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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in meat, fish, and dairy products. It can also be manufactured in a laboratory and is frequently combined with other B vitamins.

Pure Medical - Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in meat, fish, and dairy products. It can also be manufactured in a laboratory and is frequently combined with other B vitamins.

Overview

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in meat, fish, and dairy products. It can also be manufactured in a laboratory and is frequently combined with other B vitamins.

Many parts of the body, including the brain, nerves, and blood cells, rely on vitamin B12 for proper function and development. The active form of vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin. The most common type used in supplements is cyanocobalamin, which must be converted by the body into an active form.

Vitamin B12 is commonly used to treat vitamin B12 deficiency, cyanide poisoning, and high levels of homocysteine in the blood. It is also used to treat canker sores, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, fatigue, and a variety of other conditions, but there is little scientific evidence to back up most of these claims.

 

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Source

Sources of Vitamin B12

Food. Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal-derived foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Furthermore, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts are readily available, high bioavailability sources of vitamin B12.

Sources to consider include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • milk
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • some fortified breakfast cereals

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Uses & effectiveness

Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, serves a variety of purposes.

These are some of them:

  • A rare inherited condition characterised by a lack of vitamin B12 (Imerslund-Grasbeck disease). This condition can be effectively treated by administering vitamin B12 as a shot for 10 days, followed by monthly injections. Only a healthcare provider can administer vitamin B12 shots.
  • Deficiency of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated and prevented by taking it orally, as a shot, or by inhaling it through the nose. Only a healthcare provider can administer vitamin B12 shots.
  • Poisoning with cyanide. A shot of hydroxocobalamin (Cyanokit), a natural form of vitamin B12, is likely to be effective in treating cyanide poisoning. Only a healthcare provider can administer vitamin B12 shots.
  • Canker sores. Applying vitamin B12 ointment or taking vitamin B12 under the tongue appears to help reduce canker sore symptoms.
  • Homocysteine levels in the blood are elevated (hyperhomocysteinemia). Taking vitamin B12 orally, along with folic acid and, in some cases, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), can help lower homocysteine levels in the blood.
  • Shingles cause nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia). In people with shingles nerve damage, injecting vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin under the skin six times weekly for up to four weeks reduces pain. Only a healthcare provider can administer vitamin B12 injections.

Some believe that Vitamin B12 can also help with the following conditions but there is little scientific evidence to corroborate:

  • Memory and thinking skills deteriorate as we get older. Taking vitamin B6, folic acid, and vitamin B12 orally has no effect on mental function in the elderly.
  • Cataracts. Taking vitamin B12 orally along with vitamin B6 and folic acid does not appear to prevent cataracts in women. It may even increase the likelihood of needing cataract surgery.
  • Disorders that affect when a person sleeps and wakes up. Taking vitamin B12 orally does not appear to help people who suffer from sleep disorders.
  • Memory and reasoning abilities (cognitive function). Taking vitamin B12 orally, alone or in combination with folic acid and vitamin B6, does not appear to improve memory and thinking skills in the elderly.
  • Preventing falls. Taking folic acid along with vitamin B12 orally does not appear to prevent falls in older people who are also taking vitamin D.
  • Bones that are weak and brittle (osteoporosis). Taking vitamin B12 and folic acid orally, with or without vitamin B6, does not appear to reduce fractures in osteoporotic older people.
  • Physical performance in the elderly. Taking vitamin B12 and folic acid orally does not appear to help older people improve their physical function.

There is some interest in using vitamin B12 for a variety of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable data to say whether it will be beneficial.

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Side Effects

Vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe when taken in appropriate doses. While 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B-12 is the recommended daily amount for adults, higher doses have been found to be safe. Your body absorbs only what it requires, and any excess is excreted in your urine.

High vitamin B-12 doses, such as those used to treat a deficiency, may result in:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet

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If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed on this page. In the UK you can also report side effects directly to the Yellow Card Scheme By reporting side effects you can help provide vital information on the safety of this medical supplement.

Is this medicine suitable for you?

Take precautions:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding. When taken in the recommended amounts, vitamin B12 is probably safe to take by mouth during pregnancy or breastfeeding. 2.6 mcg per day is the recommended amount during pregnancy. Breast-feeding mothers should take 2.8 mcg per day. Larger amounts are unknown in terms of safety.
  • Post-surgical stent placement. After receiving a coronary stent, avoid using a combination of vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6. This combination may raise the likelihood of blood vessel narrowing.
  • Allergy or sensitivity to cobalt or cobalamin. If you have this condition, avoid taking vitamin B12.

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Consult your doctor

If you are taking any of the following medicines please consult your doctor:

  • Aminosalicylic acid (Paser). This drug, which is used to treat digestive problems, may impair your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare, Gloperba). This anti-inflammatory medication used to prevent and treat gout attacks may impair your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Metformin (Glumetza, Fortamet, others). This diabetes medication may impair your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Proton pump inhibitors. Taking omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), or other stomach acid-lowering medications may impair your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12.
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements. Taking vitamin B-12 with vitamin C may reduce the amount of vitamin B-12 available in your body. To avoid this interaction, take vitamin C two hours or more after taking vitamin B-12.

To avoid any potential interactions, your doctor may advise you to switch medications or time your doses.

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Dosage

Vitamin B12 is a necessary nutrient. Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as fish, shellfish, meat, eggs, and dairy products. The recommended dietary allowance is the amount that should be consumed on a daily basis (RDA). For people over the age of 18, the RDA is 1.5 mcg per day. The RDA for pregnant women is 2.6 mcg per day. The RDA for breastfeeding is 2.8 mcg per day. The RDA for children varies according to age.

People over the age of 50 should consume vitamin B12-fortified foods or take a vitamin B12 supplement. Vitamin B12 levels in older adults have been maintained by taking 25-100 mcg daily by mouth. Speak with a healthcare provider to determine what dose is appropriate for you.

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Other names

OTHER NAME(S):
B-12, B12, B Complex Vitamin, Bedumil, Cobalamin, Cobalamine, Cobamin, Cobamine, Complexe Vitaminique B, Cyanocobalamin, Cyanocobalamine, Cyanocobalaminum, Cycobemin, Hydroxocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamine, Hydroxocobalaminum, Hydroxocobemine, Hydroxocobémine, Idrossocobalamina, Methylcobalamin, Méthylcobalamine, Vitadurin, Vitadurine, Vitamina B12, Vitamine B12.
INGREDIENTS:
Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are metabolically active forms of vitamin B12. However, two other forms, hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin, become biologically active after they are converted to methylcobalamin or 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin

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