Vitamin B12: What You NEED to Know!

Vitamin B12: What You NEED to Know!

When we say vitamin B, the first thing that comes to mind is ENERGY.

Most people look to the B vitamins (specifically B12) to increase physical and mental energy levels. In fact, all you have to do is go through the check-out line, and you will find stacks of “energy shots”. If you flip that energy shot over, you will most likely see B12 as Cyanocobalamin. But what does that really mean? Is this the best option for your body? We will try to answer that question for you so you can make educated choices about the vitamins you take.  

Before we get started, go grab whatever B vitamin(s) you have in your cupboard. We’ll wait… okay do you have it in hand? Turn it over and take a look. What does it list for the ingredients for vitamin B12? (If you have Restore, you are already ahead of the game.)

Just in case you don’t have any in your cupboard, you can look at the labels below: 


 Supplement facts


Supplement facts 


 Restore Professional

What you see is the most common, and some harder to find, forms of vitamin B12 used in supplements. Let’s take a deep dive into understanding vitamin B12 so you can choose the best B12 supplement for you.

Hold onto your hats…B12…the breakdown.


There are two distinguishing characteristics that you need to understand when you think about B12: Bioavailable and Methylated.


First, you want to be sure that the B12 you take is bioavailable (or biologically active). To be in a bioavailable form refers to how easily and quickly your body can utilize the vitamin(s) you ingest. When your vitamins are biologically active, they are far more valuable to the body, as they do not require a long conversion process that requires additional resources from the body. 
Now, this sounds great…just look for the bottle with the words “bioavailable” on it, right? Ahhhh, it’s never that easy!
Here is the real catch. Many companies will put “biologically active” on their label, BUT in order for vitamin B12 to be truly biologically active, it must also technically be methylated. (There are a few exceptions, but we will get into that later when we discuss Methylcobalamin and Metafolin®).
So how do supplement companies get away with saying their vitamin B12 is biologically active but may NOT be methylated? The trick is they add this little molecule called phosphate (phosphorylated) at the end of the form of B12, which allows the body to recognize the B12. Thus, this makes it “technically” biologically active.
But that does not mean it is methylated. Remember in the beginning, we said that for B12 to be in its best form for the body, it needs to be biologically active AND methylated.


Methylated B12 is already in an active form that your body can use. A simple way to say this is that it can slip into the methylation cycle of your cells at the exact place it needs, and your body does not have to do any work (expend energy) to get it ready. This fact is really important for people who may not methylate well, and if you are over forty, that is probably you.
This is why those gummy vitamins you have been taking for the past ten years just don’t seem to give you the boost they once did, and when you take a high-quality B12, you can feel the energy difference…sometimes immediately.

Now you should have a good understanding of the difference between bioavailable, phosphorylated, and methylated, and you should also understand the importance of these terms when choosing a vitamin B12, especially if you are taking it to increase your energy levels.

Now let’s jump into the different types of B12 and what to be looking for.


When you look at supplement labels for vitamin B12, three forms are mainly utilized:

  • Adenosylcobalamin
  • Methylcobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin

We are going to get a little in the weeds here, but we know you will hang in there because in the end, we have a big reveal that will bring it all together…

Adenosylcobalamin – Bioavailable and Methylated

Adenosylcobalamin is important as it supports and protects the mitochondria in the body’s cells (Methylcobalamin doesn’t do this). The mitochondria are like powerhouses in each cell, and Adenosylcobalamin helps them burn fuel efficiently, resulting in producing energy and boosting metabolism.
You will want to select the Adenosylcobalamin form of B12 when a biologically active and methylated form of vitamin B12 is desired, and the formula’s goal is to support the Citric acid/Krebs cycle and cellular energy production (ATP), increasing the body’s voltage.

Methylcobalamin – Bioavailable and Methylated

Methylcobalamin is central in methylation or methyl donation. This process has widespread interactions with metabolic functions. As an example, methylation is one of the main ways the expression of genes is changed to match our genes to diet, lifestyle and environment.
Methylcobalamin is used with only one enzyme as a coenzyme, methionine synthase. Methionine synthase also links the folate/methylation cycle and the methionine cycle, also called the SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) cycle.

Cyanocobalamin – Bioavailable and Phosphorylated  (NOT methylated)

Cyanocobalamin is NOT a coenzyme form of B12 cobalamin. It does NOT act as a coenzyme or perform any of the functions listed above.  In the body, the Cyano (cyanide) group is removed which is replaced with an OH (hydroxy) group and is now called Hydroxocobalamin.
Hydroxocobalamin is considered a storage form of cobalamin in the body and is present once the methyl or adenosyl group is no longer there after the enzymatic reactions. 
FUN FACT: Hydroxocobalamin is an FDA-approved treatment for cyanide poisoning because of the affinity between cyanide and hydroxocobalamin and is used in hospital emergency rooms for this purpose.  When someone has been exposed to cyanide and is treated with Hydroxocobalamin in the ER, cyanocobalamin is excreted in the urine as a detoxification product.

Cyanocobalamin is the MOST COMMON FORM OF VITAMIN B12 in supplements and when your body breaks it down, it leaves cyanide behind that must be detoxed or flushed out of the body. 

But, what happens with the leftover cyanide?

When someone takes cyanocobalamin as a supplement, one would naturally wonder what was happening with the cyanide group after the cyanide group and cobalamin were separated when they came into the body.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that a hydroxocobalamin molecule already in the body is now being marshaled to detox the cyanide group in the body and remove it as a detoxification product like what happens in the ER?

In having to detox the cyanide group, hydroxocobalamin is also lost from the body. Taking one molecule of cyanocobalamin as a dietary supplement results in the detox of one cyanocobalamin molecule. This is an example of a synthetic vitamin’s net zero benefit at best.


We shared with you the three major forms of vitamin B12 that supplement companies include in their products. Let’s take a look at why a supplement company would ever use Cyanocobalamin in their products.

It all boils down to cost, profits and the unknowledgeable consumer.

  • Adenosylcobalamin is approximately $9,200/kilo.

  • Methylcobalamin is approximately $550/kilo and is less expensive, because it has been on the market for a long time and is widely used by suppliers.

  • Cyanocobalamin is approximately $22/kilo and is the cheapest, because it is fairly easy to make, and most of it is processed in China.

Now let’s get back to those labels we had you take a look at in the beginning of this blog.


On Amazon the label below is 200 tablets for $8.97 or .0447 cents per tablet.

 Supplement facts


On Amazon the label below is 180 tablets for $43.15 or .239 cents per tablet.

 Supplement facts


The label below is from Dr. Tennant’s Restore Professional.  It is $242 for a 30 day supply (plus it has 80+ other high quality, bioavailable and methylated ingredients) and is $8.00 per serving.

 Restore Professional

We do get asked frequently why Dr. Tennant’s Restore costs so much. Now you know why. We ensure that in every scoop you are not only giving your body what it needs at the highest level of bioavailability and methylation, but we also ensure that you get all of the cofactors in the right amount, so you can get the most out of the supplements you take. 



It’s your body. It’s your life. Ingredients matter.


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