Description and Brand Names

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Descriptions


Vitamins are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in small amounts only and are usually available in the foods that you eat. Vitamin B 12 is necessary for healthy blood. Cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin are man-made forms of vitamin B 12.

Some people have a medical problem called pernicious anemia in which vitamin B 12 is not absorbed from the intestine. Others may have a badly diseased intestine or have had a large part of their stomach or intestine removed, so that vitamin B 12 cannot be absorbed. These people need to receive vitamin B 12 by injection.

Some conditions may increase your need for vitamin B 12. These include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Anemia, hemolytic
  • Fever (continuing)
  • Genetic disorders such as homocystinuria and/or methylmalonic aciduria
  • Intestine diseases
  • Infections (continuing or chronic)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreas disease
  • Stomach disease
  • Stress (continuing)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Worm infections

In addition, persons that are strict vegetarians or have macrobiotic diets may need vitamin B 12 supplements.

Increased need for vitamin B 12 should be determined by your health care professional.

Lack of vitamin B 12 may lead to anemia (weak blood), stomach problems, and nerve damage. Your health care professional may treat this by prescribing vitamin B 12 for you.

Claims that vitamin B 12 is effective for treatment of various conditions such as aging, allergies, eye problems, slow growth, poor appetite or malnutrition, skin problems, tiredness, mental problems, sterility, thyroid disease, and nerve diseases have not been proven. Many of these treatments involve large and expensive amounts of vitamins.

Injectable vitamin B 12 is given by or under the supervision of a health care professional. Some strengths of oral vitamin B 12 are available only with your health care professional's prescription. Others are available without a prescription.

Importance of Diet

For good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.

Vitamin B 12 is found in various foods, including fish, egg yolk, milk, and fermented cheeses. It is not found in any vegetables. Ordinary cooking probably does not destroy the vitamin B 12 in food.

Vitamins alone will not take the place of a good diet and will not provide energy. Your body also needs other substances found in food, such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat. Vitamins themselves often cannot work without the presence of other foods.

The daily amount of vitamin B 12 needed is defined in several different ways.

For U.S.—

  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are the amount of vitamins and minerals needed to provide for adequate nutrition in most healthy persons. RDAs for a given nutrient may vary depending on a person's age, sex, and physical condition (e.g., pregnancy).
  • Daily Values (DVs) are used on food and dietary supplement labels to indicate the percent of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient that a serving provides. DV replaces the previous designation of United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDAs).

For Canada—

  • Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) are used to determine the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to provide adequate nutrition and lessen the risk of chronic disease

Normal daily recommended intakes in micrograms (mcg) for vitamin B 12 are generally defined as follows:

Information about this vitamin-b12-nasal-route-oral-route-parenteral-route
Persons U.S.
(mcg)
Canada
(mcg)
Infants birth to 3 years of age 0.3–0.7 0.3–0.4
Children 4 to 6 years of age 1 0.5
Children 7 to 10 years of age 1.4 0.8–1
Adolescent and adult males 2 1–2
Adolescent and adult females 2 1–2
Pregnant females 2.2 2–3
Breast-feeding females 2.6 1.5–2.5