptoms.
What are vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms?
According to the NHS, the general deficiency symptoms of B12 may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Heart palpitations
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Low appetite and significant weight loss
As the symptoms may vary in every individual, it’s recommendable to visit a medical professional in order to get early diagnosis.