The Benefits Of Vitamin B12 Supplements

Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin that is the most special kind of Vitamin B Complex(containing metal ion cobalt), the structure is huge and complex.

If this nutrient is lacking, in addition to causing pernicious anemia, it will also cause homocysteinemia (related to cardiovascular disease), peripheral neuropathy, impaired cognition, loss of appetite, burnout, and other symptoms

What are the benefits of vitamin b12 supplements? Are there any side effects?

Table of Contents

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an important water-soluble vitamin that has many roles including hematopoiesis, maintenance of nervous system function, energy production, DNA synthesis, maintenance of intact gastrointestinal mucosa, and involvement in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Since humans cannot synthesize it, it needs to be obtained through diet, because it is almost only found in animal food.

A typical Western diet consumes 3-30 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily, of which about 1-5 mcg will be absorbed, and the recommended dietary allowance is 1 to 3 mcg per day.

In addition, due to the relatively high body storage of Vitamin B12 (about 2000-5000 mcg), this explains why the clinical manifestations of B12 deficiency often appear late.

Is Vitamin B12 deficiency common?

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods, such as fish, meat, shrimp, shellfish, milk, and eggs, while there are fewer plants and only seaweed (less biologically active).

Vitamin B12 absorption is mainly related to gastrointestinal function and dietary factors, so the groups that are more likely to lack Vitamin B12 are vegetarians (do not eat egg-milk), elderly people (poor digestive function), gastrointestinal diseases (such as Crohn’s disease, Gastrointestinal resection, celiac disease, Helicobacter pylori infection), eating disorders, AIDS, tropical aphthous ulcers, diabetes, and congenital abnormalities, etc.

What are the benefits of Vitamin B12?

1. Vitamin B12 is beneficial for gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a common pregnancy complication, which refers to spontaneous hyperglycemia that occurs during pregnancy. According to estimates, about 14% of pregnant women worldwide have gestational diabetes, about 18 million per year Newborn.

Related risk factors for illness include overweight, obesity, Westernized diet and micronutrient deficiencies, advanced maternal age, family history of insulin resistance, or diabetes.

Although gestational diabetes usually resolves after childbirth, it may have long-term health effects, including increased risk of maternal and offspring obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, or GDM.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 6 observational studies, a total of 1810 pregnant women, 309 cases of gestational diabetes) pointed out that compared with pregnant women with sufficient Vitamin B12, pregnant women lacking Vitamin B12 (definition At a concentration of <200 pg/mL) the risk of gestational diabetes is higher.

*Conclusion: Vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy seems to be related to the increased risk of gestational diabetes, but it is limited to a small number of samples, and more studies are still needed to further verify.

2. Vitamin B12 is beneficial for diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (Diabetic peripheral neuropathy) is the most common neuropathy, usually affecting the legs, toes and arms, and other parts, this pain will greatly affect the quality of life and daily activities of patients.

Related symptoms include tingling, burning, sharpness, tingling, and even electric shock in the affected area, which are the main causes of foot ulcers, amputations, gait disorders, and falls-related injuries.

It is estimated that about half of diabetics have this symptom. The risk factors are the duration of diabetes, age, glycated hemoglobin, diabetic retinopathy, smoking, and body mass index.

A meta-analysis of literature (34 observational studies) indicated that patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy had significantly lower levels of serum folic acid and Vitamin B12 compared with patients with type 2 diabetes without peripheral neuropathy.

In addition, subgroup analysis found that these associations were confirmed in the Chinese population, but not in Caucasians and mixed-race children.

*Conclusion: Folic acid and Vitamin B12 levels may be related to diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but due to publication bias, more and larger prospective high-quality studies are still needed to confirm.

3. Vitamin B12 is beneficial to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases

Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases are one of the highest morbidity and mortality rates in the world, with a lifetime risk of more than 60%. It is estimated that more than 2,200 Americans die from these diseases every day (every 40 seconds One person died.)

Decades of research have identified risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, among which the most common are hypertension, smoking, obesity (due to poor diet and/or lack of physical activity), hyperlipidemia, and genetic susceptibility.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 11 randomized controlled trials involving 26395 patients) pointed out that Vitamin B supplementation had no effect on the incidence of cardiovascular disease events (including myocardial infarction).

However, Subgroup analysis for stroke shows that with the extension of follow-up time, supplementation of Vitamin B group can reduce the risk of stroke, and use low-dose folic acid, B12/B6 dose increase, and subjects with a history of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease More significant.

*Conclusion: The combined supplementation of folic acid, Vitamins B6 and B12 may have no significant effect on the incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and myocardial infarction, but may reduce the risk of stroke and homocysteine ​​levels.

4. Vitamin B12 improves herpes neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia (Postherpetic neuralgia) is a chronic neuropathic pain syndrome, which originates from the damage of the varicella-zoster virus activated inflammatory response to peripheral and central neurons. It is herpes zoster. One of the important complications after infection.

It is estimated that 5% to 20% of patients with herpes zoster will develop postherpetic neuralgia, the frequency, and severity of which increase with age.

In addition to age, related risk factors include the appearance of prodromal symptoms (defined as pain and abnormal sensation before the rash), severe rash (defined as >50 papules, vesicles, or crusted vesicles) and severe pain in the acute phase.

A meta-analysis (meta-analysis, including 4 randomized controlled trials with a total of 383 herpes zoster) points out that the use of Vitamin B12 (subcutaneous injection) helps improve postherpetic neuralgia compared to the placebo group Strength Rating Scales (Numerical Rating Scales, NRS) and quality of life, and reduce the use of painkillers.

The underlying mechanism may be related to Vitamin B12 improving nerve conduction velocity, promoting nerve regeneration, and inhibiting the spontaneous discharge of ectopic neurons.

*Conclusion: Vitamin B12 may help to improve herpes-related neuralgia, but it is limited to small sample size, and more research is needed to corroborate it.

5. Vitamin B12 reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, with nearly 1.4 million cases diagnosed worldwide each year, with an average lifetime risk of approximately 5%. If the current trend continues, it is expected that 220 will be diagnosed annually by 2030 globally Ten thousand cases of colorectal cancer.

The risk of colorectal cancer can be highly adjusted through diet and lifestyle. The report shows that up to 47% of colorectal cancer cases can be prevented by maintaining physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy diet.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 17 studies, a total of 10601 participants) pointed out that when the dose of Vitamin B12 intake exceeds a certain threshold (each increase of 4.5 mcg/d), the intake of Vitamin B12 and colorectal The risk of cancer risk is negatively correlated.

In addition, the association between blood Vitamin B12 levels and colorectal cancer risk is not significant.

*Conclusion: Higher intake of Vitamin B12 is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer, but more research is still needed to confirm whether the use of supplements has clinical benefits.

6. Vitamin B12 is beneficial for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a chronic, multifactorial disease characterized by low bone mass and degeneration of bone tissue microstructure, making people more prone to fractures.

The most common osteoporotic fracture sites include the hip, spine, and wrist, especially the spine and hip fractures have a poor prognosis and usually require hospitalization and surgery.

Many risk factors are associated with osteoporotic fractures, including low peak bone mass, hormonal factors, drug use (such as glucocorticoids), smoking, low physical activity, low calcium and Vitamin D intake, ethnicity, small size, personal or Family fracture history.

A systematic review (including 17 studies) pointed out that due to the inconsistent results of the study, the relationship between Vitamin B12 levels, low bone density, and fracture risk has not been fully established, especially for vulnerable groups, such as postmenopausal women.

*Conclusion: As of now, the relationship between Vitamin B12 deficiency and bone health remains to be confirmed.

7. Vitamin B12 reduces the occurrence of neural tube defects

Neural tube defects (Neural tube defects) are a common type of severe congenital malformations (characterized by the failure of the neural tube closure process during the embryonic stage leading to the exposure of the brain or spinal nerve tissue to the extra-embryonic environment), and congenital heart defects and urogenital system defects Common fetal malformations are juxtaposed.

About 0.5 to 2 out of every 1,000 pregnancies around the world have neural tube defects (converting 300,000 newborns worldwide each year), the main factors are genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

A meta-analysis (9 studies, a total of 567 cases and 1566 controls) found that the lack of Vitamin B12 in the mother during pregnancy did indeed increase the incidence of fetal neural tube defects (odds ratio/odds ratio up to 2.41 ).

*Conclusion: Too low levels of Vitamin B12 during pregnancy may be an important risk factor for fetal neural tube defects.

8. Vitamin B12 is beneficial for depression

A depressive disorder is a widespread and devastating disease that affects the lives of about 17% of people worldwide, resulting in huge personal suffering and economic loss.

Depression is not only highly comorbid with anxiety, but also closely related to dementia, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, pain, cancer, aging, osteoporosis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 11 randomized placebo-controlled trials) pointed out that short-term supplementation with folic acid and Vitamin B12 (days to weeks) does not help improve the treatment of depression patients receiving antidepressants Depressive symptoms.

But longer-term use (several weeks to years) may reduce the risk of relapse and clinical symptoms in people at risk.

*Conclusion: The treatment of folic acid and Vitamin B12 cannot reduce the severity of depressive symptoms in a short period of time, but it may be positively helpful for the long-term management of depressed high-risk groups.

9. Vitamin B12 reduces the incidence of preterm birth

Premature birth and low birth weight are important factors leading to neonatal lethality and illness. Each year, approximately one million infants and young children die, and they may cause neurodevelopmental disorders, gastrointestinal complications, cerebral palsy, sensory disturbances, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. Wait.

A meta-analysis of literature (meta-analysis, including 18 studies, 11,216 participants), maternal blood Vitamin B12 levels are low, will increase the risk of fetal preterm birth, especially for those who are lacking (increased 21% chance of preterm birth).

In addition, during pregnancy, although the maternal Vitamin B12 level has a wireless relationship with low birth weight, the lack of it will also increase the incidence of low birth weight by 15%.

*Summary: Vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy is positively associated with premature birth and low birth weight.

Are there any side effects of Vitamin B12?

It is considered to be a non-toxic and non-side effect ingredient for healthy people who use it in an appropriate dosage.

Although the “tolerable upper intake limit” (Upper Tolerable Intake Level) of Vitamin B12 has not yet been determined, there is indeed a risk of excessive intake of B12 in large doses.

Possible side effects or adverse reactions when using Vitamin B12 in large doses include dizziness, headache, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, itching, acne (acne), and rosacea (rosacea).

In addition, there have been cases of severe allergic reactions caused by Vitamin B12. Although it is extremely rare, it should be noted that the symptoms include swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, difficulty swallowing and breathing. If these conditions occur after taking, please seek medical advice immediately.

Safety Precautions

1. A placebo-controlled study of the elderly showed that daily supplementation with folic acid (400 mcg) and Vitamin B12 (500 mcg) for 2 to 3 years may increase the risk of colon cancer.

2. In patients with diabetic nephropathy, the use of high-dose group B Vitamins (containing 1,000 mcg Vitamin B12) may result in decreased renal function and increased cardiovascular events.

3. Sublingual and soluble B12 supplements often contain sugar substitutes, which may cause bloating and diarrhea.

4. An observational study pointed out that for pregnant women, if the concentration of Vitamin B12 in the blood is greater than 600 pmol/L, the children born will increase the incidence of autism several times (the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 for pregnant women is 2.6 mcg ).

5. Taking folic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 after coronary stent placement may increase the risk of restenosis in the stent.

6. Megaloblastic anemia is sometimes treated with Vitamin B12. However, due to possible side effects, it is best to use it under the close supervision of medical staff.

7. Do not take with antibiotics: Chloramphenicol (Chloramphenicol) may affect the ability of Vitamin B12 to participate in the production of newborn red blood cells.

8. The following drugs may inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B12, such as antiepileptic drugs (Dilantin, Mysoline), chemotherapeutic drugs (methotrexate), gout drugs (Colchicine), bile acid binders, used for cholesterol-lowering (Questran, Colestid), gastric acid suppression drugs (Proton pump inhibitors), diabetes medication (Metformin), aminosalicylic acid, colchicine, metformin.

9. Long-term use of high-dose folic acid (greater than 800 mcg) may mask the lack of Vitamin B12 and cause serious damage to the nervous system. Therefore, long-term use of folic acid alone should pay attention or use a comprehensive combination to prevent it.

What are the forms of Vitamin B12? Which absorption rate is good?

Vitamin B12 supplements on the market are most common in the form of cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin.

Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of Vitamin B12 that does not exist in nature, but it is used more frequently in supplements and is more stable and cost-effective.

When cyanocobalamin enters the body, it is converted into methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin, the latter two being the active form of Vitamin B12 in the human body.

Unlike cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin is a naturally occurring form of Vitamin B12 (also known as active methyl B12) and can be obtained through supplements and foods such as fish, meat, eggs, and milk, but supplementation with methylcobalamin is not Will increase the level of adenosine cobalt amine.

Another major difference between methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin is the way they are absorbed and retained in the body. Some studies suggest that methylcobalamin has a higher absorption rate and retention rate.

However, some studies have shown that the difference in bioavailability between these two forms may be negligible, and the absorption rate is more affected by factors such as age and genetics.

Therefore, for Vitamin B12 deficiency, the use of cyanocobalamin, or a combination of methylcobalamin and adenosine cobalamine can help.

If you think you may lack Vitamin B12, it is best to consult a specialist to determine the most favorable treatment plan.

Where to buy the most recommended Vitamin B12?

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