Vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin vs. Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin

What's the Difference?

Vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin and Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin are two forms of vitamin B12 that are commonly used as supplements. Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form of vitamin B12, while Methylcobalamin is the natural form. Methylcobalamin is believed to be more easily absorbed and utilized by the body compared to Cyanocobalamin. Additionally, Methylcobalamin is often preferred by individuals with certain health conditions, such as those with a MTHFR gene mutation, as it may be more effective in supporting methylation processes in the body. However, both forms of vitamin B12 are important for overall health and can help prevent deficiencies and support energy production.


AttributeVitamin B12 CyanocobalaminVitamin B12 Methylcobalamin
Chemical StructureCyanocobalaminMethylcobalamin
ConversionRequires conversion in the bodyDoes not require conversion
StabilityMore stableLess stable
CostLess expensiveMore expensive

Further Detail


Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, and neurological health. There are several forms of vitamin B12 available as supplements, with cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin being the most common. While both forms are effective in addressing vitamin B12 deficiency, they have some key differences in terms of absorption, bioavailability, and potential health benefits.

Chemical Structure

Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form of vitamin B12 commonly found in supplements and fortified foods. It is created by combining cyanide with cobalamin, forming a stable molecule that is easily absorbed by the body. On the other hand, methylcobalamin is the active form of vitamin B12 that is naturally present in animal-based foods. It is readily available for the body to use without the need for conversion, making it a preferred choice for some individuals.

Absorption and Bioavailability

One of the main differences between cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin is their absorption and bioavailability. Cyanocobalamin requires the body to convert it into methylcobalamin before it can be utilized, which may result in lower absorption rates for some individuals. In contrast, methylcobalamin is already in its active form, allowing for better absorption and utilization by the body. This makes methylcobalamin a more efficient option for those with absorption issues or specific health conditions.

Health Benefits

Both cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin offer similar health benefits when it comes to addressing vitamin B12 deficiency. They can help prevent anemia, support neurological function, and improve energy levels. However, some studies suggest that methylcobalamin may have additional benefits, such as better nerve regeneration and protection against neurodegenerative diseases. This is due to its active form, which allows for more efficient conversion and utilization of vitamin B12 in the body.

Safety and Side Effects

When it comes to safety, both cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin are considered safe for most individuals when taken at recommended doses. However, some people may experience side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, or allergic reactions. Cyanocobalamin contains a small amount of cyanide, which is naturally present in foods and water, but the levels are considered safe and unlikely to cause harm. Methylcobalamin, on the other hand, is generally well-tolerated and may be a better option for those with sensitivities to synthetic compounds.

Cost and Availability

In terms of cost and availability, cyanocobalamin is typically more affordable and widely available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and injections. It is the preferred choice for many healthcare providers due to its stability and long shelf life. On the other hand, methylcobalamin may be more expensive and harder to find, especially in certain regions or specialty stores. However, some individuals are willing to pay a premium for the potential benefits of using the active form of vitamin B12.


In conclusion, both cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin are effective forms of vitamin B12 that can help address deficiency and support overall health. While cyanocobalamin is more commonly used and cost-effective, methylcobalamin offers potential advantages in terms of absorption, bioavailability, and specific health benefits. Ultimately, the choice between the two forms may depend on individual needs, preferences, and health conditions. Consulting with a healthcare provider or nutritionist can help determine the best option for optimizing vitamin B12 levels and promoting overall well-being.

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