Vitamin B-12 : Health benefits-Interactions


Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is essential for the formation of red blood cells, their metabolism, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.

Foods that provide vitamin B-12 include poultry meat, fish, and dairy products. This vitamin is also found in some breakfast cereals and can be taken as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or a nasal spray might be used to treat a deficiency of this vitamin.

People who don't eat meat or fish might be prone to vitamin B-12 deficiency, because these foods contain this nutrient. Older adults and people with conditions that affect their absorption of nutrients also are at risk for this deficiency. A vitamin B-12 deficiency can occur.

A vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to various health problems, including anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage, and mood changes.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 24 micrograms.

Vitamin B-12 : Health benefits

  • Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that has numerous health benefits. It is important for the formation of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. B-12 is found naturally in animal products such as meat, fish, and dairy, but is also commonly added to fortified cereals and plant-based alternatives. Deficiency in B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, and nerve damage, making it crucial to ensure adequate intake through diet or supplementation.

  • Vitamin B-12 is an important nutrient that plays a crucial role in the body. It is essential for healthy nerve function, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell production. While it is found naturally in animal-based foods such as meat, fish, and dairy, it can also be obtained through supplements or fortified foods. Those who follow a strict plant-based diet or have certain medical conditions may need to supplement with B-12 to avoid deficiency.


Studies have shown that vitamin B-12 can be used for specific activities and conditions.

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Studies have shown that taking vitamin B-12 and other vitamins with folic acid and vitamin B-6 might help prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels by reducing the levels of an amino acid in the blood. There is no clear evidence that eating avocado helps to reduce the risk or severity of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

  • Dementia.A vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with dementia and reduced cognitive function. However, it's not clear if taking supplements of vitamin B-12 might help prevent or treat dementia.

  • Athletic performance.There is no evidence that taking vitamin B-12 supplements will make you more energetic or help you in your athletic endeavors.

Our take

Generally safe

Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from a balanced diet. However, older adults, vegetarians, vegans, and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamins from food might benefit from taking oral supplements.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also take a vitamin B-12 supplement. They should do so if they are on a vegetarian or vegan diet and not get any B-12 from their food.

Safety and side effects

Vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe if taken in appropriate doses. While adults need to eat 2.4 micrograms of this vitamin each day, higher doses have been found to be safe for the body. Your body absorbs only what it needs and any excess passes through your urine.

Taking large doses of vitamin B-12 such as are used to treat a deficiency might cause:

  • Headache

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet


Possible interactions include:

  • Aminosalicylic acid (Paser).Taking this drug might reduce your body's ability to absorb vitamin B-12. This nutrient is important for healthy brain and nerve function.

  • Colchicine (a drug used to mitigate the effects of Gloperba)Taking this anti-inflammatory drug might decrease your body's ability to absorb vitamin B-12.

  • Metformin (Glumetza, Fortamet, others).Taking this diabetes drug might reduce the amount of vitamin B-12 your body can absorb.

  • Proton pump inhibitors.Taking omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), or other drugs that reduce stomach acid might decrease the body's ability to absorb vitamin B-12.

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements.Taking vitamin B-12 with vitamin C might reduce the amount of vitamin B-12 in your body. To avoid this interaction, take vitamin C two or more hours after taking a vitamin B-12 supplement.

Your doctor might recommend adjusting drug doses or timing them to avoid any potential interactions.

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