Cyanocobalamin vs. Methylcobalamin
Cyanocobalamin is the most common form of B12 supplement available. The popularity of this synthetic option is based primarily on its affordability. It is the primary B12 found in mass market retail stores. By offering a synthetic B12 supplement, it can better be massed produced. This increases the manufacturer’s profit and may or may not lower the actual price paid by consumers.
It is not found in nature, but is a cheap, synthetic chemical produced in a laboratory. As such, it is not found in plants or animals and is not at all naturally occurring, as often claimed.
Since Cyancobalamin is not found naturally, your body has no need for the cyano compound and must process it first in order to filter out the unnecessary compound- one that is also found in the poison cyanide. This means it must be filtered through your liver so that the compound is not absorbed. For smokers or those with liver problems, this can be troublesome and can cause unnecessary additional damage.
While the cyanide absorbed during the process is not in quantities large enough to do significant damage, it is not a risk that should be taken lightly. The process of converting the Cyancobalamin into a useable form of B12 requires extra work by the body, further diminishing its positive effects.
Unlike its synthetic counterpart, Methylcobalamin is found in nature. Its prefix “methyl” indicates that it can be put to use immediately by your body. Because it is natural there is no need to filter out poisonous chemical compounds. Not only does this ease of absorption result in higher levels of B12, it also ensures that the body uses the vitamin more effectively and retains it longer.
It is also important to note that Methylcobalamin is the specific vitamin required by the nervous system to maintain health. Whereas Cyancobalamin is ineffective at treating nervous system symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency, including vision problems, Methylcobalamin is successful.
The benefits of taking Methylcobalamin as opposed to Cyancobalamin do not extend only to neurological health, but to all other traditional benefits associated with Vitamin B12. The difference in effectiveness comes down to the ease in which it’s absorbed, which makes sense since many B12 deficiencies are not a result of lack of exposure, but the body’s ability to properly absorb it. Methylcobalamin circumvents this problem.