Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, comes from intestinal microorganisms, soil, and water. Since plants do not absorb the vitamin B12 present in water and soil, they do not count as a viable source. While many people consume enough vitamin B12, malabsorption can cause a deficiency. Manufacturers need a reliable source of this additive to address such nutritional needs. Let Brenntag help you obtain cyanocobalamin from the world's leading suppliers.


Cyanocobalamin is the only vitamin to have a metal ion, featuring cobalt. Because of the presence of cobalt, compounds containing vitamin B12 are called cobalamins. Vitamin B12 has the chemical formula C63H88CoN14O14P and a molecular weight of 1355.388 g/mol. It has a dark red, crystalline appearance in its pure form and no taste or smell. This compound begins to boil or melt at a temperature of 300 degrees Celsius. Vitamin B12 appears naturally in animal sources such as meat and dairy. However, synthetic versions are also available.

Vitamin B12 travels through the bloodstream due to its water-soluble nature. It eventually goes to the intestine, where it synthesizes with intrinsic factor, a substance in the digestive system. Any amount that does not get absorbed by the body exits in urine. Adults should consume at least 2.4 mcg of cyanocobalamin daily. The digestive system absorbs approximately 56 percent of a 1mcg dose of vitamin B12, but this percentage lowers for higher doses. Older adults, people with intestinal disorders and other populations can have difficulty absorbing cyanocobalamin.

Many of the body's most important functions rely on vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin supports nerve function and blood cell formation. It maintains the myelin sheaths that protect the nervous system from damage. DNA and neuron synthesis need vitamin B12 to work properly. A cyanocobalamin deficiency causes anemia, neurological changes, and other severe health issues.

Uses of Vitamin B12 in the Food Industry

Vegetarians and older adults count on products from the food and nutrition industry for vitamin B12. Strict vegetarians who do not eat animal products do not have a natural source, so they need a synthetic alternative. Ovo-lacto vegetarians may not consume a sufficient amount of cyanocobalamin. The digestive systems of older adults have more difficulty absorbing vitamin B12, requiring increased consumption.

Food producers manufacture vitamin-fortified products for marketing and compliance purposes. The United States does not require fortification, but Canada mandates adding vitamin B12 to products like meat substitutes. Many U.S. companies add cyanocobalamin to cereals and beverages for marketability. They promote these products for people with special diets and health-conscious customers.

Nutraceutical companies sell vitamin B12 as a supplement. One kind provides only vitamin B12, and another adds B-12 as part of a B-complex vitamin. Multivitamin formulas and specialized formulas also contain cyanocobalamin. Specialized supplements that contain vitamin B12 include formulas for vegetarian nutrition, focus enhancement, and energy.


Brenntag North America partners with top vitamin B12 suppliers across the world. Our account managers understand the food industry, and they will work with you the find the perfect formulations for your business. Contact us for a custom quote today.


Let Brenntag know what you’re looking for and we will tell you more about our wide range of vitamin raw materials. We are most proud of our position as a leading U.S. source for raw supplement ingredients and advanced nutraceuticals for the vitamin industry. With over 190 locations across North America, we are strategically positioned to give you the best sales and service possible. Learn more about what Brenntag can do for your business today!

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