Finding the Best Vegan Vitamin B12 Supplement

Finding the Best Vegan Vitamin B12 Supplement

By |2017-11-27T23:11:46+00:00February 6th, 2015|Tags: , |175 Comments

vitamin B12As you might imagine, I get into a lot of discussions about vitamin B12 on facebook and twitter, and also via email. Vegans have many good questions about this nutrient. And sometimes some not-so-good opinions about it.

This past year I found myself chatting with the editor of a vegan publication who insisted that my perspective on B12 supplements was outdated. She was convinced that supplements were unnecessary and knew this because of what she had learned on a holistic health cruise.

Okay, well I’ve never been on a holistic health cruise. And I have no doubt that some are better than others. It’s just that, when it comes to vacations, I lean more toward Yellowstone National Park or maybe poking around antique stores along the Maine coast. Whether or not those are the better choices, at least they aren’t sources of dangerous nutrition misinformation. And the idea that vegans don’t need to supplement with vitamin B12 is just that.

I don’t claim to know everything in the world about optimal nutrition for vegans. Nobody does. But based on the available evidence, I do know that—right now—the only responsible advice is for vegans to supplement with this nutrient. Current recommendations are for vegans to supplement with cyanocobalamin in one of the following three ways:

2.5 mcg two times per day

25-100 mcg daily

1,000 mcg two times per week

When I share this information on social media and elsewhere, people often want to know what brand of supplement I take and what brands I suggest. I’m currently taking a Safeway brand of vitamin B12 providing 1,000 mcg. I take it twice per week. It’s cheap and readily available. But when I started to dig around on the internet to find a few other brands to recommend, it turned out to be much more difficult than I expected.

I was looking for supplements that are vegan (which means no animal-derived fillers; the B12 itself is always vegan) and that provided cyanocobalamin. I also wanted one that doesn’t provide other nutrients.

Of the vegan supplements I found, most contained methylcobalamin, not cyano. And a few that contained cyanocobalamin provided a hefty dose of folic acid which may or may not be a problem.

Although there is some evidence that folic acid supplements could raise risk for cancer, the studies on this are conflicting. Still, it makes sense for vegans to err on the side of caution where these supplements are concerned. Our diets can provide plenty of folate (the natural form of the vitamin) and so we shouldn’t need to supplement with it. (The exceptions are pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant; they should take folic acid supplements.)

Many of the cyanocobalamin supplements seemed to be vegan, but it wasn’t always entirely clear that this was so. Almost all included stearate or magnesium stearate, ingredients that may or may not be vegan. Some brands, like mine from Safeway, specify “vegetable magnesium stearate,” but most simply don’t say.

Many readers of this blog are not concerned about these minute filler ingredients in which case any of the supplements below should be fine. But I’m providing the information about these ingredients for those who prefer to know.

With all of that in mind, here is a list of vitamin B12 supplements that provide cyanocobalamin with no additional nutrients.

These three brands appear to be vegan:

Spring Valley

Nature’s Bounty

Safeway Brand


These brands contain either stearate or magnesium stearate of undisclosed origin:

Nature Made

Twin Labs B12 dots


Source Naturals


If you know of other supplements to add to these lists, please share them below in the comments.


  1. Priscilla February 6, 2015 at 11:51 am - Reply

    I use Sundown Naturals sublingual B Complex (liquid drops). The bottle states it is a “vegetarian formula”. It provides 1200 mcg B-12 (as Cyanocobalamin). I buy it on Amazon but I have also seen it in some Food Lion stores.

    • Ginny Messina February 6, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

      Okay, I’ll look into this one. It sounds like the one you are taking provides a number of different B vitamins–is that right? But it looks like they have a line that includes several different B12 options.

      • Priscilla February 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

        The Sundown Naturals B-complex with B-12 has (per 1 mL serving):
        –Vitamin B-2 (as riboflavin 5′-sodium phosphate): 1.7 mg
        –Niacin (as Niacinamide): 20 mg
        –Vitamin B-6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride): 2 mg
        –Vitamin B-12 (as Cyanocobalamin): 1200 mcg
        –Pantothenic Acid (as Dexpanthenol): 30 mg

        • Andrea March 6, 2015 at 5:48 am - Reply

          Hello i have found sundown B-Complex in tablets, it has 6mcg, according to the dosage should i split the tablets I can take 3mcg twice a day?
          Or should I go 5 tablets once a day so i take 30mcg daily? I’m confused!

      • Samantha August 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

        I’ve read that methylcobalamin b12 supplements are better for you than cyanocobalamin b 12 supplements. What is your opinion on the matter?

        • Ginny Messina August 22, 2015 at 12:26 pm - Reply

          Samantha, this article explains why I recommend cyanocobalamin.

          • Michelle January 26, 2017 at 1:54 pm


            What do you think about nutritional yeast, as far as most of the nutritional yeast marketed to vegans has lots of synthetic B vitamins (other than B12) added to it. And just a spoonful of the stuff gives you well over 100 – 200 percent of the niacin, B6, thiamin, and some other types of B’s. This might be a bad thing, right? I know for certain that the brands most vegans are buying are of the fortified version. This really seems like a reason to pause and reflect on this issue, for all of us. Thoughts?

      • Michelle September 7, 2015 at 6:47 am - Reply


        The B12 I want to take contains folic acid and vitamin B6 along with the B12.

        “Megafoods B12” is the supplement. What are your thoughts on the safety of taking synthetic folate (folic acid) as well as synthetic B6? Some science has claimed the folic acid supplements are harmful, and causative of disease. Thanks for any thoughts on this.

  2. Jim February 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    What lead you to choose cyanocobalamin vs methylcobalamin? Doesn’t ingesting cyanocobalamin introduce cyanide into your body?

    • Ginny Messina February 6, 2015 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      There is evidence that the methyl version may be less stable so that huge doses are required. And it just hasn’t been studied as well as cyanocobalamin. The cyano form does provide some cyanide but it’s a very tiny amount.

      • Cristina February 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm - Reply

        I’m curious! Can you provide the peer reviewed study? I have studied bioinorganic chemistry, and from what I understand B12’s purpose is to transfer methyl groups, so buy ingesting the form without the cyanide group, I’d think it’d be more efficient?

      • michelle January 4, 2017 at 12:19 pm - Reply


        Do you have any thoughts on the safety and merits of also supplementing with other B vitamins, not just B12? And how about a broad-based multivitamin. Some people suggest these are not safe, as synthetic vitamins are toxic and not natural to human cells. Any thoughts?

        • Ginny Messina January 13, 2017 at 5:58 am - Reply

          Vegans aren’t likely to need supplements of any other B vitamins. But many vegans (and meat-eaters) do need supplements of vitamin D. It also might be beneficial to take supplements of omega-3 fats. And no, they aren’t toxic. (They’re not synthetic, either!)

          • michelle January 13, 2017 at 8:02 am

            Thank you,Ginny. And one last thing…how about supplementing DHA by using a blend of oils such as in a supplement like Udo’s oil? It combines vegan DHA with flax oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and some other plant based oils for a complete combination of 3 -6 -9 oils. I am not plugging this brand, as their are several other just as veritable and quality brands out there. I’d just like your thoughts on taking these fats, as oils are often extracted from whole plant foods, where we should be getting our fats in the first place, right?

            Thanks for any thoughts on this.

          • Ginny Messina January 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

            I don’t think you need these specialized oil combinations. As long as you’re taking a DHA supplement and getting some omega-3 from plants like flax seed or canola oil and then getting the rest of your fat from healthy foods like nuts and vegetable oils, you don’t need any special blends.

    • Angie June 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      just watched this video by a doctor who has researched B12 ,which totally contradicts your claim about cyanocobalamin, in fact says it is simply the cheapest to manufacture, is very bad for us and should be totally avoided

      • Ginny Messina June 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm - Reply

        He also believes in detox diets. I wouldn’t take his opinions too seriously. And I wouldn’t look to chiropractors for advice on nutrition.

  3. Aaron February 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I use Whole Foods brand Vitamin B12. It’s 500mcg as cyanocobalamin (no folate or other micronutrients).

    • Bobbi February 7, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      I use Whole Foods brand also.

    • David Sonenb February 10, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      Whole foods brand has stearate.

  4. Casey February 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    I use the target brand one right now.

  5. Melissa February 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Alicia Silverstone has partnered with Garden of Life to produce a line of vegan supplements. Among them is a spray b-12. I thought you might like to know 🙂

    • Ginny Messina February 7, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

      I had looked at these, and they all seem to be methylcobalamin.

  6. Alison February 6, 2015 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    I’m in Australia, and we have a brand called Nature’s Own, which do a few different B12-alone formulations at different strengths (1000, 250), all cyanocobalamin and with no added ‘yeast, gluten, lactose, sugar, artificial colours or flavours, artificial sweeteners or preservatives, dairy products or animal derived products’ (quoting the label)

    • Renée February 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      I also take Nature’s Own, blend it into our homemade milk, equivalent to what’s in commercial fortified milk. I emailed the Nature’s Own a while back to be pedantic, they said it’s suitable for vegans. Seems to be in most Australian supermarkets and chemists.

      I did the Cornell/T Colin Campbell Foundation plant-based nutrition course – a staff member recommended Jarrow methyl supplements (sublingual/chewable) if people were concerned about B12 (pregnancy, long-term vegan, other reason to suspect low levels), otherwise take no supplements (possibly this is what is recommended on “holistic health” cruises as well?). I’ve been taking both supplements recently… Food and yeast is generally fortified with cyano, yes? So I’m taking in that as well… I’m debating whether to ditch the methyl due to higher cost/lesser shelf life… or whether to ditch the cyano and eat more nutritional yeast/fortified snacks… although the tasty methyls are popular with my kids… Will probably just keep doing what I’m doing… assuming that’s not too much… B-12 is water-soluble so it’s ok to get a bit extra, yes? Especially since methyl could be less reliable… Haven’t got my latest blood tests back yet…

  7. Andrea February 7, 2015 at 3:31 am - Reply

    I use Kind Organics B12, which is also fortified with some omegas.

    • Ginny Messina February 7, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Thanks for this info–this is methylcobalamin, though, not cyano.

  8. Denise February 7, 2015 at 4:07 am - Reply

    Pharmassure B-12 says vegetarian on the bottle. It has 500 mcg of cyano.

  9. Erin February 7, 2015 at 5:05 am - Reply

    Hmmmm… “Vegan for Life” (Chapt 3, “Vitamin B12: The Gorilla in the Room”, section “Meeting Vitamin B12 Needs” – location 750 in the Kindle version) says I need to take 1,000 mcg of B12 three times per week as a regular supplementation dose. I’m confused… is the 1000 mcg 2x/week in this post an updated recommendation…? Or was 3x/week a typo…?

    • Ginny Messina February 7, 2015 at 10:32 am - Reply

      I think the Vegan for Life rec was a typo or just a mistake since Jack and I both recommend 2x per week. But really, 2-3 times per week is reasonable.

  10. Jaya February 7, 2015 at 8:06 am - Reply

    I use Deva which I buy on Amazon or It’s methyl though.

  11. Matt February 7, 2015 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Wait — cruises aren’t the ultimate source of scientific knowledge???

  12. Eve-Marie Williams February 7, 2015 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I am taking Dr. Fuhrman’s daily multivitamin for women, which includes 40mcg B12 as methylcobalamin. I am not taking any additional B12 supplement. Now I am confused because I trusted Dr. Fuhrman to provide everything I needed in his multi, and to provide a product that stays on top of the most current research – do you think I need to switch to cyanocobalamin?

    • Ginny Messina February 7, 2015 at 10:34 am - Reply

      I think you need to switch to either cyanocobalamin or take a much bigger dose of methyl–probably around 1,000 per day, although it’s not really known how much is enough.

  13. Annemarie February 7, 2015 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Favourite is LifeGive B-12 Forte from the Hippocrates Health Institute. If you’ve ever heard Brian Clement speak you know how strongly he recommends B12 for everyone not just vegans. My second preference is Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw B-12.

  14. David February 7, 2015 at 8:37 am - Reply

    I also use Whole Foods brand vitamin B12 500 mcg in a sublingual/chewable tablet with 100 tablets per bottle at ~$6-7 a bottle (have to get chewable since my partner can’t swallow pills very well). It does have magnesium stearate but the bottle indicates the supplement is vegetarian.

  15. Natasha Sankovitch February 7, 2015 at 9:32 am - Reply

    I’ve been reading about the difference between cyanocobalamin B12 and the methylcobalamin B12, and I choose methylcobalamin, I used Kirkland’s B12 (Costco’s brand).

    • Barb February 9, 2015 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      Me Too!

    • Kian Qmehr May 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Is kirkland b12 vegan? I had some in my cabinet before i went vegan, is there any animal ingredients in it?

  16. Amy February 7, 2015 at 9:44 am - Reply

    This blog is excellent – reasoned, practical and extremely well written. Though I am not yet vegan, I am working toward that, and I am so glad I have this information as a reference.

    My concern about any supplements was given a bit of credence by this recent article in the New York Times about herbal supplements that were not to be trusted. I always wonder about the supplements I take, such as vitamin D, and hope the companies are honest ones.

    • Ginny Messina February 7, 2015 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Yes, I’m concerned about that, too. I think it’s less likely to be a problem with something like B12 than with herbal extracts, but it’s true that it’s hard to know what you’re getting with supplements. One thing you can do is look for those that carry a USP logo on them which shows that they have been verified to contain what they say they contain.

      • Monica June 21, 2016 at 6:48 am - Reply

        USP does not mean it contains what it says its contains. USP verified means the quality of the production is held to a certain standard

  17. Richard February 7, 2015 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I’m a little hesitant to go with Spring Valley (Walmart’s brand) after the recent scandal involving Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc., allegedly selling fraudulent supplements:

    Right now I take a Nature Made 1,000 mcg tablet every day. I know that’s more than the recommendation states, but I do it in the hopes of mitigating my chronic fatigue syndrome, even if only by a little bit. (I know that the Nature Made line may not be vegan; I just can’t afford to go with all-vegan supplements right now. My actual diet is vegan.)

    Is it true that you shouldn’t take B12 in tablet form if it’s not chewable or dissolvable? I’ve heard some people say that, while others say that you’re okay so long as your tablet contains cyanocobalamin in the amounts you list in this blog post.

    • Ginny Messina February 7, 2015 at 10:40 am - Reply

      I’m less concerned about their nutrient supplements than the herbal ones, but I agree that it’s a legitimate concern. I don’t think your supplement absolutely has to be chewable or dissolvable, but it could help you absorb the nutrients in the pill. In your case, it makes sense to choose one that you can chew (or that dissolves).

  18. alejandra February 7, 2015 at 10:36 am - Reply

    what about intramuscuar? which is the dose??

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Alejandra, I don’t know what the dose is for intramuscular injections. It depends to some degree on the situation and is actually a medical issue rather than a nutritional one. So your doctor would know more about this.

  19. Dan February 7, 2015 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Thanks for this article, it’s very timely for me as I just picked up a B12 supplement again the other day, after being without for quite a few months.

    I picked up a brand from Bellingham Community Co-op which seems to be their own brand. I was a little confused by the options in store, so I’m pleased to see this one meets all your recommendations!

    This one has 1,000mcg cyanocobalamin, and lists the magnesium stearate as being from vegetable source. In fact it even specifically labels the bottle as being suitable for vegans.

    I had been curious about the dosing, as the dosage recommendations on the bottle are one a day, which seemed excessive for 1,000mcg. Having read this post my bottle will now last >3 times as long!

  20. Gary Safron February 7, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    i take NOW 1000 B 12 mcg supplements. NOW is a local Chicago company with extremely high quality control standards and have been in business 40 years. They recommend to take 1x per day but I only take twice a week. It says. Vegan on the bottle.

    The cost is very reasonable as 250 lozenges cost $11.00.

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Gary, I did check out NOW supplements because I know this is a good vegan brand. But I couldn’t find anything that met my criteria. The one with cyanocobalmin also had folic acid. And the other was methylcobalamin. Did you find something different from this?

  21. george jacobs February 7, 2015 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Here’s a list of B12 with cyano:

  22. Lani February 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    I was told that you could take 2500 mg sl once a week. I have been doing that for awhile now and blood levels have been ok. Is this not appropriate? What if blood levels go higher than norm? Is that a problem?

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      No, it’s not really a problem if blood levels go higher than normal–although it can be a sign that you can back off a little bit on supplements. It sounds like what you’re doing is working for you!

  23. Raisa Jari February 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    I have been going by your Becoming Vegan book and use B12 fortified nutritional yeast every day (2 T in the morning). I also drink a couple of cups of fortified soy milk in the evening. Is this not enough? Should I be switching?

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Raisa, what you are doing is actually the same as my first recommendation–to consume 2 doses of B12 per day providing 2.5 mcg per dose. So I think what you are doing is fine.

      • Brenda February 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

        Is the Sundown Naturals Sublingual B-12 6000 Mcg Tablets, 60 Count good?

  24. Steph February 7, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Question regarding children, ages 9 and 10:

    Because I can’t find a very low mcg B12 for the recommended daily dose, I’ve been giving my sons 750 mcg of cyanocobalamin (Whole Foods brand) twice a week. I am wondering, is there no concern about cyanide for children at these doses?

    I can split the 500 mcg tablets into fourths with a pill cutter and just give it to them every day, but that would be 125 mcg, above the recommended daily dose, which is 20-75 for their age group, according to Jack Norris…I don’t think I can split them smaller than that. Would that be better? 700 mcg per week vs. 1500, but more per day than recommended.

    Just to complicate things, the newly vegan son eats some B12 fortified foods, and the younger, who is not a vegan, eats a hamburger a week, though no other amimal foods (picky eater).

    Thank you for any insight. Sorry for the novel.

    • Stephanie February 9, 2015 at 7:41 am - Reply

      On thought, I’m going with the split pills, daily dose.

      I wish someone would make a plain, chewable B12 at lower doses!

      Thank you for the great blog and books!

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      I think what you’re doing right now is fine. You are on target with the dose, and it’s an amount that is providing only the tiniest amounts of cyanide. And even with a few servings per week of fortified foods or animal foods, I’d stick with your current approach.

      • Steph February 9, 2015 at 12:40 pm - Reply

        Thank you!

  25. Radha Sahar February 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your wonderful service through this blog, Ginny. I really appreciate your knowledge and generosity to share it.

    We are vegan, supplement each day, and get a free blood test each 6 months to monitor our B12 levels, which seem to be OK. But a friend, who is on a mainstream, diet including meat (and too much alcohol), is regularly deficient in B12 despite his blood level reading normal!!!(according to his doctor, who prescribes intravenous shots every so often to keep him on track … is that the alcohol?) Rather puzzling! To add to my confusion, naturopaths here in New Zealand claim that methyl is better absorbed by the body. One friend had been taking cyno for years, was suffering from extreme exhaustion and was alarmed to be diagnosed with pernicious anemia. She switched to methyl and has regained a good level. Could it be that people vary as to what type of B12 they absorb? If so, the issue is not so clear. And if blood levels can also be counted on only to some extent, it is extremely confusing! The natural questions to then ask, are (1) what is the safe B12 dosage limit? – (so we can take a bit more, or some of each form, to ‘cover’ us if we are tired etc), and (2) to what extent does B12 need it’s other B vitamin components in order to be well absorbed? And if we need more of the B vit group, what components are most important, and safe to supplement with? I don’t like taking supplements of any kind, and only take B12, an occasional Vegan DHA/EPA, and some Vit D towards the end of winter. I tell all people interested in vegan diet that they must take B12 – and give them a link to your blog of course!

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Yes, alcohol can definitely affect B12 levels. I don’t know why your friend would do better with the methylcobalamin than cyano, though. There are all kinds of possibilities, including different dosages or even the quality of the supplements.

      As for the highest amount to take, there is no good info on that and excess B12 is generally excreted from the body. But I wouldn’t go crazy with it and would try just a little bit above my recommendations if you feel that you need it.

      • Radha Sahar February 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm - Reply

        Thank you Ginny. Good advice. I might alternate the methyl (Source Naturals 1 mg daily), with cyno for a change. Your advice on cyno is new to me, and I know this is the standard form prescribed by doctors. It is only naturopaths who are currently recommending methyl. Considering most of them here recommend people eat plenty of raw cows milk, butter, coconut oil, and avoid all soy, as if it were poison, and grains are also ‘bad’ I’ve serious reservations about where they’re coming from. Their ‘methyl’ might be yet another ‘health-fashion trend’. I feel healthy, am monitoring well, and my levels are ‘good’, but I would like to learn more as to why cyno is better, as this is of crucial importance to vegans, as you say! – any links? Thanks again, Radha

  26. Miriam February 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    I use Solgar, 1000 micrograms, cyanocobalamin–250-Nuggets–sublingual_p_705.html

    Thanks for your excellent blog

  27. Brandon Becker February 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Nature Made told me via email in 2012 that their B12 in tablet form contains no animal-derived ingredients. So unless something has changed in the formula since then, it should still be vegan.

    I currently take Solgar’s B12 1000 mcg nuggets 1-2 times per week:

    They are vegan, taste good, come in a glass bottle, and aren’t expensive.

  28. compostbrain February 7, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    I have been a vegan since 1992 and have never taken a b12 supplement. I recently had my b12 tested and it was normal. I believe this may be because I regularly ingest nutritional yeast. What is your view on this as an alternative to b12 supplementation?

    • Ginny Messina February 9, 2015 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      If it’s nutritional yeast that is grown on a B12-rich medium, then I think it’s a good way to get B12.

    • rk1967 February 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Hi, many people say their b12 level is normal, but never post the results. I have seen the normal range listed from 250-900. I was tested at 700-900 during my recent tests. Just curious what others consider normal. Thanks

      • Randi November 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm - Reply

        I just had my levels checked due to “not feeling myself” and having muscle spasms and other motor function issues. My level after a 12 hr fast was 268. My doctor said it was way low and to get some B12 complex vitamins. He did not recommend cyno, methy, adenosy, or hydroxo …. This is what brought me here, research!

  29. risa m. mandell February 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    thanks for your article re B12! i use MegaFood Balanced B Complex (; it’s label shows, Certified Vegan the Supplement Facts show Vitamin B12, 25mg S. cerevisiae 125mcg and if i’m understanding correctly, that’s 2083% of the Daily Value. i take 1/2 tablet 2-3x/wk.

  30. Melody February 8, 2015 at 9:31 am - Reply

    I’ve been taking NOW B12 (cyanocobalamin) 1000 mcg twice a week for quite some time. I’ve been vegan for many years. I was recently diagnosed with B12 deficiency in spite of this. My B12 level was normal, but I had an elevated methylmalonic acid. I’ve had no symptoms of B12 deficiency. I was told by MD to increase to 1000 mcg daily and will be re-tested after 6 months.

  31. edo February 9, 2015 at 4:33 am - Reply

    I some time back read the Vegan Health text ( ) on different forms of B12 and have since then hedged my bets. I take 1,000 mcg cyano twice a week and 1,000 mcg methylcobalamin once a week. But that text also mentions a third form adenosylcobalamin, which I’ve never seen in listed in a product. Do you have any comment on that third form of B12 Ginny?

  32. L C February 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I’ve been trying to find a brand that is effective and safe for my 2-year-old daughter. I would prefer not to give her a multi-vitamin chewable, but all the b12 sprays (which are mostly methyl anyway) I can find say “not intended for children” on them. As a nutritionist, Ginny, what is your take?

    My daughter currently drinks enough fortified soy milk every day to be ingesting about 100% of the adult intake recommendation, but I am hoping to decrease her intake of that soon (it’s got more added sugar than I’d like). The two nutrients it provides that I can’t seem to find good replacements for are b12 and iodine. She already takes a chewable D supplement, and other than that her diet should be giving her what she needs. Your advice would be so much appreciated!

  33. Andy February 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Ginny
    Thanks for this information. I’m taking 1 a day of Veganicity 100 B12 Cyan. It states vegan on the label…

  34. Lois February 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Ginny, all my vegan vitamins and supplements are from Deva (on Amazon). Just confirmed the B12 is methyl with 400 mg folic acid. I take one every 3 days. Am also getting another 400 mg folic in their daily multi. Is that too much and do I need to switch to a cyano B12?

  35. Jada February 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I take Vitamin World’s B12 it’s sublingual,5000MCG, is that too much? My son(13 yrs. old) and I take it once a week.

  36. Jordan February 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    I was under the impression that methylcobalamin was the best form of Vitamin B-12 to take. Why is cyanocobalamin superior?

    • pgyx February 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      I, too, am under the impression that methylcobalamin is a more usable form than cyanocobalamin. I take it only intermittently (working on doing it regularly) and my serum B12 level was ~700. I use Source Naturals and now Joel Furhman’s prenatal vitamin which has folate instead of folic acid.

  37. February 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    What do you think about Pure Advantage B12 500mcg Methylcobalamin Vegan Certified? It’s not on your list 🙂 I’m taking one year, and it cool

  38. Prema February 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I buy SOLAR sublingual B12 100mcg. It just says cobalamin but does not specify methyl or cyan. it does mention vegetable magnesium stearate. I do believe it is all vegetarian. I did ask for vegetarian source at the health food store. I just started taking B12 after reading about its importance. I have been vegetarian (no vegan, I eat some dairy occasional organic eggs, but not daily). I have been following this diet for 42 years.

  39. Glenn February 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    I live in Canada and found a cyanocobalamin that’s suitable for vegans from Sisu Products:

  40. Ingrid February 9, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Great article Ginny – thank you so much!

    I learned the hard way that I couldn’t take 1000 mcg B12 daily (I’d heard that extra is excreted.) My blood levels were quite high. I’m happy to see that your recommendation to take 1000 mcg twice weekly is what I’m currently doing.

    This is my first time on your site. I’ll definitely be back!

  41. Allison February 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I take Garden of Life methylcobalamin spray. It provides 500 mcg/spray and I take one spray/day. I recently had my vitamin B12 level checked and it was at 916 pg/mL. The range is 211-911 pg/mL. I think it’s safe to assume the methyl form is working appropriately.

  42. Carolyn February 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    I take methylcobalamin, which is the superior form of B12 and is better assimilated into the body.

    • Axel Lieber February 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Carolyn, do you have a scientific (i.e. peer-reviewed, published) source for your claim that methylcobalamin is “superior”? All I could find in the literature is that cyanocobalamin is readily converted to methylcobalamin etc in the human body and has the added advantage of being stable (methylcobalamin is susceptible to oxidation). I would be most obliged if you could post links to the science.

    • Jim February 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Cyna has to go through a conversion process in your body to turn it into a Methyl for your body to absorb it. Why would anyone recommend otherwise? Personally I use Jarrow’s 1000 mcg daily. It’s Vegan friendly. To shake things up, I’ll use Garden Of Life’s organic spray.

  43. Mindy Maree February 9, 2015 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I have been taught that Methyl- and not cyano- is the preferred one. Why do you go with cyano- and not methyl -?

  44. zsfcxfd February 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    How to increase Vitamin B12 content in a person aged 73 (male)?
    Eats a healthy diet! Not a vegetarian or a vegan. Is it possible to do it without supplements?
    Would really appreciate a reply!
    Thank you!

  45. Ann February 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Bluebonnet Earth Sweet Chewable Vitamin B12 5000mcg has the Vegan icon on the bottle.
    i take it once a week.

  46. Ann February 9, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    add to above that Bluebonnet is cyanocobalamin form

  47. Sandy February 9, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    In Canada I take Jamieson Natural Sources B12, 1,200 mcg twice a week. It is Cyanocobalamin which gradually releases the B12. Also contains cellulose, diccalcium phosphate, vegetable magnesium stearate, water-soluble cellulose, Brazialian palm tree wax. No salt, sugar, starch, gluten, lactose, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

  48. Kristin February 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    I have been taking NutraBulk B-12 sublingual lozenges, 2500 mcg once a week (well, trying to remember to take them weekly). They specify vegetable magnesium stearate, and they use cyanocobalamin. I’ve been vegan for 8 or 9 years (vegetarian before that since 1995) but have never had my B12 levels checked. Need to add that to my next blood work.

  49. paolo firlano February 9, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Hello, I take Phoenix Long-life 2000 micrograms weekly. What do you think?

  50. Stephen February 9, 2015 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    I take Deva Vegan B12

  51. Caleb February 10, 2015 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Thank you for an interesting article. I was just wondering if you have more information regarding the differences between different forms of B12. I see many asking in the comments about it, maybe you could share your views in the article? Personally I have settled for 1000ug hydroxycobalamin drops ~1/week, which seem to be working, but I would be interested in what litterature says about it. Thanks!

    • Ginny Messina February 11, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Yup, I’m working on a primer on B12 that will address these differences.

  52. Trae Palmer February 10, 2015 at 4:02 am - Reply

    I’m currently taking a Sprout’s brand methyl B-12 at 1000 mcg per day, but I do have a bottle of the Nature’s Bounty (2500 mcg cyanocobalamin) product on hand that I was planning on using after I’d gone through the bottle of the methyl B-12. The methyl B12 I have is in a dark glass bottle, but I’m wondering if I should just get rid of it and switch to the Nature’s Bounty one I have immediately. I also drink several sevings of fortified plant milk and use fortified nutritional yeast daily.

    • Ginny Messina February 11, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

      The 1,000 mcg of methylcobalamin might be okay, especially if it’s protected from light. But again, we just don’t know for sure how much methyl is enough.

      • Trae Palmer February 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the reply ! I’m thinking I might just use up the rest of the methyl to avoid wasting it and in the future just buy the cyanocobalamin form. The methyl product I have open is stored in a dark medicine cabinet and the bottle’s glass is quite dark, so it’s *probably* protected from light, though I’m considering moving it to my refrigerator to further slow degradation.

        What’s funny is that the methyl form is about all that’s available now at my local health food store, yet at Fresh & Easy near me, which is conveniently open 24 hours, they have a vegan cyano product, so it’s actually much easier for me to get the more stable form, as well ! 🙂

  53. janet @ the taste space February 10, 2015 at 4:29 am - Reply

    Hi Ginny, I actually take methyl, but the same company has a cyano version.

    I find the SL dose so much easier so I will probably continue with it. Great post though. It bothers me when vegans do not supplement at all with B12.

  54. Sally February 10, 2015 at 5:36 am - Reply

    I take Solgar B12 2000mcg liquid drops (cyanocobalamin)
    Out of all the B12 I have tried, I find this one the best and this one helped increase my B12 levels so I didnt need to get shots.
    It does however come combined with other B Vits, but I don’t mind that as I find B vits work better as a package.
    Personally I would avoid supermarket brand vitamins (here in the uk) as I don’t trust the quality of the supplement. I tend to stick with Solgar, Biocare and Seagreens.–59ml_p_554.html?gclid=CKLrp4K-18MCFWfKtAod_xcAwg

  55. Michelle February 10, 2015 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Hi Ginny! Thanks for the article. I have noticed that most (?all) of the B12 supplements on the market are sublingual. Why is that? I know people with true pernicious anemia, who don’t make intrinsic factor in the stomach, cannot absorb B12 through the GI tract and therefore need B12 either in an injectable or sublingual form. But for those of us without pernicious anemia, is there any difference between sublingual and a regular oral tablet? Or are the manufacturers just making the sublingual to capture the pernicious anemia market?


    • Ginny Messina February 11, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

      I think they are probably marketing this as better because it is absorbed directly without digestion. And as you noted, it could be for some people. For most of us, swallowing a pill is just fine. And chewing it before you swallow it could add a little advantage.

  56. Clementine February 10, 2015 at 8:59 am - Reply

    SOLGAR, sublingual/chewable vit B12 (cyanocobalamin) 1000microg twice a week, suitable for vegans

  57. Julie February 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Hi thanks for the helpful info & comments of fellow readers.
    Which cyano based b12 supplements can be purchased in England,?
    I read somewhere that b4 u supplement, u should check to see if you are actually deficient, otherwise your body can build a resistance to it.
    Thanks to all who reply 😉

  58. Allan Ng February 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the article. Didn’t realized twice a week (1000 mcg) would be enough.

    We have been taking 500 mcg daily for a long time. Sundown Naturals which is Cyano with other nutrients and similar to Safeway brand it list the following as other ingredients: Dicalcium Phosphate, Vegetable Cellulose, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Silica, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate.

    Will try 4 times a week instead of 7

    Vegans from Singapore.

  59. Carolyn February 15, 2015 at 5:40 am - Reply

    Hi Ginny,
    Any suggestions for someone with a cobalt allergy? When I started taking b12 I broke out in rashes and eventually had skin patch testing done that determined cobalt as the cause. I stopped taking it and my skin cleared, but I’m concerned about becoming deficient. Thanks!

    • Sep September 17, 2015 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Hi Carolyn

      Did you find out which Vitamin B-12 does not have cobalt in it. I am taking iron supplements and Mason B-12 at the same time. Not sure which one of it is causing me difficulty breathing. Thanks.

  60. Juliana February 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    We take Pure Vegan B 12. It provides 500 mcg. Now recently I have purchased Garden of Life organic B 12 which is Non Gmo, organic and gluten free certified.

  61. Sarah March 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Ginny,

    I am a graduating dietetics student and am considering the switch to a vegan lifestyle for environmental reasons. I am studying the advanced micro-nutrient metabolism materials right now. I don’t understand why there isn’t a B-complex vitamin out there for vegans that has only the B-vitamins we need and in the amounts we need them. We can measure percent content in foods and percent absorption; there is no reason we can’t formulate a complex that actually supplements our nutrition needs instead of overdosing on vitamins that vegans are adequate in.

    I think we should find a venture capitalist to make one for us. I don’t think it would be hard to find someone in this budding health conscious environment.

    – Sarah

  62. Roxxi March 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply


    Thank you for your wonderful blogs. I’m trying to figure out cyanocobalamin vs. methylcobabalamin. I just learned in my medical nutrition therapy class in college that 10% of people have problems converting unmethylated folate in enriched foods to active methyltetrahydrofolate. So everyone should take methyfolate and methylcobalamin supplements. What do you think about this?

    Also what about this article that states methylcobalamin is much better, opposite from what you are saying. and is this website even reliable since I see that they do promote certain supplements.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  63. Karen May 9, 2015 at 6:01 am - Reply

    I have Vit B-12 deficiency. I’m in need of a Vit B-12, 500 mg, sub-lingual that is safe for someone with Fructose Mal-absorption. I can not have any artificial sweeteners, juices, molasses, honey for sweeteners. No dairy, wheat, gluten, and chicory/inulin. Any suggestions for where I’d find this. I haven’t had any luck so far.

  64. […] These foods are also rich in vitamin B12, which tends to be lacking in plant foods. Vegetarians can get all the B12 they need from these foods, while vegans need to supplement. […]

  65. angelica June 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Just when I thought I had the answer (sublingual methylcobalamin), I run in to your article, Ginny. Is the article here not valid?:

    • Ginny Messina June 26, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      Angelica, I don’t think this article mentions methylcobalamin, does it? I think that the recommendation for a daily dose of B12 is too low (the article is several years old), but other than that, the info seems good. The Vegan Society is generally a good source of nutrition information.

  66. […] These foods are also rich in vitamin B12, which is not found in plant foods. Vegetarians can get all the B12 they need from these foods, while vegans need to supplement. […]

  67. […] These foods are also rich in vitamin B12, which is not found in plant foods. Vegetarians can get all the B12 they need from these foods, while vegans need to supplement. […]

  68. Kim June 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I see some others with kids are having a hard time finding a B12 supplement too.

    My baby is only 14 months old and it’s recommended she only take 10mcg/day of B12. Help! I cannot find any tablet/liquid/spray anywhere close to this low amount and I do not want to give her a mega dose. In fact, I called MyKind organics about their organic B12 spray (500 mcg) and they said they would not recommend giving her this high of a dose. I do not want to rely on fortified processed cereals for her to get this nutrient and currently she is not drinking enough fortified non dairy milks to meet this requirement.

    Any suggestions or supplements to recommend? There seems to be a need for a lose-dose kids B12 supplement!

    • Ginny Messina June 26, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      Kim, if she is getting vitamin B12 from formula or fortified soymilk and is consuming it several times a day, she doesn’t need that 10 mcg. She would be fine with 2 to 3 servings per day with each providing about 1.5 mcg.

  69. Rebekah June 28, 2015 at 10:41 am - Reply

    I eat a plant-based vegan diet and have been taking trader joe’s b-complex daily supplement (vegan, with b12 as cyanocoblalamin) for about the past seven years. I’ve recently read articles/blogs that indicate I should not do this, especially because there is 400mcgs of folic acid in the tablet. There is also 50mcgs of b12. I looked into the nature’s bounty b12 as recommended above, and the label instructs taking one 2500mcg daily. Is this right? I’m a little confused about the amount. Though I would like to start taking this nature’s bounty tablet, I’m concerned about taking too much… but I do prefer to take a supplement daily. Any advice will be gratefully received!

    • Ginny Messina June 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Rebekah, you don’t need that much every day. You could take the Nature’s Bounty supplement a couple of times per week and that should be plenty.

  70. Brett Scriver July 6, 2015 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    I came across the Radiance Platinum brand of B12 (cyanocobalamin) at CVS. They say “vegan” right on the label.

  71. Sarah August 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    I have read taking more than 20mcgs of B-12 is not recommended because it can cause rosacea outbreaks (which I have) and etc. Is that not correct?

    • Ginny Messina August 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      There are a few case studies suggesting that some people may have skin reactions to vitamin B12. But there isn’t much research on this and I don’t think it’s very common. And almost all B12 supplements have much more than 20 ug.

  72. James September 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I use DEVA’s vegan daily multivitamin which has 100 mcg of cyano.

  73. […] Vitamin B12 is the one vitamin that you can’t get enough of from plant-based foods. Seaweeds and nutritional yeast are two exceptions, though I don’t mess around with B12. Vegan registered dietician Ginny Messina, R.D. recommends that vegans take a B12 supplement. […]

  74. Gary Transom October 1, 2015 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Hi guys.
    I have been a vegan (fully) for 10 years now and b12 deficiency has been
    a curse and i do not wish to enroll doctors because of the closed way they approach things, twice now i have had to have injections of B12 which will be made from something synthetic, any way just i recently i have put myself thru hell seeing if my body would fix my extreme tiredness by doing that which it needs to do, it would not so i finally secombed and now i have to have a truckload of the stuff to remove the tiredness problem.

    As you may know that b12 is not available in the natural or unnatural world, of food, there are only 2 places that we can get b12 and that is from dirt, and inside our gut.
    B12 is a waste product of a bacteria.

    I am very stubborn when it comes to the ‘system ‘ telling me things and i am very suspect of everything coming at me, i knew in my heart of hearts
    that there will be a way to find b12 in the natural, it was right under my nose all the time and i have used this source before for healthy living but not for b12 at the time, now is different so i searched and searched and this is what i found.

    HEMP milk, has in one glass 25 percent of our daily intake of b12, it also has 10 amino acids amongst other things.

    Check it out you will be amazed.

    happy vegan to you

  75. Steve One Cat October 9, 2015 at 1:29 am - Reply

    I looked at Nature Made’s ingredients, and they contain gelatin, which is not vegan.

    • Roshni June 27, 2017 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Yeah, me too! What do I do about that?

  76. Laura November 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    I am taking a liquid spray b12 from wholefoods. But what about my kids…what is the dosage for them and where is best to buy for them. I have been giving them the spray as I know you can’t overdose on b12 but it does say not intended for children. I can’t seem to find one for them that is not a multi vitamin. A spray seems to be the way for kids though!

  77. […] to be the type of B12 that most nutritionists are recommending right now. If you can’t find it in stores, this one on Amazon meets the recommendations and includes a […]

  78. Raviprasad P Rao November 25, 2015 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Hi Ginny,

    I am having vitamin B12 deficiency since I am a vegan. I do take eggs.
    Symptoms are really scary like short of breath, nervousness, weakness, fatigue tingling of hands, coldness, numbness in the hands, legs etc.
    I am taking green leafy vegetables, brocolli, onions, garlic, ginger, cabbage, carrot, beans, soya milk, low fat milk, dark chocolate, parsley, fruits only apple.
    I am taking nuerobion 100 mg right now.
    In fact, I would like to switch over to mega food vegan B12. how is this product basically, is there any side effects/interactions with other medicines. whether it will boost my vitamin B12 levels. I am taking valis 80 mg BP medication at present. Or do u think, other medication for Vitamin B12 is better than this. Pl let me know your opinion on this.

  79. Kristin December 3, 2015 at 11:23 am - Reply

    The Nature’s Bounty option is 2500 mcg, but the instructions say to take daily. How frequently should it be taken?

  80. Adela January 2, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Hello Ginnie, and HEALTHY, HAPPY VEGAN NEW YEAR!!!

    I just bumped into your article for which thank you so much as we need someone to scrutinize our vitamins and other nutrients!

    I notice you didn’t list Deva Vitamins. I take their B12 1000 mcg plus, as you probably know, B6 and Folic Acid. And I only now realize it doesn’t contain “cyanocobalamin”, only “methylcobalamin”.

    What do you suggest?

    I anticipate my thanks for prompt response. :o)

  81. […] 2. Take a B12 supplement. B12 is a one vitamin that you can’t get adequate of from plant foods. If you’re disturbed about removing correct nutrition, get yourself a good B12 supplement. Yes, we can get some from nutritive leavening and seaweeds, though chances are they’re not fulfilling all of your body’s requirements. Take a B12 supplement. Do it. Here’s some plain recommendation on how to select a best one. […]

  82. Margaret January 6, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I am quite surprised you are recommending cyanocobalamin. It is not as bioavailable as methylcobalamin and so the body needs to convert the cyanocobalamin to the methylcobalamin. in addition, doesn’t the body then need to excrete the remnants of the cyanide after it’s been metabolized? Also no discussion of tablet vs liquid form. Cyanocobalamin may be stable but liquid will always be absorbed more efficiently than tablets. I use Vegan Safe Bioactive B12, which is a blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. it is made by Global Healing Center. I used to use cyanocobalamin to treat my B12 deficiency after being vegetarian for a long time, but after about a year, my hair started falling out. I no longer have this problem.

    • Ginny Messina January 6, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Margaret, this article explains why vegan nutrition experts recommend cyanocobalamin.

      • KJ January 6, 2016 at 11:00 am - Reply

        Your explanation for why cyano is better than methyl is really not impressive. You prefer cyano because there is more research done on it? I have been taking the methyl form for several years (prior to that have regularly used Red Star nutritional yeast, and I am a 45-year vegan. No signs or symptoms of B12 deficiency. Everything I have read leads me to believe the methyl form is superior.

        • Ginny Messina January 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm - Reply

          Yes, the fact that there is more research on it allows us to make appropriate recommendations to protect vegans against deficiency. Because of the lack of research on methylcobalamin, and the fact that we know it isn’t as stable or reliable, it’s difficult to know how much people actually need to prevent deficiency. Therefore, it is risky to depend on the methyl form of this vitamin supplement. That’s why vegan nutrition experts who have looked at the actual research recommend cyanocobalamin. I’m not surprised, though, that everything you’ve read says otherwise. There is tons of misinformation about this on the internet. And since it can take several years to develop a deficiency of B12, people may not realize that they are not supplementing appropriately.

  83. Black Bean Queen January 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    I am so glad I found your site! This was a very helpful and informative article. I’m not vegan, but I’ve been vegetarian for over 2 years, and I only consume eggs and yogurt on occasion. I know B-12 supplementation is a good idea for vegans and strict vegetarians, so I am thinking about it. I bought a 500 mcg supplement from one of the brands you suggested in this post. Would taking it 3x- 4x/week likely be adequate? Or less frequently, since I sometimes consume eggs or yogurt?

  84. amberly February 28, 2016 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Hi! So I’ve been taking a B-12 (it’s cyano) and it’: 2500 mcg per tablet. The directions say to take one a day for adults. I’m a teen (vegan) and the supplement facts say that one tablet is 41,667% of your daily value. I assumed those instructions are for meat eaters. So now I’m really confused. I’ve been taking one a day for 2 weeks now and I thought tha maybe I was a little deficit but now??? Am I overdosing on B12?

  85. elena March 10, 2016 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Previously my GP gave B12 injections but as I move home my new GP advised me to take tablets instead. After some research and end up getting the Thompson´s brand, 1000MCG taking (under tongue)one a day. I´m not sure if it is Totally Vegan since it say in the bottle…Vegetarian friendly. Any opinion about this, please. Thanks

  86. Jenny March 22, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Ginny–

    I have 2 boys, a 4 year old and a 1 year old. Can you please suggest the best cyano supplements for them? Is it ok to give our 4 year old a 500 mcg chewable twice per week? (According to the charts, he needs 1000mcg per week.) He drinks fortified milks and takes a multi (Fuhrman Pixie Vites) that provides methyl b12.
    How about my 1 year old? He is nursing and I supplement myself of course. Is it safe to give him a crushed tablet of higher dose re 500 mcg once per week? He sips fortified milk too. Of course the cyanide aspect worries me and I don’t want to mega dose.
    I greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Ginny Messina March 24, 2016 at 5:56 am - Reply

      500 ug twice per week is fine for your 4-year-old. Is it possible to cut these pills in half? If so, then you could give your one-year-old half a pill, twice per week.

      • Jenny March 24, 2016 at 6:01 am - Reply

        Thank you the reply Ginny. So there is no concern re cyanide in giving our sons those size cyano doses all at once as opposed to smaller doses each day? I’m a worrier! 🙂

        • Ginny Messina March 24, 2016 at 6:23 am - Reply

          I don’t know of any concern with those doses since it’s still a very tiny amount of cyanide. But if you’re concerned, maybe you could have them meet their requirements through fortified plant milks. Your baby could get enough with just 2 servings per day of 1/4 cup per serving. That would be plenty for him, especially since he’s still nursing–and since you said he’s already sipping these milks, he might be getting enough anyway without the supplements. Your 4-year old could get enough by consuming 2 servings per day of milk at 1/2 cup per serving. Or, if he isn’t a big drinker of plant milks, you could give him 1/4 cup poured over a little bit of fortified cereal. Not all plant milks are fortified, though, so make sure you read the labels and look for milks that provide 50% of the Daily Value per 8 ounce serving. If your little ones will drink these small amounts of fortified plant milks, I think this might be a more comfortable solution for you.

          • Jenny March 24, 2016 at 7:08 am

            This is incredibly helpful. Thank you so very much.

          • Jenny March 24, 2016 at 8:05 am

            I guess I was under the impression that supplementation was non negotiable, even with the addition of fortified foods, to the vegan diet. Is that incorrect?

  87. Naomi Baldacchino March 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    I have been reading your blogs on b12, can I ask one thing, so if
    “All animal foods provide vitamin B12, which comes from bacteria in the animal’s intestines or from their diet. To the best of our knowledge, this vitamin doesn’t occur naturally in any plants.”
    and “And no plant food has been shown to improve vitamin B12 status in humans”
    Can you please explain, how the supplements are vegan? :/

    Thanks so much,
    P.S. I’m a 2 year vegan 🙂 and want to start supplementing with b12 xx

    • Brianna August 13, 2016 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      My question exactly!

      • Mina May 2, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

        Here is an excerpt from wiki ”

        Cyanocobalamin is commercially prepared by bacterial fermentation. Fermentation by a variety of microorganisms yields a mixture of methyl-, hydroxo-, and adenosylcobalamin. These compounds are converted to cyanocobalamin by addition of potassium cyanide in the presence of sodium nitrite and heat. Since a number of species of Propionibacterium produce no exotoxins or endotoxins and have been granted GRAS status (generally regarded as safe) by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, they are currently the preferred bacterial fermentation organisms for vitamin B12 production.[5]

        Historically, a form of vitamin B12 called hydroxocobalamin is often produced by bacteria, and was then changed to cyanocobalamin in the process of being purified in activated charcoal columns after being separated from the bacterial cultures. This change was not immediately realized when vitamin B12 was first being extracted for characterization. Cyanide is naturally present in activated charcoal, and hydroxocobalamin, which has great affinity for cyanide, picks it up, and is changed to cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the form in most pharmaceutical preparations because adding cyanide stabilizes the molecule.[1]”

        Thus cyanocobalamin is a fermented product using propionbacterium ”

        Propionibacterium is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped genus of bacteria named for their unique metabolism: They are able to synthesize propionic acid by using unusual transcarboxylase enzymes.[3] …

        Members of the genus Propionibacterium are widely used in the production of vitamin B12, tetrapyrrole compounds, and propionic acid, as well as in the probiotics and cheese industries.[6]

        France accounts for 80% of world production, and more than 10 tonnes/year of this compound is sold; 55% of sales is destined for animal feed, while the remaining 45% is for human consumption.[6]” wiki

  88. Andrea April 9, 2016 at 1:18 am - Reply

    Hi Ginny,
    Your recommendation of Cyanocobalamin over Methylcobalamin is consistent with Dr. Michael Greger’s recommendations, and for the same reasons — not enough research on methylcobalamin and possibly less stable. For people over 65 years of age, due to a decrease in ability to absorb B12, he recommends 1000 MCG/day of Cyanocobalamin. With this higher dosage, is there a corresponding increase in cyanide per Sublingual tablet, and would that level of cyanide on a daily basis be toxic? Also, the brand I am using is Mason Natural, available at Walgreen’s and Bed Bath and Beyond (in their stores that have a Harmon Drugs). The label indicates Calcium Stearate. Does that mean it is not vegan?

  89. Mick April 18, 2016 at 7:51 am - Reply

    I’m a bit late but as I see they’ve only gotten one mention I will add another for the UK-based Veganicity, very handy for those of us in Europe. All of their products are Vegan Society approved (so the stearic acid and magnesium stearate in there should be fine) and they have a 1000 µg cyanocobalamin supplement in the range.

  90. Ricardo Castro April 21, 2016 at 8:17 am - Reply

    I have 2 questions:

    1. Diferent sources state magnesium stearate and other fillers found in most supplements including all or most of the ones listed, have been linked to cancer and damage to the inmune system. What are your thoughts on that? (Not being sassy, I’m really asking cause I’m concerned)

    2. I’m a smoker. I smoke less than other smokers but still like 2 packs a week. Would you suggest going with a supplement that contains methylcobalamin or should my body be able to turn cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin?

    Thanks in advance for your time.

  91. ellen April 28, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply


  92. Lena May 9, 2016 at 4:38 pm - Reply


    I’ve been taking a supplement of B vitamins (including B12) and my teeth turned yellow with dark spots. Has anyone had this experience? I am from Brazil and vegan supplements aren’t readily available, so probably I would have to order online…

  93. Mindy May 17, 2016 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Ginny – These are the ingredients in the Safeway brand of B12 time-release,1000mcg. Is this what you take? Do you know if the “flavor” used is vegan? Thanks!

    Declared Ingredients
    Dicalcium Phosphate, Mannitol, Cellulose (Plant Origin), Hypromellose, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Silica, Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Cyanocobalamin. Flavor

  94. […] Her specific B12 supplement recommendations from her blog, The Vegan RD, are as follows: […]

  95. David July 31, 2016 at 6:06 am - Reply

    Hello, I’m newly vegan, I see you recommend 1,000mcg twice a week but when I looked up nature bountys b12 is has a dosage of 2,500mcg and says to take daily? Is that too much? Reviews also confirm ppl taking it daily. Would I need to take it daily or would 1 pill weekly of nature bountys b12 2,500mcg be enough ? So confused to this b12 stuff, thanks .

  96. Jennifer September 15, 2016 at 3:06 am - Reply

    Puritan Pride has a vegan, inexpensive B12 supplement with cyan (not Methyl)

  97. Amber Rockwell February 4, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Radiance Platinum brand is also vegan!

  98. shannon March 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    What about b 12 in a multiple vitamin?

  99. Kayley Grace March 31, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I”m confused about why you are recommending something that includes cyanide group. Everything I have read, except this blog recommends the methyl version.

  100. Kellie B May 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    What is your take on B12 injections instead of oral supplements? My doctor’s office offers them, and I have gotten the injections 8 times. When tested, my B12 levels were on the high end (already had 3 weekly injections at that point). I don’t know the type or dosage in the injection, so it would probably be beneficial to find out?

  101. candee June 13, 2017 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I just found a B-complex patch that I’m excited to try. My B12 and D are low and the company has both types of patches. The B12 is methyl but I think because it’s going through skin it will be better. I’ve already got labs set up for 3 months from now so that I can get some good before and after readings.

    • Apple August 8, 2017 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      Regarding Twin Lab B-12 dots I wrote the company qnd received the following response:

      Thank you for contacting us. The magnesium stearate in our B-12 Dots comes from palm oil. The product itself is listed as vegan friendly. It has no ingredients from animal sources, but we do not do vegan certifications on any of our products so it is not certified as vegan. Thank you for your interest in Twinlab.

  102. Alex August 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Hello, I was wondering whether or not to take a slow release supplement or a ‘quick dissolve”? The “safeway” brand mentioned above (that you take), I do not have access to, however it is slow release/1000mcg/twice a week. If I were to take a 1000mcg (or higher) but it is a “quick dissolve”, would this change how often I had to take the supplement? In other words, if the supplement is in the 1,000mcg range but is “quick dissolve”, should I take it twice a week, or daily? PS: Thank you for doing all the public intellectual work you do. I find this website and your work informative, and most importantly, sobering. As a vegan seeking scientific information, and then relaying it to others (esp. non-vegans), this is extremely difficult. The difficulty could be summarized in your (also sober) review of the documentary “What The Health.” Your review helped reinforce my analysis of veganism, that is, alarmism and pseudoscience, or weak evidence, do not help the cause. Furthermore, veganism can certainly decrease health risks, but most importantly, that environmental concerns and environmental justice is a better lense to view veganism because it is not human-diet-centric. Evidence, moreso in this sense, suggests that 7 billion humans systematically killing animals is not “sustainable”, and THIS is easier to convince people of why to become vegan than shouting at them that “meat is carcinogenic”, whilst the same vegan goes to smoke a cigarette. Anyways, I will await your reply to my question! Thanks!

  103. George September 14, 2017 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Sorry I don’t have the reference but Nature Made supplements are the only ones that are USP tested.
    Why is that important? Because the other brands may contain NONE of the listed ingredients, or 5X- 10X what the label says. The attorney general of New York is suing some companies over this. . (I may have gotten this from Consumer Reports magazine.)

    I have contacted Nature Made twice and they assured me their B-12 formulations are completely vegan. I didn’t ask about the other supplements because I use none. 70 years old, 40 years vegan.

    • Nicole Lamoureux January 17, 2018 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Wow! 40 years vegan! I would love to hear some tips and cooking tricks you have found over the years. I’m 27 (5 years vegan)

  104. Fran September 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Hi I found Doctor’s Best which was reasonably priced at Sprouts. It’s the Chewable Fully Active B12 and it contains Magnesium Stearate (vegetable source). On the Supplement Facts it claims it is B12 (MethylCobalamin) 1,000 mcg.

  105. Megan October 11, 2017 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Are b12 gummies good for vegans? I always heard sublingual was best, but I want to try them!

  106. DIANNE November 24, 2017 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Ginny! – who pays your salary? Moreover, why do you assume that free thinking consumers have ever cared about what the FDA has to say about any supplement!? You suggest that we consume cyanide because there is not enough research? – THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING I HAVE EVER HEARD!!!!!!

  107. Marty Davey February 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Ginny, Thanks for the brand names. I needed a few that don’t come up with a regular search. Hope to see you a ICVN!

  108. Kim Spagz March 12, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    do you happen to know if Safeway is USP verified? I can’t find them on any sites listed as such but Nature Made and Nature’s bounty seem to be. I’m very cautious about avoiding vitamin scams which most vitamins on the market seem to be scams.

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