Does Vitamin B12 Work?

Many people may wonder if vitamin B12 works for conditions other than a deficiency. The vitamin (when used in combination with folic acid or vitamin B6) may be useful for treating hyperhomocysteinemia; it may also be beneficial for relieving fatigue. However, not much scientific evidence is available to support the effectiveness of vitamin B12 for these claimed uses.

Does Vitamin B12 Really Work?

Vitamin B12 is claimed to work for a wide variety of conditions, often with little scientific evidence to back up such claims. This article will address the effectiveness of vitamin B12 for several uses.

Does It Work for a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

As you might guess, taking vitamin B12 is effective for treating a deficiency. It is also effective for preventing a deficiency in people at high risk for such problems. Although it was once thought that injections were the only way to treat vitamin B12 deficiencies due to low or absent intrinsic factor, it is now known that oral forms can be just as effective as injectable forms, although much higher doses are required. Small amounts of vitamin B12 can be absorbed after oral consumption, even without any intrinsic factor. Many healthcare providers choose to initially treat with injections to build up the stores of vitamin B12 in the body, then follow with oral supplementation.
Vitamin B12 also works for the various problems related to a deficiency, such as pernicious anemia.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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