The Best Vegan B12 Supplements
& How to Choose The Right Brand

As a fellow vegan, you already know that you should be taking a vitamin B12 supplement since we can’t get it directly from plants.

Unlike many animals, our gut doesn’t produce B12.

And we don’t consume the questionable sources that some of the animals who don’t produce B12 themselves do.

If this gets you worrying about whether B12 supplements can be vegan-friendly, don’t panic:

Certain forms of algae and seaweed are sources of B12 and most supplements are produced from bacteria and fermentation - not from animal sources.

The demand for these plant-based vitamin supplements has made it possible to buy them anywhere, and there are so many brands to choose from.

But did you know that the form of vitamin B12 matters too?

Some forms of B12, such as methylcobalamin, are straight-up absorbed better than others.

Plus the addition of folic acid at first glance seems very helpful, but some studies have found scary results regarding the health of those with high levels of folic acid in their blood due to supplements.

We’ll take a look at this later...

First, let’s take a look at some of the best vegan B12 supplements out there.

Top 5 Best Vitamin B12 Supplements
For Vegans

1. Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin
(5000 mcg)

Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (5000 mcg)

Our Verdict: Best High Dose Formulation

Ingredients:

  • Methylcobalamin (Methyl B12)
  • Xylitol
  • Cellulose
  • Stearic acid (vegetable source)
  • Natural cherry flavor
  • Citric acid
  • Magnesium stearate (vegetable source)
  • Silicon dioxide

Pros:

  • Methylcobalamin.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Sugar-free.
  • Uses natural cherry flavoring.
  • Chewable.
  • Xylitol helps to sweeten these lozenges without raising blood sugar levels.
  • Great for if you prefer to only take the supplement once a week or every week and a half.
  • Strong enough to perhaps benefit those who struggle with absorption.
  • 60 servings.
  • Caters for all types of allergen sufferers: free from wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.
  • The Jarrow Formulas brand has other flavors (lemon, tropical) and strengths of B12 as well.

Cons:

  • Some batches of the lozenges may be a bit hard to chew.
  • If you don’t like to chew the lozenges, it can take a minute or two, or sometimes longer depending on the batch to dissolve completely.
  • Xylitol may irritate some people’s stomachs.
  • Not a great option if you don’t like many ingredients or want to err on the side of caution with some of the ingredients.
  • Taking a high dose like this may cause acne in some people.
  • Comes in a plastic bottle.

2. EZ Melts B12 (2500 mcg)

EZ Melts B12 (2500 mcg)

Our Verdict: Best Budget Buy (Tablets)

Ingredients:

  • Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)
  • Mannitol
  • Modified cellulose
  • Natural flavor
  • Magnesium vegetable stearate
  • Citric acid
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Natural color

Pros:

  • Methylcobalamin.
  • Sugar-free.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Free from wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.
  • Cherry flavored (all flavoring is natural).
  • A bit of sweetness and flavor added by monk fruit extract and mannitol (another sugar substitute).
  • Dissolves fairly quickly.
  • The tablets are small.
  • Great if you only like taking a supplement once a week.
  • 90 servings (great if you require more frequent doses due to malabsorption or deficiency).

Cons:

  • Mannitol can irritate some people’s stomachs.
  • Not a great option if you prefer to avoid some of the additives or prefer supplements with few ingredients.
  • Comes in a plastic bottle.

3. Go Nutrients Vitamin B12- Sublingual Liquid Drops (3000 mcg)

Go Nutrients Vitamin B12- Sublingual Liquid Drops (3000 mcg)

Our Verdict: Best Budget Buy

Ingredients:

  • Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin)
  • Kosher certified vegetable glycerin
  • Organic raspberry flavoring

Pros:

  • Methylcobalamin.
  • Kosher.
  • Sugar-free.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Contains very few ingredients.
  • Doesn’t contain any sweeteners.
  • Flavoring is natural and organic (raspberry).
  • No need to refrigerate.
  • A serving is a ¼ teaspoon (20-30 drops).
  • 48 servings per bottle.
  • If you do prefer to take some every day and want to take a smaller dose, it’s easier to adjust the number of drops you take.
  • The bottle is glass and comes with a dropper.

Cons:

  • If you take 30 drops, there will be fewer servings.
  • You have to hold it under your tongue for 15 seconds before swallowing.
  • There are no measuring lines on the dropper, but you can just measure it out on a teaspoon rather than counting the individual drops.

4. VeganSafe B-12 (2500 mcg)

VeganSafe B-12 (2500 mcg)

Our Verdict: Best Organic Option

Ingredients:

  • B12 (as 80% methylcobalamin, 20% adenosylcobalamin)
  • USP kosher certified vegetable glycerin
  • Triple distilled water

Pros:

  • Combination of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.
  • Kosher.
  • Certified Organic.
  • Sugar and sweetener-free.
  • Despite no added sweeteners, the glycerine helps to give it a slightly sweet flavor which may make it more palatable.
  • Non-GMO and free of gluten and any animal products.
  • Very few ingredients.
  • No need to refrigerate.
  • 30 servings per bottle (2500 mcg each)
  • You only need to use this once a week unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
  • If you prefer to take it more often you can reduce it to a ¼ dropper or even slightly less per day.
  • Comes in a glass bottle with a dropper.

Cons:

  • You need to hold it in your mouth for 15 seconds before swallowing.
  • Some people reported getting old bottles or that this product tasted like rubber (likely due to age as well).
  • Rather expensive compared to other B12 supplements.

5. Mary Ruth’s Organic Vitamin B12 Liquid Spray (3000 mcg)

Mary Ruth’s Organic Vitamin B12 Liquid Spray (3000 mcg)

Our Verdict: Best B12 Spray

Ingredients:

  • Methylcobalamin, water
  • Organic vegetable glycerin
  • Natural mixed berry flavor
  • Potassium sorbate

Pros:

  • Methylcobalamin.
  • Non-GMO, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free, corn-free, and contains no gelatin.
  • No sugar or sweeteners.
  • No nightshade plants which is great for those with a nightshade sensitivity.
  • Flavoring is natural.
  • There are 30 servings per bottle (4 sprays per serving)
  • Since it’s a high dose, you can use one spray 2-4 times a week unless advised differently by your doctor.
  • Comes in a glass bottle with a spray nozzle.

Cons:

  • Sometimes the nozzle doesn’t work properly.
  • Some nozzles may spray a bit wide and getting the spray on your clothing can be very inconvenient.
  • This supplement is made with organic ingredients only but is not certified. This may bother some people who prefer to buy fully certified organic products.

How to Choose the Right B12 Supplement

vegan supplements

Why the Correct Form Matters

It isn’t as simple as Googling for the "best B12 supplement vegan." There are a handful of different forms of this popular vitamin, so it is important to learn which one will work for you.

Many of the supplements on the market contain cyanocobalamin. It’s cheap and made in a lab so it’s very easy for supplement companies to use.

But this form of B12 is just not very bioavailable. In other words, our bodies don’t absorb it as well.

Cyanocobalamin also gives off some cyanide as it’s digested. It’s not enough to poison you, but why put up with it when there are other affordable forms of B12 that are so much better for you?

Look for one of these forms on the label:

  • Methylcobalamin (best, especially if you have an MTHFR gene mutation)
  • Hydroxycobalamin (second best)

While adenosylcobalamin also has a high bioavailability, it can be hard to stabilize and most supplements do not contain this form of B12.

To maximize absorption, stick with drops, sprays, and sub-lingual (under the tongue) tablets.

These are better than capsules as the body absorbs B12 better through the soft tissue in the mouth than in the intestines.

What to Look Out For

  • Folic acid (vitamin B9)
  • Artificial colors (liquid supplements should be a reddish color)
  • Gelatin
  • Sugar

Any time you have gummy supplements or those soft-gel types, beware of gelatin. There are gelatin-free options available, so read the labels to be sure.

Supplements that taste like candy often contain sugar, a no-no if you are diabetic...

...and even if you aren’t diabetic, while the amount of sugar may be very little compared to sodas, juices, and actual candy - you probably don't need the extra glucose either ;)

The Big Deal About Added Folic Acid

Folic acid, or rather, the natural form of folate is not a problem. In fact, it’s very necessary. It’s plentiful in leafy greens, some fruits, and legumes like beans and lentils.

Because the general public doesn’t eat enough of these foods, and to decrease the risk of birth defects, many processed foods are fortified with folic acid - including some B12 and B-complex supplements.

So What’s the Problem?

The synthetic form, folic acid, is converted to the active form, folate (aka. 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or levomefolic acid or L-methylfolate) by the liver by most people.

However, a lot of people have an MTHFR gene mutation that makes it very hard or even impossible for the body to complete this conversion.

Much of the folic acid gets left behind unprocessed in the body which leads to an increased risk of various cancers, particularly lung and breast cancer.

Though you may develop some symptoms of this mutation, you may never know as the symptoms can be a combination of common health problems.

The only way to truly be sure is a gene test.

So, to be on the safe side, avoid folic acid and only choose products that are fortified with folate itself. Also, eat a wide variety fruit, vegetables, and include legumes in your diet daily.

If you do want to find out more about this gene mutation, you can check it out here.

How Much B12 do You Need?

Adults need 2.4 mcg (micrograms) per day unless they are pregnant in which case 2.6 mcg is the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake).

Why are Typical Doses Higher than the RDI?

Supplements usually range anything from 25 mcg to 5000 mcg. This might seem excessive, but just because you take a supplement doesn’t mean you absorb ALL of it...

This way there is more available for your body to absorb and use.

How Much to Take

If you have a supplement with a small dose, 100 mcg or less, you can take it every day. Above 100 mcg to 1000 mcg can be taken 3 times a week or so. Doses above 1000 mcg only need to be taken once a week.

It really depends on your personal preferences.

Taking a smaller dose every day is great if you're like me and need a daily routine. Otherwise, I tend to forget if I don't do it daily.

Can You Overdose?

It’s not impossible to overdose on B vitamins, but it’s very hard to do.

Vitamin B12 is water-soluble meaning it needs water to be absorbed and used by the body.

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) which tend to stick around a little longer, your body is able to excrete the excess B12 easily via your urine.

Why B12 is so Important

Adults need 2.4 mcg (micrograms) per day unless they are pregnant in which case 2.6 mcg is the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake).

  • Ensures normal brain and nerve function
  • Necessary for regulating DNA and making cells.
  • Helps the body to utilize energy and absorb folate.

Signs of Deficiency

  • Anemia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Menstrual problems
  • Pale skin or in some cases, yellowing skin
  • Diarrhea

If you are taking a supplement, you shouldn’t have a problem avoiding B12 deficiency, but there are a few people who are unable to absorb enough B12 due to low stomach acid or because their bodies don’t produce a type of protein called intrinsic factor necessary for absorption.

This is usually treated by taking higher doses of supplements daily or by even getting B12 injections.

Our Top 3 Picks for the Best Vegan B12 Supplement

  • Best organic option: VeganSafe B-12.
  • Best sublingual tablet: EZ Melts B12 (also easy on your pocket).
  • Best budget option: Go Nutrients Vitamin B12. Since you can adjust the dosage or only need to take it once a week, this product can stretch far. Shares the best budget buy spot with EZ Melts.

Let us know if you’ve tried any of these. What did you think of them?

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