Clinical Nutritionist Chris Latham has put together an Info Sheet on Vitamin B12.  Check it out below. For more information on Chris and her services, visit

What does B12 do?

  • Essential for red blood formation and the oxygen carrying ability of red blood cells
  • Maintains healthy nerve cells – prevents neuropathy (skin numbness, tingling), mental health/cognitive function (neurotransmitters), and poor coordination
  • Helps in the production of DNA and RNA (your body’s genetic material) by building new cells and repairing damaged cells.

Foods rich in B12 (animal products):

  • Liver (where it’s stored)
  • Clams, oysters, crab
  • Beef
  • Fish (salmon, herring)
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese

Those at risk for B12 deficiency (difficult vitamin to absorb):

  • Vegans/vegetarians
  • People over 50 (due to low stomach acid)
  • Crohn’s, Colitis (inflamed colon inhibits absorption of nutrients)
  • Elderly

Four different forms of B12 (cobalamin):


Methylcobalamin can be used in the body, though it cannot be tolerated by everyone. Those who get jittery from caffeine, coke, or tea may not react as well to methyl B12.

Adenosylcobalamin is a special form of B12 that is important in the energy (ATP) cycle in the cells of your body. It is important to have adenosyl B12 but it is not as versatile as other forms.

Hydroxycobalamin (decreases nitric oxide) is a unique form of vitamin B12, which is more easily converted to the form that is actually used for reactions in the body. Hydroxycobalamin is more difficult to work with, harder to keep in an active form and more expensive than some other forms of B12, such as cyanocobalamin. For this reason, many products do not contain hydroxycobalamin and instead use cyanocobalamin.

Cyanocobalamin contains a cyanide molecule. So when you take cyanocobalamin your body must first turn it into hydroxycobalamin in order to use it, and then must find a way to get rid of the toxic cyanide molecule. The body actually uses up hydroxyB12 in order to detoxify cyanide. So, not only is cyanoB12 not in the form your body ultimately needs, but taking higher doses of cyanoB12 may actually deplete your stores of hydroxy B12. CyanoB12 is used because it is much less expensive, and a form of B12 that is easier to keep stable.