We've all heard about the value of supplementing with B12 — especially for plant-based eaters.
Vitamin B12 is linked to everything from brain and nervous system health to your energy, DNA, and red blood cells, and countless studies show that vegetarians and vegans run a higher risk of B12 deficiencies.*
But how much do you need, and what approach should you take to ensure you get enough?
To help you find the strategy that works for your health, I recorded a short video sharing the B12 supplementation method I take with patients at the Kahn Longevity Center.
Watch it, here:
Why is Vitamin B12 Important?
But did you know that you can't make any usable form of vitamin B12?
And, if you can't make any usable form, you're set up to be deficient in B12.
Most B12 vitamins are made by bacteria that animals eat and get incorporated in their flesh.
Plant-based eaters, however, typically need supplementation.
B12 impacts your brain, your nerves, the reaction of red blood cells, and even your genetic code — your DNA.*
Should you supplement with multiple forms of B12?
There are different kinds of vitamin B12, and the best approach to successful supplementation may be to mix the various kinds.
One reason is that each form has a little different property or function in the body. There are two natural forms, called adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin.
Adenosylcobalamin works particularly in the mitochondria, where we make energy.*
Methylcobalamin may be the most natural and important form of B12. It keeps our blood homocysteine at an optimal level.*
Another form is called hydroxocobalamin, which is very easily absorbed, and linked to your brain, nerve, mitochondria, heart, blood cells, and DNA repair.*
I recommend pulling from all three of these forms so that you have a regular source of a variety of B12s for optimal health and body function.* It may also increase your absorption rate if your body has trouble absorbing one form but not another.*
Can you take too much?
As with so many things in life, there is a sweet spot both for absorption and optimal health.
That sweet spot for me comes in around 500 mcg for each of the three forms listed above. It’s more than you need, but should increase your likelihood of proper absorption.
And because it’s water-soluble, there is little risk of overloading to the point of toxicity.