The 6 Best Vitamin B12 Supplements of 2023

SHARE

This post contains links through which we may earn a small commission should you make a purchase from a brand. This in no way affects our ability to objectively critique the products and brands we review.

dr jennifer hughes

Dr. Jennifer Hughes, MD
Medical Reviewer

Evidence Based Research To fulfill our commitment to bringing our audience accurate and insightful content, our expert writers and medical reviewers rely on carefully curated research.
Read Our Editorial Policy

Don’t be mad, vegan friends (we’re just the messenger), but you’ll get zero vitamin B12 on an exclusively plant-based diet.

Thankfully, the best vitamin B12 supplements on the market will replenish not only this nutrient but many others as well.

And it’s not only vegans who need vitamin B12—there’s also that pretty large swath of the population that has, you know, DNA, blood, and a nervous system. 

Starting with our favorite—Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract—here’s a breakdown of the best vitamin B12 supplements in the business, chosen for their nutritional density, reliability, value, and more. 

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract—Stress & Fatigue Relief
  • Description

    Kyolic Stress & Fatigue Relief uses a 20-month-aged garlic extract to complement the effects of B6 and B12 with a vast range of heart health and cholesterol-lowing benefits.

    Also included in this formulation is stress-reducing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), making Kyolic Stress and Fatigue Relief are top “B12” (and then some) supplement.

Nature’s Bounty B-12
  • Description

    Clean and minimalistic, Nature’s Bounty B12 provides a high dose of pure vitamin B12 with no dairy, soy, gluten, GMOs, or artificial colors/preservatives.

    After a vetting from our team and 53,000+ Amazon reviewers, this is our top pick for the most valuable B12 supplement among trustworthy brands.

The 6 Best B12 Supplements

ProductKey PointsPrice per 100 mcg of B12†
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract—Stress & Fatigue ReliefCapsule form; vitamins B6 and B12; fortified with aged garlic and GABA for stress, heart benefits, others$0.73*
Nature’s Bounty B-12Capsule form; B12-only dietary supplement; greatest value; free of GMO ingredients, artificial colors/flavors, sugar, dairy, soy, gluten, and wheat$0.01
Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW B12Capsule form; vitamin B12; raw probiotic blend; organic fruit and vegetable blend$0.06*
Source Naturals B12Capsule form; vegan friendly; “fast melt” technology; 2,000 mcg of B12$0.01
Hi-Health Liquid B12Liquid form; methylcobalamin; sublingual delivery enhances absorption$0.02
Hi-Health Mega B-100Capsule form; B vitamin complex that features B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12; choline and biotin add more benefits (hair, skin, mood, memory, etc.)$0.30*
*Not an exact representation of price per milligram of B12, as this product contains several other active ingredients.
†Prices are accurate at time of publication, based on suggested retail prices, and subject to change.

Best Overall: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract—Stress & Fatigue Relief

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract—Stress & Fatigue Relief
  • Pros
  • More than 1000% RDA for vitamins B6 and B12
  • GABA and aged garlic add heart health and stress relief benefits
  • Cons
  • On the pricier side
  • Two-capsule serving size

Best for: The B-vitamin taker looking to also enhance resistance to daily stressors and/or improve heart health.

Kyolic goes pretty nuts with it when it comes to their fermentation process—aging their garlic extracts for a whopping 20 months in a water-ethanol mixture—but for good reason.

Thanks to their insistence on fully seeing out this bioconversion process that amplifies the already beneficial properties of the garlic, their Stress & Fatigue Relief extract goes way beyond vitamin B12.

Each two-capsule serving contains 40 micrograms (1667% RDA) of vitamin B12, 20 milligrams of vitamin B6 (1176% RDA), the aged garlic extract, and 15 mg of GABA (gamma-aminobutryic acid).

As Kyolic Director of Sales Jay Levy explained in person to our team at Natural Health Products Expo East 2022, there are more than 1000 peer-reviewed studies covering the healing properties of garlic, which include antioxidant action, cholesterol-lowering effects, and (literally) dozens more.

The addition of GABA—a neurotransmitter that can reduce the excitability of nerve cells—promotes a calming effect that can help with sleep and various forms of stressors depending on your usage. 

Overall, we’re thoroughly impressed with Kyolic Stress and Fatigue Relief extract, and as Jay made sure to assure us multiple times throughout our encounter, “You won’t smell like garlic!”

Best Value: Nature’s Bounty B-12

Nature's Bounty B-12
  • Pros
  • Superior value
  • No GMO, artificial colors, gluten, or dairy
  • Cons
  • No supporting ingredients

Best for: Anyone looking to save money on a simple B12 supplement without compromising on safety or quality.

Finally, Nature’s Bounty B12 is your straightforward, no-frills B12 supplement, delivering 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 per single-capsule serving at an extremely competitive price.

What it lacks in fancy supporting ingredients, it makes up for the undesirables it also steers clear of, including:

  • GMO ingredients
  • Artificial colors and flavors
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Gluten
  • Wheat

Nature’s Bounty has been around for upwards of 50 years now, and is considered by many to be a value brand on par with NOW Foods

If Vitamin B12 is all you need, Nature’s Bounty is one of the best values on the market.

Best B12 + Probiotics: Vitamin Code RAW B-12

Vitamin Code RAW B-12
  • Pros
  • Long list of supporting probiotics and organic fruit/veg
  • 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 per capsule
  • Cons
  • Pricier than B12-only supplements

Best for: Those who need a larger daily dose of vitamin B12 and supporting probiotics/organic ingredients to provide more well-rounded benefits.

It’s high-dose or nothing in more than one sense with Vitamin Code RAW B12 from Garden of Life, which stuffs 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 into each single-capsule serving alongside these two blends:

Raw Probiotic (500 Million CFU) & Enzyme Blend: Lipase, Protease, Aspergillopepsin, beta-Glucanase, Cellulase, Bromelain, Phytase, Lactase, and six other probiotics/enzymes.

Raw Organic Fruit & Vegetable Blend: An all-organic selection of 23 fruits and vegetables, including apple, beet, broccoli, strawberry, brussel sprout leaf, ginger, garlic, etc.

Like everything else we’ve reviewed from the Vitamin Code Raw line, Garden of Life targets a broad range of plant-based compounds and probiotics to ensure that this dietary supplement is easy on the stomach and supportive of dozens of key health benefits (immunity, GI health, fatigue resistance, etc.).

Also, the vitamin B12 itself is derived from saccharomyces cerivisiae, or brewer’s yeast, which has been demonstrated to exert a protective effect on the human gut microbiome—all those altruistic bacteria hitching a ride in your stomach—while inhibiting diarrheal infections, per this University of Sialkot (Pakistan) study

Overall, the clearly intended synergy between the vitamin B12, the probiotics, and the fruit and vegetable blend of Vitamin Code RAW B12 shows a potential to promote far more health benefits than the average B12 supplement.

Best B12 Supplement for Vegans: Source Naturals B-12

Source Naturals B-12
  • Pros
  • Vegan vitamin B12 supplement
  • Coenzymated vitamin B12 increases effectiveness
  • Solid value for the quality (tied for cheapest on our list)
  • Cons
  • No supporting (active) ingredients
  • Non-organic flavors and other ingredients

Best for: Vegans looking for a regular B12 supplement and/or anyone with a more serious vitamin B12 deficiency can get 2,000 mcg of highly absorbable, vegan-friendly B12 in one capsule. 

As mentioned, naturally occurring vitamin B12 is virtually non-existent outside of animal products, which is one reason why vegan-friendly supplements like Source Naturals B12 provide a lot of vitamin B12 per serving—2,000 mcg in this case.

Another aspect of vegan-friendliness with Source Naturals B12 that sets it apart from much of the herd is the use of a proprietary, coenzymated form of B12 that is much more readily absorbed by the body

Without getting too deep into the biochem lecture, the “Fast Melt Vegan Formula” as Source Naturals calls it is equipped with an active coenzyme that acts like the “second key” in some of the reactions that vitamin B12 takes part in within the body. 

Finally, though this isn’t necessarily tied to veganism, the rapidly dissolving form of vitamin B12 this supplement uses behooves folks with low stomach acid, who would otherwise be hindered in their ability to break down the capsule.

It may not have all the bells and whistles in terms of supportive ingredients that the above vitamin B12 supplements bring to the table, but Source Naturals B12 does an excellent job of optimizing their vitamin B12 product to complement the vegan diet. 

Best Liquid B12 Supplement: Hi-Health Liquid B-12

Hi-Health Liquid B-12
  • Pros
  • GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Certified
  • Sublingual delivery enhances absorption
  • Cons
  • Includes fructose

Best for: Anyone who needs a trustworthy liquid form of vitamin B12, and/or those seeking the advantages of sublingual drops over capsules.

Made with a form of B12 called methylcobalamin, as opposed to the commonly used cyanocobalamin, Hi-Health Liquid B12 offers a highly absorbable form of the nutrient for those who prefer (or need) a liquid.

However, the claim of Hi-Health (and others) that methylcobalamin has been clinically proven to be used more efficiently by the body than cyanocobalamin is contested. Several studies like this one from the National Institute of Research and Development for Food Bioresources in Romania have shown that the difference in bioavailability between the two is statistically negligible. 

Where Hi-Health Liquid B12 does clearly win, however, is with its use of a sublingual delivery system (drops under the tongue), which trumps B12 capsules both in absorption speed and peak concentration.

A full dropper provides 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 (raspberry flavor, by the way), and thanks to the sublingual delivery, you’re likely to get more of the nutrient where it needs to go without having to contend with stomach acid.

If capsules aren’t your thing, we highly recommend Hi-Health Liquid B12.

Best B12 for Energy: Hi-Health Mega B-100

Hi-Health Mega B-100
  • Pros
  • Well-rounded B vitamin profile
  • Choline and biotin add more benefits
  • Cons
  • On the more expensive side

Best for: Those who are less concerned with a specific B vitamin deficiency and more interested in getting the most out of the whole B vitamin family—energy, cellular health, etc.

Hi-Health Mega B-100 is a vitamin B complex formulated with the following forms (and per-serving quantities) of the nutrient:

  • Thiamin (B1) 100 mg/8333% RDA
  • Riboflavin (B2) 100 mg/7692% RDA
  • Niacin (B3) 100 mg/5882% RDA
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5) 100 mcg/2000% RDA 
  • Pyridoxine HCl (B6) 100 mg/5882% RDA 
  • Folate (B9) 667 mcg DFE/167% RDA
  • Cobalamin (B12) 4167% RDA

This diverse vitamin B profile is what makes Hi-Health Mega B-100 our go-to for a well-rounded B vitamin capsule with a few other perks.

By other perks, we mean biotin for hair, skin, and more; choline for mood, memory, and (much) more; and a few other supportive ingredients.

Why go with a vitamin B complex versus a singled-out supplement? 

When done right, a B complex will support a broader range of reactions in the body, thereby supporting more health benefits. This doesn’t mean a B complex is better for those who have a more specific and/or isolated deficiency (B12, for example), but for many others, the advantages are clear. 

You’ll spend a bit more for a B-vitamin complex of this quality, which is the case with Hi-Health Mega B-100, but if you’re looking to get as much as possible out of a B vitamin supplement, this is one of our top picks.

Vitamin B12 Supplement FAQs

Which form of vitamin B12 is best?

The research consensus on this issue is not completely in agreement, and is further obfuscated by the unique advantages that each form of B12 has over the others. 

For example, cyanocobalamin was shown in some studies to absorb better, where other sources claim methylcobalamin is more readily absorbed. 

Some forms of B12 are more effective at retaining B12 levels, where others cause a sharper peak in B12 concentrations with a harder fall. 

In other words, there is no clear winner, but the race is close enough that it’s hard to make a wrong choice (so long as you have a reliable product).

How much B12 do I need per day?

This Vitamin B12 fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health provides a Recommended Dietary Allowance table representing the B12 recommended doses for men and women from birth to 19+ years of age.

The range is 0.4 mcg a day (birth to 6 months, both genders) to 2.8 mcg a day for lactating mothers ages 14 and up. 

For men and non-pregnant women ages 14 and up, the standard RDA is 2.4 micrograms.

When should I take B12 morning or night?

Because B12 facilitates the body’s ability to metabolize food into usable fuel, most sources recommend taking it earlier in the morning. It’s also generally recommended that B vitamins be consumed on an empty stomach with a glass of water, as they’re water-soluble vitamins.

What are the symptoms of low B12?

The National Institutes of Health Vitamin B12 fact sheet mentioned above in reference to B12 RDAs also provides a fairly comprehensive description of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, which can include, but are not limited to the following: megaloblastic anemia (large red blood cells), fatigue, palpitations, pale skin, dementia, weight loss, infertility, neurological issues (tingling in hands and feet, etc.), and in pregnant women, developmental delays, anemia in the child, and more.

Key Takeaways

Most commercially popular forms of B12 are very close in how efficiently they are absorbed, though methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin are generally believed to lead the pack.

Vitamin B12 is generally considered safe at higher doses for healthy people, but it’s still a wise practice to get a blood or urine test if you’re considering supplementing.

Coenzymes, probiotics, adaptogens, and other active ingredients can enhance the effectiveness of vitamin B12 and/or complement its effects.

As always, make sure your vitamin B12 supplement comes from a well-reputed brand that takes sourcing, testing, and overall quality seriously.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *