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What Do You Take Vitamin B12 For

What Is This Medicine

What You Need To Know About Vitamin B12 | Vegan Diets

CYANOCOBALAMIN is a man made form of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential in the development of healthy blood cells, nerve cells, and proteins in the body. It also helps with the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It is added to a healthy diet to prevent or treat low vitamin B-12 levels.

This medicine may be used for other purposes ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

Food Sources Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria in the bodies of certain animals, so foods containing B12 are only animal-based foods. Beef liver and clams contain the most vitamin B12 per serving. Plant-based foods are often fortified with B12, useful if you don’t eat meat or fish. Examples of foods containing vitamin B12 include:

  • Meat: beef, pork, lamb, venison, organ meats
  • Fish and seafood
  • Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey
  • Dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, eggs
  • Fortified foods: such as grains, cereals and health bars, plant milks, nutritional yeast and some soy products

How And When To Take Vitamin B12

In the case of more severe deficiencies of this vitamin, it may be treated with injections of vitamin B12, because this method bypasses any barriers to absorption. As such it is often recognized as the most effective method to elevate serum vitamin B12 levels.

However, oral supplementation can also be effective and is often recommended. Vitamin B12 supplements are available in capsule, tablet, or liquid form.

When choosing a dietary supplement, we suggest looking for the form methylcobalamin, the active form of the vitamin, for better absorption of vitamin B12. It is recommended to take it in the morning or at the beginning of your day with water as it can support energy levels.

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May Give You An Energy Boost

Vitamin B12 supplements have long been touted as the go-to product for a surge of energy.

All B vitamins play an important role in your bodys energy production, though they dont necessarily provide energy themselves .

Currently, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that vitamin B12 supplements can boost energy in those with sufficient levels of this vitamin .

On the other hand, if youre significantly deficient in vitamin B12, taking a supplement or increasing your intake will likely improve your energy level .

In fact, one of the most common early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is fatigue or lack of energy.


Vitamin B12 is involved in energy production in your body. Taking a supplement may improve your energy level, but only if youre deficient in this vitamin.

Digestive Problems Can Cause It

Vitamin B12: What you Need to Know

People who deal with GI issues are at a higher risk of a B12 shortage because digestive problems can make absorbing the nutrient more difficult, says Middleberg. “Those with gut issues, such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut syndrome are at a higher risk,” she says. Celiac disease sufferers can also have problems with absorption. If you have any of these, talk to your doctor about supplements or B12 shots, since all the B12-rich food in the world won’t help your body shore up its reserves if it can’t be absorbed by the GI tract.

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What Are Vitamin B12 Injections

As you consider the pros and cons of a vitamin B12 injection, its helpful to understand what they are and how they work. Injections are given intramuscularly, whether you visit a doctors office, med spa, or in my case, walk up to my neighborhood wellness truck. In other words, a quick shot. They can either be prescribed by a doctor or made via appointment. Some wellness centers take walk-ins too.

Injections are usually administered as hydroxocobalamin or cyanocobalamin . These are very effective at raising blood levels of vitamin B12, thus preventing or reversing a vitamin B12 deficiency. Hydroxocobalamin, in particular, is usually the recommended option as it stays in the body longer. On average, the price of an injection costs anywhere from $20-$100.

Vitamin B12 Absorption Vs Intake

If you are concerned about how often you should take vitamin B12, you should understand that intake does not equal absorption. Ideally, 100% of what you ingest would reach your cells and be used appropriately. Unfortunately, this does not happen. Intake and absorption are two different things that you might want to consider.

Oral supplements in the form of pills and tablets pass through the gastrointestinal tract. While inside the stomach, vitamin B12 is adequately absorbed through the help of stomach acid. However, some of the vitamin B12 you ingest may be processed and excreted through your urine and stool.

Because of the variables involved with absorption, vitamin B12 injections may be recommended in some cases. Absorption rates with injections may be better than those for oral tablets in some people. Still, not everyone can tolerate an injection. B12 injections may also be more expensive and require medical supervision during administration.

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Will Too Much Vitamin B12 Cause Any Side Effects

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin needed to help your body stay healthy. It can be found in meat, fish and dairy foods. You can also find it in forms of a supplement, available in caplets, as injections or an absorbable gel. Also referred to as cyanocobalamin, it is needed to make DNA, maintain red blood cells and support nerve cells. It increases blood flow to the brain and inner ear, which decreases the rate of cognitive and hearing loss. Too much vitamin B12 side effects are nil as you cannot accumulate it to toxic levels. However, if your B12 levels are high, it may be due to an underlying disease.

Who Needs To Take Vitamin B12 Supplements

Ask Dr. Nandi: Should you take Vitamin B12 to boost mood?

Heres the dirt: vitamin B-12 is a very important micronutrient, essential for the metabolism of every cell in the entire body.

This water-soluble vitamin is essential for the health of the entire nervous system and plays an important role in the formation of healthy red blood cells. But contrary to popular belief, B12 does not originate in either animal or plant-based foods.

So what is B12? And how do we get it?

Bacteria found in soil and in animal digestive systems produce B12.

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Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The human liver stores several years worth of vitamin B12, so having a deficiency isnt very common. However, its important to know what your levels are, after all, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to your nerves and affect brain function. A few symptoms of B12 deficiency include: Conditions of the small intestine , anemia, fatigue, constipation, poor balance, memory loss, shortness of breath, and more.

How Often Are B12 Injections Needed Whats Is Recommended

B12 is one of the most important nutrients our bodies need to not only survive but thrive. This nutrient is responsible for keeping our blood and nerve cells strong, healthy and vibrant. Vitamin B12 also helps with the production of vital red blood cells. B12 helps your body make DNA. Whether you eat a vegan, vegetarian or standard diet, vitamin B12 is necessary for a healthy body.

One of the most common questions associated with b12 injections is regarding how often they are needed. The frequency of vitamin B12 injections varies based upon individual factors which we will get into in a moment. As a general rule, injections are needed every 3 to 4 months. Moon Aesthetics offers B12 injections.

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May Benefit Your Brain By Preventing The Loss Of Neurons

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with memory loss, especially in older adults.

The vitamin may play a role in preventing brain atrophy, which is the loss of neurons in the brain and often associated with memory loss or dementia.

One study in people with early-stage dementia showed that a combination of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acid supplements slowed mental decline .

Another study found that even vitamin B12 levels on the low side of normal can contribute to poor memory performance. As a result, supplementing with this vitamin may improve memory, even in the absence of a clinically diagnosed deficiency .

More research is needed to make sound conclusions on the effect of vitamin B12 supplements on memory and cognitive function.


Vitamin B12 may help prevent brain atrophy and memory loss. More research is needed to conclude if supplementing with this vitamin can improve memory in those without a deficiency.

What Happens If You Take B12 With Food

Do you have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Even if you take it with food, youll still absorb some, and the amount of B12 that you actually need to absorb from supplements is very low.

The RDA of B12 is only a few micrograms, and most supplements have over 1,000 micrograms per serving.

So if youre really concerned about getting enough B12, like if youre in the process of correcting an existing deficiency, have it on an empty stomach. Otherwise, you dont need to worry about if you take B12 with or without food too much.

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May Improve Mood And Symptoms Of Depression

Vitamin B12 may improve your mood.

The effect of vitamin B12 on mood is not yet fully understood. However, this vitamin plays a vital role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood.

Therefore, vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to decreased serotonin production, which may cause a depressed mood.

Studies support the use of vitamin B12 supplements for improving symptoms of depression in people deficient in this vitamin.

One study in people with depression and low vitamin B12 levels found that those who received both antidepressants and vitamin B12 were more likely to show improved depressive symptoms, compared to those treated with antidepressants alone (

13 ).

Additionally, high vitamin B12 levels have been linked to better treatment outcomes and an increased probability of recovery from major depressive disorder .

Though vitamin B12 supplements may help improve mood and depression in people with a deficiency, research does not currently suggest that they have the same effect in those with normal B12 levels.


Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. Vitamin B12 supplements may help improve mood in people with an existing deficiency.

When Is The Best Time To Take Calcium

Many people consider calcium to be a vitamin, but its actually a mineral. So, youll want to be careful and not overdo it with calcium. Most people can get a sufficient amount of it from food. But if youre not eating enough calcium-rich foods or youre postmenopausal, Dr. Perez-Gallardo says youll need to take calcium the right way to decrease bone loss and osteoporosis.

Calcium supplements come in two forms: calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. The best time to take calcium depends on the kind you take, explains Dr. Perez-Gallardo.

  • Calcium carbonate: To be properly absorbed, this type requires acid in the stomach. Take it with a meal because you produce stomach acids when you eat.
  • Calcium citrate: You can take it with or without food because your body can absorb it with or without acids. Doctors often recommend calcium citrate for patients who take antacids.

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Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity


Measuring vitamin B12 in the blood is actually not the best way to determine whether someone is deficient, as some people with a deficiency can show normal B12 blood levels. Blood levels of methylmalonic acid, a protein breakdown product, and homocysteine are better markers that capture actual vitamin B12 activity. These values increase with a vitamin B12 deficiency. It is estimated that up to 15% of the general population has a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Factors that may cause vitamin B12 deficiency:

Signs of deficiency may include:

  • Megaloblastic anemiaa condition of larger than normal sized red blood cells and a smaller than normal amount this occurs because there is not enough vitamin B12 in the diet or poor absorption
  • Pernicious anemiaa type of megaloblastic anemia caused by a lack of intrinsic factor so that vitamin B12 is not absorbed
  • Fatigue, weakness

How Can I Know If I’m Not Getting Enough B12

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B12 is a pretty common vitamin deficiency, impacting up to 15 percent of the general population, per the NIH. There are a few health conditions that make it more likely that you’ll struggle with this, Warren says. Those include Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, Graves’ disease, and lupus.

However, it’s also possible for you to struggle with a B12 deficiency even if you don’t have an underlying health condition. Strict vegetarians and vegans are also at a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency than lacto-ovo vegetarians and non-vegetarians, according to the NIH.

Gans says that if you’re not getting enough B12 on a regular basis, you could suffer from vitamin deficiency anemia, a condition in which your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells. This can lead to numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, mental confusion, weight loss, and generally feeling wiped out and weak, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. If you suspect that you’re deficient in B12 Warren recommends that you talk to your doctor, who can order a blood test to help determine if that’s the case.

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Who Should Take Vitamin B12 Supplements

People at risk of experiencing vitamin B12 deficiency are recommended for taking Vitamin B12 supplements. These include older adults, vegetarians and vegans, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those suffering from intestinal problems, dietary restrictions, and those who have had stomach surgery.

Most healthy people dont have any need for supplementation. They can get their B12 simply by eating B12-rich foods and a healthy diet.

Importance Of Vitamin B

Vitamin B-12 promotes healthy red blood cells, which are necessary for oxygenating your tissues. Vitamin B-12 deficiency affects the development and function of red blood cells in such a way that it leads to temporary anemia. Vitamin B-12 also helps your body make myelin, a protective coating that surrounds each nerve cell to support nerve function. A deficiency also damages your myelin sheath, causing nerve damage that can prove irreparable.

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It Can Be Mistaken For Dementia

“Symptoms of a deficiency often mimic those of dementia, such as memory loss, disorientation, and difficulty thinking and reasoning,” says Middleberg. It can be hard distinguishing deficiency from dementia, especially since older folks are at risk for both. And the two conditions often overlap: 75% to 90% of B12 deficient people also have neurological complications such as dementia, says Moon. But even when a B12 shortage strikes younger people, it still typically resembles dementia. Experts aren’t exactly sure of the relationship between the two, but patients with unexplained cognitive decline should be tested for B12 deficiency, suggests Moon.

May Improve Heart Health By Decreasing Homocysteine

Vitamin B12: Why You Should Care Even if You Eat Meat

High blood levels of the common amino acid homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

If youre significantly deficient in vitamin B12, your homocysteine levels become elevated.

Studies have shown that vitamin B12 helps decrease homocysteine levels, which may reduce your risk of heart disease (

Therefore, further research is needed to understand the relationship between vitamin B12 and heart health.


Vitamin B12 can decrease blood homocysteine, a type of amino acid that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. However, research does not currently support the claim that vitamin B12 reduces this risk.

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When Is The Best Time To Take Vitamin C And Vitamin B12

Vitamin C and vitamin B12 are water-soluble vitamins, which means you need water to absorb them. Take water-soluble vitamins on an empty stomach with a glass of water, recommends Dr. Perez-Gallardo.

And since it can be energizing, Dr. Perez-Gallardo says that the best time to take vitamin B12 is in the morning, so it wont affect your sleep.

Helps Form Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to tissues throughout our body. They also carry carbon dioxide a toxic by-product of cell functioning from those tissues back to the lungs where it’s then expelled.

“Vitamin B12 participates in the production of red blood cells,” says Vikram Tarugu, MD, a gastroenterologist and CEO of Detox of South Florida. “If the rates of vitamin B12 are too poor, red blood cell output is impaired, inducing megaloblastic anemia.”

Megaloblastic anemia refers to anemia a lack of red blood cells specifically caused by lack of B12. It “causes symptoms like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness, and dry skin,” says Megan Wong, a registered dietitian at AlgaeCal, a company providing information on bone health.

While there are other reasons a person may develop anemia, such as excessive bleeding or low iron, maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B12 is one way to prevent it.

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How Much Vitamin B12 Should You Take A Day

Vitamin B12 is essential for many bodily functions. Vitamin B12 is important for creating red blood cells, for helping nerves to function, and for synthesizing DNA.1 A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to things like anemia, fatigue, weakness, and more.1 Fortunately, its available in many foods we eat, and its included in multivitamins and other supplements. So how much vitamin B12 should we be getting each day? Read on to learn about the recommended doses of vitamin B12, how to get it in your diet, and whether you should consider a supplement.


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