Thursday, September 06, 2007

Medical Secrets Revealed : Vitamin B12 administration

Better Vitamin B12 Absorption 

Today's Gluten-Free Blog title may sound a bit like marketing hype, eh? Well, I borrowed (or paraphrased) a headline I saw in one of these pamphlets/booklets about secrets the "medical establishment" won't let you know, after coming across an article (essentially nothing more than a sales pitch) within the pamphlet about Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) and this supposedly top-secret method of administration.

Of course, the goal of the marketing hype, which went on for a few pages about this hidden and classified way of taking Vitamin B12, was to have you order a "special report" whereby you could learn of this undisclosed method - for only $12.95 or so. I'm going to save you all $12.95, and save you the wasted time of reading such a "report", and just disclose the supposed secret about Vitamin B12 administration, and gee, I haven't even ordered the report myself!

"Secret B12 Administration Method"

Here's the deal: take Vitamin B12 sublingually! (i.e., absorbed under the tongue) That's the supposed "secret".

This is rather common knowledge among medical professionals, though I have noticed that rarely do any doctors even mention this to people, unless they are dealing with patients that have a Vitamin B12 deficiency and/or anemia, like e.g., Pernicious Anemia, which is one of the worst manifestations of a Vitamin B-12 deficiency resulting from impaired gastrointestinal absorption. In addition, as people age, they produce less gastric juices (intrinsic factor in particular) needed to absorb Vitamin B12. Celiac Disease (i.e., Coeliac) certainly raises the risk of vitamin and mineral absorption among us gluten-free types anyhow, so I won't be surprised to learn that a few of you readers have some experience with Vitamin B12 deficiency and/or treatment.

You may hear about people getting Vitamin B12 shots, which is what makes the whole oral-absorption-path sound rather appealing. I know I surely prefer letting a vitamin dissolve under my tongue a lot more than I like to get poked with a needle!

As for efficacy as a treatment, there have been a fair number of studies comparing methods of correcting Vitamin-B12 deficiency, including standard oral dosing (swallowing a vitamin), intramuscular B12 shots, and sublingual administration. I have read quite a few medical publications on the matter, including studies like this one entitled: "Oral vitamin B12 versus intramuscular vitamin B12 for vitamin B12 deficiency.", which concludes:
The evidence derived from these limited studies suggests that 2000 mcg doses of oral vitamin B12 daily and 1000 mcg doses initially daily and thereafter weekly and then monthly may be as effective as intramuscular administration in obtaining short term haematological and neurological responses in vitamin B12 deficient patients.
Or, from this study titled "Replacement therapy for vitamin B12 deficiency: comparison between the sublingual and oral route.", which concluded:
A dose of 500 micro g[rams] of cobalamin given either sublingually or orally is effective in correcting cobalamin [B12] deficiency.
What this all means is that if you have impaired B12 absorption, you have another option as to how to potentially treat your condition. Most drugstores and corner pharmacies will carry versions of Vitamin B12 specifically tailored to sublingual ingestion, though, in my personal experience, they are more expensive than "regular" B12 tablets, and may provide little advantage for the price.

Fact is, even the "regular" B12 tablets will (typically) dissolve under your tongue in a matter of a few minutes and achieve similar results, but just lack the added flavors and colors put into the sublingual variety (apparently to improve the oral experience even though B12 has very little flavor to begin with, and dissolves readily in your mouth).

Last, B12 is considered safe and with very little side-effect possibility at even mega-doses, and if need be, I can certainly cite studies that demonstrate this.

I hope everyone finds this information useful, and if so, I'll try to expose more of those supposed medical secrets that it seems some people try to sell instead of just coming right out and disclosing what the "secret" is.

I actually would like to discuss some of my own B12 experiences in more detail later - including some of the rather remarkable improvements it made to certain blood-test results (not just B12 blood-numbers either). But, that's another story, and it'll have to wait.

Note: I am not a doctor, and if you want to confirm any of the information I provided, just ask your doctor and/or do online research.


Mrs. G.F. said...


Thanks for the insight, and for saving a potential 12.95! :)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear your B12 story! And any other stories about B vitamins too. I take extra B vitamins on top of my daily vitamin and find the extra B vitamins very helpful.

Lynn Barry said...

Nothing wrong with being hubby takes B12...thanks for going the extra mile to share...that you care. HUGS

Anonymous said...

Sigh, I used to get my B12 in the form of a home brew. By the way, Greens (a UK GF Beer) is now in America, it is an English company, but this version of beer was brewed in Belgium specifically for US Celiacs. They have an amber, dubbel and triple. They are $7 for a bomber - 22 oz. Taste? It tastes like the real thing - real belgian beer, not bud lite.
I can get them here in MI, hopefully you can in OH.

Ann Keiffer said...

If you love gluten-free baked goods that taste like the "real thing," check out Crave Bakey. They're featured at Chocolate Fest Oct. 12-14 where you can Crave's best as well as vegan and gluten-free chocolate from Chocolate Decadence and Go to Chocolate. Details at

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I am new to so much now that I found out I have CD. Does having CD which I had all my life but just got so ill that I finally got A DX, make me b12 deficient ?