Vitamin B12 is unlikely to be toxic, even in high daily dosages. As most people need only 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 daily, taking a 1,000 mcg dosage of vitamin B12 once a week is enough.
What happens when your vitamin B12 is low?
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia, neurological changes, constipation, loss of appetite, and even weight loss. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are hair loss, lack of balance, depression, confusion, dementia, and poor memory.
Moreover, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, or soreness, as vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and plays a key role in energy metabolism! Red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygen to the body!
Furthermore, vitamin B12 is required for DNA synthesis and good neurological function.
How much vitamin B12 should I take daily?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is only 2.4 mcg for most adults. Pregnant or lactating women need 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg respectively.
Although the recommended daily dosage for vitamin B12 may not sound much, vitamin B12 deficiency is pretty common! Up to 15% of the population fail to consume enough vitamin B12.
That’s because only a few foods contain vitamin B12. Actually, only foods from animal sources contain some amounts of vitamin B12. Either way, it may be tricky to meet the daily vitamin B12 needs from dietary sources.
Neither plant, nor animals produce vitamin B12. Only some soil bacteria produce it. When people used to drink water directly from lakes, wells, or streams there wasn’t such thing, as vitamin B12 deficiency!
Is 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 safe to take daily?
Actually, there isn’t a recommended upper limit for vitamin B12, as vitamin B12 has low toxicity. There are no adverse effects for excess vitamin B12 intake in healthy people. Neither from food nor supplements.
Furthermore, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, even a daily vitamin B12 intake of 1,000 mcg for 5 years didn’t cause any serious adverse effect.
So, if you’re healthy and you don’t take any medication, taking 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 daily is probably safe. But, such a huge dosage won’t help you further. Your body will excrete most of it.
In any case, you should consult your doctor before starting taking any supplements. Especially, if you’re on medication.
Can I take vitamin B12 supplements once a week?
There is no need to take vitamin B12 supplements every day. You can take vitamin B12 once a week. As the biological half-life of vitamin B12 in the plasma is about 6 days, you could take 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 once a week with the same health benefits.
Most vitamin B12 supplements contain a 500 mcg, 1,000 mcg, or even 5,000 mcg dosage per pill. If your doctor doesn’t advise you otherwise, taking a pill of 1,000 mcg once a week is the best choice.
5,000 mcg are too much for healthy people. Although supplements are unlikely to cause vitamin B12 overdose, only people with severe vitamin B12 deficiency, due to health issues may benefit from such mega dosages.
Vitamin B12 dosage for seniors
There are people that can’t absorb vitamin B12 from food or even oral supplements. In most cases, these are seniors who have reduced levels of stomach acidity or intestinal disorders.
For instance, up to 30% of elderly people may have atrophic gastritis, a condition the stomach can’t secret enough hydrochloric acid, limiting the absorption of vitamin B12 from food or oral supplements.
However, vitamin B12 from supplements or even fortified foods is more absorbable. So, it’s recommended, people older than 50 years to take supplements or eat fortified foods! In most cases, 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12, once a week is enough.
Above all, consult your doctor if your blood vitamin B12 levels are low or have a health issue that inhibits vitamin B12 absorption.
Benefits of vitamin B12 injections
There are cases that people have severe vitamin B12 deficiency or can’t absorb oral supplements or vitamin B12 from food. Then, vitamin B12 injections may be the best solution. Vitamin B12 injections bypass potential barriers to absorption.
Moreover, injections of high dosages of vitamin B12 are also safe. Even when vitamin B12 is administered intramuscularly up to 3000 times the recommended dietary allowance, it hasn’t any toxic effect.
Guidelines of vitamin B12 supplementation
What should your blood level of vitamin B12 be?
As a rule of thumb, vitamin B12 blood values below 170–250 pg/mL for adults indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency. Furthermore, blood values of homocysteine levels higher than 13 micromol/L or blood values of methylmalonic higher than 0.4 micromol/L might also suggest a vitamin B12 deficiency.
How long does it take for vitamin B12 supplements to work?
Every person reacts differently to vitamin B12 supplementation. Older persons may need vitamin B12 injections, in order, to increase their vitamin B12 blood levels. It takes about 72 hours for vitamin B12 injections to work.
What is the best time to take vitamin B12?
As vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, it’s dissolved in water. The best time to take vitamin B12 supplements is in the morning before eating breakfast or before a meal on an empty stomach.
Is it OK to take vitamin B12 at night?
The best time to take vitamin B12 is in the morning with an empty stomach. You better avoid taking vitamin B12 supplements at night, as high doses of vitamin B12 may affect sleep quality. You should eat foods high in melatonin, in order, to sleep better at night, as melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep.