Is there a toxic cyanide-based ingredient added to children’s vitamins?

By July 4, 2024 Health

We came across a post on X claiming that children’s vitamins allegedly contain a toxic ingredient. The post features a brief video where the speaker states that cyanocobalamin, a cyanide-based form of vitamin B-12, is present in popular children’s vitamins like Flintstones vitamins and expresses disbelief at the inclusion of such an ingredient in vitamins.

Image credit: Flintstones Vitamins


Dropping Bombs

Reverse image searches of screenshots taken from the video circulating on X revealed that the person speaking was Gary Brecka. He appeared as a guest on the Dropping Bombs podcast in July 2022, hosted by Brad Lea, founder of a tech company called LightSpeed VT.

Brecka is the co-founder of 10X Health, a Florida-based health company that offers services such as genetic testing and also sells products such as supplements.


What is cyanocobalamin and is it in vitamins?

Vitamin B-12 is naturally present in animal-based foods such as meat, eggs and dairy products. It plays a crucial role in functions such as healthy red blood cell formation and DNA production.

According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), cyanocobalamin – a synthetic form of vitamin B-12 – is the most common type found in dietary supplements. The popular Flintstones children’s multivitamins contain cyanocobalamin as well.

Image credit: Flintstones Vitamins

Most individuals who maintain a balanced diet typically obtain sufficient levels of vitamin B-12 through their food. However, vitamin B-12 supplements are usually recommended for vegans, as they do not consume animal products, and for individuals with gastrointestinal disorders who might be unable to absorb enough vitamin B12 from their diet.


Is cyanocobalamin toxic?

In 2022, when similar concerns about the toxicity of cyanocobalamin circulated on Facebook, Dr. Herman B. Gray, chair of Wayne State University’s Department of Pediatrics, clarified to PolitiFact that cyanocobalamin is not the same as the poison cyanide and is not toxic. He explained that although cyanocobalamin contains a molecule of cyanide, it is not present in a quantity sufficient to cause poisoning.

Additionally, in a statement to USA Today, Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health, emphasised that the levels of cyanide in vitamin B-12 supplements are very low, and there is no evidence that it is toxic to humans. He also highlighted that foods like spinach, which are among the healthiest, naturally contain small amounts of cyanide.

Moreover, NIH’s fact sheet for health professionals affirms that vitamin B-12 is typically considered safe even in large doses as the human body excretes is and does not store excess amounts of it.

Therefore, the claim that a toxic cyanide-based ingredient is added to children’s vitamins is misleading and false. The synthetic vitamin B-12 added to supplements such as the Flintstones multivitamins contains extremely low levels of cyanide, which experts have deemed safe for consumption.

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