With today’s awareness of health and nutrition there are more and more men and women looking into supplementation. B-12 is a popular vitamin supplement known for giving energy. What many people don’t understand is there are three different forms of vitamin B-12. Two of the three forms of B-12 are very similar, and the only chemical difference between them comes down to one small part of the molecule where the names give it away: Methylcobalamin has a methyl group (just carbon and hydrogen), and has some metabolic and therapeutic applications not shared by the other forms of vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin has a cyanide group, and obviously cyanide isn’t something you normally expect or want to find lurking in your multivitamin. This is the most common form of B12 provided at physician offices and in over-the-counter supplements. Third, Hydroxocobalamin is synthetic and has a similar structure to vitamin B12.
Below are the three different forms of vitamin B12 in detail
Cyanocobalamin B12: This is the most common and widely produced form of B-12. It is the second coenzyme, and is the most common form of B12 provided at physician offices and in over the counter supplements. Cyanocobalamin usually does not occur in living organisms, but animals can convert commercially produced cyanocobalamin into active (cofactor) forms of the vitamin, such as methylcobalamin. This is one that is for some people but clearly not for everyone. For those needing the injection for a deficiency, this is not the best option of the three. For those who are healthy and want the extra boost, this may be your best choice.
Hydroxocobalamin B12:.This is for those who need the vitamin for basic survival. This vitamin form of B-12 is available in the United States on a limited basis but is extremely popular worldwide. Hydroxocobalamin helps with the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It also helps the growth of healthy blood cells, nerve cells, and proteins in the body. Hydroxocobalamin is a chemical compound with a similar structure to vitamin B12. Even though the human body doesn’t produce hydroxocobalamin, it plays an integral part in DNA synthesis and supports cell replication. The compound also has an important role in the conversion of harmful homocysteine into beneficial methionine, an essential amino acid. It helps with energy production and is necessary for normal brain and nervous system function.
Methylcobalamin B12: This is one of two coenzyme forms of B12 and is the most popular form of vitamin B12. Studies have indicated that methylcobalamin has some metabolic and therapeutic applications not shared by the other forms of vitamin B12. Methylcobalamin is the more bio-available of the two, meaning that methylcobalamin is immediately ready for the body to use once injected. Cyanocobalamin & Hydroxocobalamin must first be broken down within the liver only to produce small amounts of methylcobalamin which the body can utilize.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency:
There are only a few different symptoms for vitamin B12 deficiency. It is important to pay attention to these symptoms and not shrug them off.
- Weak, tired, or lightheaded
- Pale skin
- Sore, red tongue
- Bleeding gums
- Nausea, diarrhea
- Poor sense of balance
- Numbness and/or tingling in the hands or feet
Benefits of Methylcobalamin supplementation:
- Assists in the reduction of elevated homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Proven beneficial for symptoms of depression (i.e., supporting the production of serotonin and melatonin)
- Acts as a methyl donor and participates in the synthesis of SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), a nutrient that has powerful mood elevating properties.
- Supports immune system regulation
- Repair of damaged myelin sheath
- Acts to reverse nerve damage and promote nerve cell regeneration
- Increases metabolic function
- Supports healthy red blood cells and is used to treat anaemia
- Protects against neurological disease and aging
- Improvement of mental dysfunction in the elderly
- Useful in protocols for asthma and sulphite sensitivities
- Necessary for the conversion of methylmalonate to succinic acid, an important Krebs cycle intermediate in energy production