Vitamin B12, also referred to as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin which is necessary for optimal health. This makes it an essential vitamin in our diet, as our bodies are unable to produce it from other sources.
The vitamin has vital roles in the production of DNA and red blood cells, and in the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B12 can be found in its natural form in food products such as dairy, meat, fish and eggs.
It can also be found in products which are fortified with B12, such as in plant-based milks and certain varieties of bread. It’s also commonly consumed in pill, drops, or spray form.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
B12 deficiency is very common. Those who are at the highest risk of developing a B12 deficiency are the elderly, children, pregnant or breast-feeding woman, those with diabetes, and people who follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet.
It has been reported that Vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to occur in about 20 percent of people who are over 60, and 6 percent for those under 60 in the United States.
You can become at risk of being deficient in B12 if you simply do not consume enough in your diet, or if you are not able to absorb enough of the nutrient into your cells. Due to this, people on a strictly plant-based diet are more susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, as plant foods do not naturally contain any of this vitamin (at least in a bio-available form).
It is therefore recommended that they take a B12 supplement in order to improve the levels in their blood and cells.
In addition, a protein that is produced in the stomach called intrinsic factor is also necessary to extract and absorb vitamin B12 from a particular food.
IMPORTANT: Some people with ‘pernicious anemia’ will produce an antibody in their stomach which neutralizes any intrinsic factor that they have produced – a type of autoimmune disease.
These individuals therefore cannot efficiently absorb Vitamin B12 from foods in their natural form, and may need to receive ‘artificial’ B12 as a replacement. This can be taken in the form of a tablet or spray.
Symptoms Of A Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Symptoms of a B12 deficiency can take years to show and can be complex to discover. Below are some of the signs that may occur if you have vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Fatigue – This can be caused by your body not being able to produce enough red blood cells due to the lack of Vitamin B12. Due to this, your body is unable to transport oxygen to your blood cells, which results in you feeling weak and tired.
- Changes To Mobility – If this deficiency is left untreated, it can result in affecting the way you are able to move by reducing co-ordination and balance. This symptom often goes undiagnosed in the elderly. The good news is that it can be prevented and improved if the deficiency is treated.
- Breathlessness – This is caused because your body is lacking the red blood cells it requires in order to get oxygen to your body’s cells.
- Sensation Of Pins And Needles – A long term effect and one of the more serious ones.
- Oral Symptoms – These oral symptoms include mouth ulcers, an inflamed tongue (glossitis), or itching/burning sensation in the mouth.
- Affected Vision – When B12 deficiency is left untreated, the nervous system can become damaged to the optic nerve that connects to the eye. The damage can disrupt the nervous signal that travels from your eye to your brain, which causes your vision to become impaired. This condition is known as optic neuropathy.
Vitamin B12 Injections And Sprays
In the late 1940s, artificial B12 was produced and injected into patients who suffer from Pernicious Anaemia at regular intervals. It is still treated in this way now.
However, over the past 5 decades, the time in which patients have to wait in between injections is now longer. This often leaves patients feeling the symptoms returning before their next injection and is where the B12 spray can be extremely beneficial.
The spray can be used in between the patient’s appointments in order to keep the symptoms away. It is absorbed via a membrane under the tongue and enters the bloodstream immediately.
This should then boost the patient’s energy and improve other symptoms until the next injection. However, some patients feel as though they do not need the injection and solely use the spray to improve their mild symptoms – such as their energy levels.
What Does A Vitamin B12 Spray Do?
A vitamin B12 spray is beneficial as it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream while bypassing the digestive system, which means it will get to work even quicker.
It works by being absorbed via the oral mucosa, as opposed to absorption in the small intestine with traditional B12 tablets. This lowers the risk of the vitamin B12 being destroyed by the gastric fluids, and hence why it is more bio-available to our cells.
It is safe to use as the body only absorbs as much as it needs, and any excess is passed through our urine.
Vitamin B12 sprays are known to have a better composition when compared to B12 tablets, as tablets contain many additives that are thought to negatively impact how the vitamin is absorbed.
The spray is also simple and easy to use, particularly for those who have difficulty swallowing tablets – making sprays ideal for the elderly and children.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin B12?
The benefits from adding a B12 supplement to your diet, include:
- Energy Boost – Vitamin B12 is involved in energy production in the body. This is the most common symptom people with vitamin B12 deficiency tend to suffer from. Therefore, taking a Vitamin B12 supplement may improve your energy levels and keep you active, but only if you are deficient in this vitamin already.
- Prevents Anemia – Vitamin B12 is part of the process in red blood cell formation. When vitamin B12 levels are low, the production of red blood cells is changed, which causes megaloblastic anemia.
- Supports Bone Health – Vitamin B12 can play a vital role in bone health. Low blood levels of vitamin B12 have often been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.
- Improved Mood – Vitamin B12 is required to produce serotonin, a chemical that is responsible for regulating mood. Vitamin B12 supplements could help to improve mood in people with depression who have an existing deficiency. A Vitamin B12 supplement is often taken in conjunction with an anti-depressant drug, and many studies have shown this can be beneficial.
- May Improve Heart Health – High blood levels of amino acid homocysteine have been previously linked to an increased risk of heart disease. If you’re significantly deficient in vitamin B12, your homocysteine levels can become elevated.
- Supports Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails – If you have low vitamin B12 levels it can cause various symptoms, including hyperpigmentation, nail discoloration and hair changes. So, taking a B12 supplement would be beneficial to you. If you take the supplement without having a deficiency you are not likely to notice a change.
What Are The Side Effects Of Vitamin B12
Side effects that can occur include:
- Mild diarrhoea
- Skin rash
Other drugs that could interfere with your B12 supplement:
This drug which is used to treat digestive problems and can affect your absorption of Vitamin B12.
This drug, which is used for those with diabetes, can also affect your absorption of Vitamin B12.
Vitamin C Supplement
Taking vitamin C with vitamin B12 may reduce the available amount of vitamin B12 in your body. To avoid this interaction, it is recommended that you take vitamin C at least 3 hours before and/or after taking a vitamin B12 supplement.
Omeprazole or Lansoprazole
These stomach acid-reducing drugs or other similar ones may decrease your absorption of B12.
How Much Vitamin B12 Is Needed And How Is It Tested?
To test your Vitamin B12 levels, you can go to your doctors or conduct a home test with a urine sample. If it measures below 150pg/ml (picograms per millilitre), your levels are low. If it measures at 200 to 600 pg/ml, your levels are normal. Finally, if it measures at 800mg/ml, it is high.
It is important to keep in mind that results vary in different laboratories, so it is worth consulting your doctor for accurate results.
Research has shown the daily amounts of Vitamin B12 that is needed for different age groups. The daily amounts are measured in micrograms.
- 14 – 18 years old – 2.4 mcg
- 18 and older – 2.4 mcg
- Pregnant women – 2.6 mcg
- Breastfeeding women – 2.8 mcg
What Form Of Vitamin B12 Is Best?
Based on the information gathered in this article, vitamin B12 spray is effective and easy to use. It can be conveniently carried around with you for when you feel you may need it and will work to help save you time and money.
The spray can be used in conjunction with a B12 injection if necessary or can be used solely to help reduce symptoms for those who suffer from mild symptoms from a B12 deficiency.
Also, the spray I keep recommending on this blog is infused with caffeine, which is ideal for those who are sensitive to coffee and energy drinks. It will provide you with an energy boost to keep you active and able to carry out your daily tasks.
While it is ideal to take a supplement to improve your levels of Vitamin B12, it is worth being aware of which food products can also contribute to improving your B12 levels, to improve your general health and support a healthy lifestyle.
These food products include liver, kidneys, clams, tuna, salmon, sardines, beef, nutritional yeast, fortified cereal and non-dairy milk.
While non-dairy milks do not naturally contain vitamin B12 as they are usually fortified with them, it is still a great source of B12 for those on a plant-based diet.
How To Use The Spray
The oral spray can be used daily, and your dosage is easy to administer. To use the spray, shake the bottle well before each use, carefully spray into your mouth, hold for a few seconds before replacing the cap after use. The dosage is equivalent to 0.9ml, with 33 dosages expected to be provided by the spray.