Vitamin B12 is a non-negotiable supplement to take when following a plant-based lifestyle. Looking for a new vegan B12 supplement? Consider this list of popular, well-loved options. From easy-to-swallow capsules to dissolvable tablets, there’s something for everyone on this list. You can even take B12 as liquids, drink mixes, and sprays if swallowing pills isn’t your thing.
We recommend consulting your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any new supplement regimen so they can help you determine the best choice and dosage. Not sure where to start? Our top picks below will help you avoid aimlessly wandering the vitamin aisle.
At a glance:
- Best Overall: Future Kind Vegan B12 Spray
- Best Chewable: Ora Organics Buzzy B12
- Best Gummies: MaryRuth’s Vegan Vitamin D3+B12 Gummy
Table of Contents
What to Look for in a B12 Supplement
Over-the-counter, oral B12 supplements are available in different forms: cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. Therefore, it helps to understand the difference before browsing the aisle (or the internet).
Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic (manmade) form of B12. It’s commonly used in fortified foods and supplements because of its low cost and temperature stability. In the body, cyanocobalamin is converted to methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, which are naturally-occurring coenzyme forms.
Methylcobalamin is a natural form of B12. According to a February 2017 review in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, it is the preferred version due to its superior bioavailability. However, in a July 2015 study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, researchers concluded that it has no advantage over its synthetic counterpart. Methylcobalamin is also more sensitive to breakdown from exposure to light, according to registered dietitian Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD.
So, which one should you choose? Well, the best option depends on several factors, such as your budget. “Cyanocobalamin is less expensive and more stable,” explains Panoff. This means it’s less likely to degrade when exposed to things like temperature and light. However, “both types of vitamin B12 can be beneficial for preventing and treating deficiency. Whichever form you choose, it’s best to take it on its own — rather than part of a multivitamin — for the best absorption and to ensure you’re getting a large enough dosage,” says Panoff.
Our Top Picks
If you’re looking for a new B12 supplement, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered our top picks for vitamin B12 supplements, below.
And again, always consult a health professional before taking a new supplement, especially if you are taking medication, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Methylcobalamin | 500 mcg per 1 ML spray
Future Kind makes several forms of B12, including this wild berry-flavored spray. The directions are to take 5 sprays per day, but this can be adjusted based on the dosage that’s right for your needs. You’ll receive 500 mcg of B12 in the form of methylcobalamin per 1 ML serving of this product.
Other B12 products from Future Kind include their chewable tablets, which produce 1,000 mcg of methylcobalamin per serving, and gummies, which provide 500 mcg of B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin per serving.
Methylcobalamin | 1,500 mcg per chewable tablet
If you prefer a single chewable tablet, Ora Organics makes a great option that provides 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 per serving, in the form of methylcobalamin. With just one tablet per day, this is a convenient way to ensure you’re meeting your B12 needs on a vegan diet.
It carries a USDA Organic certification seal, is free from artificial flavors and fillers, and comes in a raspberry flavor that has plenty of positive consumer reviews.
Adenosylcobalamin 500 mcg / Hydroxycobalamin 500 mcg / Methylcobalamin 500 mcg | 1500 mcg per 3-spray serving
Complement offers an array of products meant to help support the nutritional needs of a plant-based diet. This raspberry-flavored Vegan Triple B12 Liquid Spray provides 1500 mcg of total vitamin B12 per spray, which is equally divided as 500 mcg of adenosylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and methylcobalamin each.
One serving is equivalent to three liquid sprays and each bottle contains 60 servings. Plus, this brand partners with Food for Life Global, so every Complement product purchased provides one vegan meal for a child in need.
Methylcobalamin | 5,000 mcg per 1 ML drop
Live Conscious’ Maximum Strength Vegan B12 is a sublingual formula that uses the methylcobalamin form of B12 for high bioavailability. A single 1 ML drop taken once daily with water is designed to replenish your body, offering you clarity, energy, and focus. It’s also vegan, non-GMO, and preservative-free.
Methylcobalamin | 1,000 mcg per tablet
If you’re looking for a dose of B12 that goes the extra mile, try this supplement by Hum. In addition to 1,000 mcg of methylcobalamin, it also offers calcium, an essential nutrient for bone health. One tablet taken once daily with food is formulated to support cognitive function and blood cell formation. This dietary supplement is also a soy-free, preservative-free, nut-free, and gluten-free product.
Cyanocobalamin | 500 mcg per tablet
This vegan supplement from MegaFood offers not one, not two, but three essential vitamins. It contains 500 mcg of cyanocobalamin, along with folate and vitamin B6. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is required for healthy red blood cell production. Meanwhile, vitamin B6 is necessary for immune and brain function. In addition, this supplement includes an organic food blend of beetroot, brown rice, and broccoli.
Due to these additional nutrients, this supplement packs quite the punch. It can also be taken on an empty stomach, according to the brand.
Methylcobalamin + Adenosylcobalamin + Hydroxocobalamin | 5,000 mcg per 1 ML drop
The first thing you’ll notice about Global Healing Center’s Vegansafe B12 is that it uses a unique blend of 60% Methylcobalamin, 20% Adenosylcobalamin, and 20% Hydroxocobalamin. These are naturally occurring coenzyme forms of B12, which the manufacturer claims is the most pure, active, bioavailable coenzyme combination available.
Global Healing Center recommends you take 1ML of their B12 supplement in the morning, on an empty stomach, to get the most out of it. They also recommend holding the liquid in your mouth for 15 seconds before swallowing.
Methylcobalamin | 1,000 mcg per capsule
With NATURELO’s vegan B12 supplement with spirulina, you can add even more nutrients to your daily routine. Each capsule offers not only 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin, but 200 mg of spirulina as well. Spirulina is teeming with protein, iron, and copper — three nutrients that are also of concern in vegan and vegetarian diets.
What’s more, NATURELO’s vegan supplement is free of gluten, soy, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives.
Methylcobalamin | 1,000 mcg per tablet
Deva’s “fast dissolve” supplement offers a convenient way to get your daily dose of B12. The sublingual tablets are designed to be placed under your tongue, allowing them to quickly dissolve. It’s an excellent option if you don’t want to chew or swallow your daily supplements.
These oral supplements are made with methylcobalamin for optimal bioavailability. Additionally, one tablet contains 100% of the recommended daily intakes for both vitamin B6 and folic acid.
Methylcobalamin | 250 mcg per gummy (+25 mcg D3)
A list of vegan B12 supplements wouldn’t be complete without a gummy option. This one is perfect for anyone who’s also interested in taking a vitamin D supplement since you can work in your B12 and D3 into a single serving.
MaryRuth’s vitamin D3+B12 gummies are made with pectin instead of gelatin, so they’re completely vegan-friendly. It also doesn’t hurt that they feature a yummy strawberry flavor, too. Great for adults and kids!
Methylcobalamin | 500 mcg per spray
With a vitamin B12 spray like this supplement by Garden of Life, you can simply toss the bottle in your bag and head out the door. It’s perfect if you’re traveling and don’t want to handle supplements with your hands. This particular spray is raspberry-flavored, gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher. The well-known Garden of Life brand is commonly available in health food stores, too, so this one’s easy to find on routine grocery shopping excursions.
Vegan B12 Supplement Buyer’s Guide
Before shopping for B12 supplements for vegans, here’s what you need to know about the vitamin.
Vegan Foods with B12
Unfortunately, you’re not going to get all of the vitamin B12 you need from vegan food sources, says Panoff, so it remains really important to supplement. Plant foods or products that contain B12 have been fortified with the nutrient, as they don’t naturally contain it.
- Fortified plant-based milk and dairy alternatives. “When plant milks — like soy, pea, oat, almond, or cashew milk — are fortified with vitamin B12, they often provide at least 50% of your daily needs in a one-cup serving,” explains Panoff. However, “not all non-dairy alternatives are fortified with B12, so it’s important to read the ingredient label.”
- Fortified cereals. “Some cereals, like General Mills Total, are fortified to meet 100% of your daily needs for vitamin B12 in a one-cup serving,” shares Panoff. You can enhance the B12 content even further by eating these cereals with fortified plant milk.
- Fortified nutritional yeast. According to Panoff, “One tablespoon of fortified nutritional yeast will generally provide 100% of the daily value for B12.” But like fortified plant-based milks, not all nutritional yeast is fortified, so be sure to read the label.
Vegan B12 FAQ
A quick bio lesson: Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the last part of the small intestine, known as the ileum. The ileum leads to the large intestine or the colon. According to Panoff, certain bacteria in the colon produce B12. However, since this occurs after the ileum (where B12 is absorbed), it’s unable to meet our needs.
And while a vegan diet can be full of healthy, nutrient-dense foods, it’s not sufficient in vitamin B12 on its own to prevent deficiency, says Panoff. So, the most reliable and consistent way to meet your B12 needs on a vegan diet is to take a daily supplement, she explains. Another option is to take a higher dose of vitamin B12 a few times per week.
You can become vitamin B12 deficient. According to Panoff, the first sign of B12 deficiency is often fatigue from anemia, a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells. This is noteworthy because red blood cells are in charge of carrying oxygen to energize all your tissues, including your muscles and organs.
Without treatment, B12 deficiency can eventually lead to tingling limbs, blindness, and dementia. (This is due to B12’s critical role in the nervous system, says Panoff.) Also, it can lead to high levels of a protein called homocysteine, as B12 is normally responsible for regulating it. Over time, high levels of homocysteine “can lead to a higher risk for heart disease, cognitive decline, stroke, and early death,” notes Panoff.
In general, the recommendation for adults is at least 2.4 to 4 mcg per day, says Panoff. “However, only 40 to 50% of vitamin B12 is absorbed at a time,” she adds. In order to get enough, you can either supplement smaller amounts (1-100 mcg) 1 to 3 times per day or supplement higher doses, such as 300 mcg 3 times per week or 2,500 mcg once per week. This chart lists suggested doses from vegan dietitians for various age groups and life stages.
“While B12 itself is vegan, supplemental products may contain non-vegan ingredients,” shares Panoff. If this is important to you, “Read the label to be sure it doesn’t contain things like gelatin, carmine, caprylic acid, or magnesium stearate. Usually, vegan supplements will note that they are indeed vegan.”
According to Panoff, vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria that live in the soil, as well as the intestines of humans and animals. “When B12 is used to make a vegan supplement, it’s made by bacteria and comes from bacterial cultures, not from animal products,” she adds.