Cheapest Source of Vitamin B12

Cheapest Source of Vitamin B12
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Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) supplementation can cost as little as $2 a year.

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The cheapest way to get our B12 is probably one 2500 microgram sublingual, chewable, or liquid supplement of cyanocobalamin once a week. This stuff is dirt cheap. You can find a twenty-year supply online for 40 bucks. All the B12 our body needs for $2 a year! Of course, the stuff doesn’t last twenty years. It has a four-year expiration date, so share it with some friends.

For those mathematically-minded who are thinking, wait a sec. If you only need 4 to 7 micrograms a day, why do you have to take 2500 a week? Well, it’s a little complicated, but let’s do it. Our B12 receptors become saturated at as little as 1.5. So we can only absorb 1.5 at a time through our receptor system. But about 1% of the rest passively diffuses right through our gut into our bloodstream.

So, for those of you into this kind of thing, let’s do the math. When we take a 2500 microgram dose, we absorb 1.5 through our receptor system, and then 1% of the 2498.5 that’s left. So, inside our body, we now have 1.5 plus that 1%. That comes out to be about 26.5. You do that once a week, and that averages to about 4 micrograms a day. So, we should take at least 2500 micrograms once a week. We could take 3000 a week; 5000. If you take too much, all you get is expensive pee. And at a couple of bucks a year, it’s not even that expensive.

Even though it is a water-soluble vitamin, we don’t have to take it every day, because throughout our evolution, our bodies were so used to getting such tiny amounts (maybe some wooly mammoth pooped upstream or something) that our body devised an ingenious way to hold onto it. So that’s why we can do this kind of averaging over time.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

The cheapest way to get our B12 is probably one 2500 microgram sublingual, chewable, or liquid supplement of cyanocobalamin once a week. This stuff is dirt cheap. You can find a twenty-year supply online for 40 bucks. All the B12 our body needs for $2 a year! Of course, the stuff doesn’t last twenty years. It has a four-year expiration date, so share it with some friends.

For those mathematically-minded who are thinking, wait a sec. If you only need 4 to 7 micrograms a day, why do you have to take 2500 a week? Well, it’s a little complicated, but let’s do it. Our B12 receptors become saturated at as little as 1.5. So we can only absorb 1.5 at a time through our receptor system. But about 1% of the rest passively diffuses right through our gut into our bloodstream.

So, for those of you into this kind of thing, let’s do the math. When we take a 2500 microgram dose, we absorb 1.5 through our receptor system, and then 1% of the 2498.5 that’s left. So, inside our body, we now have 1.5 plus that 1%. That comes out to be about 26.5. You do that once a week, and that averages to about 4 micrograms a day. So, we should take at least 2500 micrograms once a week. We could take 3000 a week; 5000. If you take too much, all you get is expensive pee. And at a couple of bucks a year, it’s not even that expensive.

Even though it is a water-soluble vitamin, we don’t have to take it every day, because throughout our evolution, our bodies were so used to getting such tiny amounts (maybe some wooly mammoth pooped upstream or something) that our body devised an ingenious way to hold onto it. So that’s why we can do this kind of averaging over time.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Nota del Doctor

This is the third of a five-part video series this week on Vitamin B12. For why one might choose supplements and fortified foods, see Safest Source of B12. Next, I cover various daily regimens in Daily Source of Vitamin B12. B12 is one of the few Vitamin Supplements Worth Taking.

And if you’re new to the issue, see my blog post, Vegan B12 Deficiency: Putting It into Perspective, for some background. If you’re that much of a nutri-nerd to enjoy these derivations, see my nine-part video series on vitamin D, starting with Vitamin D Recommendations Changed. If you’d rather just cut to the chase, see my Optimum Nutrition Recommendations

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Best Nutrition Bang for Your Buck, and What Is the Healthiest Meat?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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