Cyanocobalamin is a vitamin of the B-complex family, commonly known as cobalamins (corrinoids). It is a synthetic or man-made form of vitamin B12 that
is available as a prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Cobalamins exist in several other chemical forms, including hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, and adenosylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the most common form of cobalamins used in nutritional supplements and fortified foods. It contains a cyano (cyanide) group in its structure, which makes it more stable than other forms of vitamin B12 as the cyanide stabilizes the molecule from deterioration. 


Cyanocobalamin does not naturally exist in foods owing to the presence of cyanide, which is absent in the natural form of the vitamin. The chemical structure of cyanocobalamin contains the rare mineral cobalt (4.34%), which binds the cyano group and is located in the center of a corrin ring.5 The commercial manufacturing of the vitamin is done through bacterial fermentation. Compared to other forms of vitamin B12, it is easier to crystallize and more air-stable.3 Cyanocobalamin is usually obtained as a dark red, amorphous, or crystalline powder, orthorhombic needles, or red crystals. The anhydrous form of the compound is highly hygroscopic. It may absorb up to 12% of water if exposed to air. Cyanocobalamin is sparingly soluble in alcohol and water (1 in 80 of water), but insoluble in chloroform, acetone, and ether. The coenzymes of this vitamin are highly unstable in light.


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