Many practices and health stores offer Vitamin B12, but many people don't know why it is such an important vitamin to take. Today, I will explain some of the differences between cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin, and why they are important to our health.
Vitamin B12 is, in fact, a vitamin. That means it’s essential for us to live, but we can not synthesize it within our own bodies. Vitamin B12 is only produced in nature by certain bacteria, and archaea. It helps our nervous system, blood-cell formation, digestion, brain function, helps prevent anemia, and to enhance our moods.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods. Plant foods have no Vitamin B12, unless they are fortified. The best foods to find B12 in are Beef Liver and clams, followed by fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and other dairy products. Some breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts are fortified, but you would need to check labels to make sure.
Obviously, for those with dietary restrictions such as veganism, or vegetarianism, it is possible to become deficient in B12, possibly leading to a significant drop in energy levels or even megaloblastic anemia. People with pernicious anemia are deficient in stomach protein that absorbs B12 for use, leaving them deficient as well.
Luckily, B12 can be given as an intramuscular injection!
There are 3 forms of Intramuscular Injection :
Cyanocobalamin is the least expensive of the forms because after injection the body will still need to convert it to methylcobalamin, and then to hydroxocobalamin, the active form, to be used by the body. Of all the forms of Vitamin B12 it is the least painful for the patient to inject. After introduction into the body it provides a small amount of cyanide. Smokers, are less able to transform cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin due to toxins and heavy metals in the liver. These individuals should use other forms of Vitamin B12.
Methylcobalamin is more bioactive and slightly painful to inject into the muscle. This is also a better choice for smokers who are unable to convert cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin.
Hydroxocobalamin is the most bioactive form of Vitamin B12 and intramuscular injections can be painful. Our injection is pre-mixed the local anesthetic lidocaine to mitigate this. Hydroxocobalamin is retained longer in the body and can be dosed less frequently.
If you feel that you are run down on energy, or have a diet that restricts natural sources of Vitamin B12, consider Vitamin B12 testing & injections with us. A simple blood test can determine your levels then we can build a program that is just right for you!
Karyn Tapley, MD