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Cyanide in Your B12 Supplement? Likely, Yes.

Sunday, January 28th 2024 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

The presence of cyanide in numerous vitamin B12 supplements is a subject of concern and curiosity. What implications does its use have for health and safety?

Many consumers trust that vitamin manufacturers prioritize their wellbeing. Strolling through drugstore aisles, one encounters countless products labeled as “natural” in the vitamin section, rarely questioning their contents. However, a deeper investigation into this area reveals a more troubling aspect of the industry, particularly concerning companies under the umbrella of major pharmaceutical corporations like Bayer.

The critical detail about the form of B12 used in most mainstream vitamins is cyanocobalamin. This article is dedicated to exploring this contentious subject. The views presented here might clash with those of some natural health experts, but it’s vital to have a dialogue about these controversial topics. The information and perspectives offered here aim to provide a balanced and cautious approach to the issue.

Cyanocobalamin: The Predominant Form of B12 in Supplements

Many consumers are unaware that a synthetic additive called cyanocobalamin, which contains cyanide, is commonly found in various vitamins and foods. This form of cyanide, bound organically to cobalamin (vitamin B12), is generally low-risk, provided the individual’s body can efficiently detoxify cyanide and hasn’t been overly exposed to environmental cyanide and similar compounds. However, genetic variations can affect a person’s ability to remove cyanide from cobalamin. Defects in a protein known as MMACHC are a major cause of inherited B12 metabolism disorders. People with these dysfunctions should opt for cyanide-free B12 forms like aquacobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, or methylcobalamin.

Cyanocobalamin is widely used because it is inexpensive (often derived from treated sewage sludge or animal tissue) and stable. Despite its prevalence, it is not the ideal form of B12, as the body must first remove the cyanide component for it to fulfill its essential biological roles. While cyanide-bound B12 has been researched for its potential benefits, and vitamin B deficiency can be severely detrimental to health, it is not without risks and is considered inferior to cyanide-free forms.

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