Methylcobalamin is super important in the sphere of health. That’s because it is the form of vitamin B12 our bodies use. But, that doesn’t make it any easier to say. So, let’s start with how the word works.
It’s generally written, methylcobalamin. But capitalizing it and breaking it into two may make it visually easier to grasp: Methyl-cobalamine.
The first part of the word, Methyl, rhyming with Ethel, is an adjective that’s popular in chemistry. But, even at that its popularity falls to within the lowest 30% of all words.
The second part of the word, cobalamin, is where it gets interesting. Cobalamin refers to the cobalt in vitamin B12.
“Vitamin B12 is unique among vitamins in that it contains a metal ion, cobalt. For this reason cobalamin is the term used to refer to compounds having vitamin B12 activity. Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosyl cobalamin are the forms of vitamin B12 used in the human body.” Brody T. Nutritional Biochemistry. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press; 1999.
Also, B12 has the largest, most complex structure of all the vitamins.
Cyanocobalamin is an older form of vitamin B12 and is common in many supplements. However, cyanocobalamin must be changed into Methyl-cobalamin by our bodies before they can use it. In the conversion some potency is lost.
Lozenges replace B12 effectively
Methylcobalamin lozenges are effective in treating vitamin B12 deficiency. Researchers presented findings confirming this at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians 2012 Conference.
In the clinical trial, 10 patients with newly diagnosed cobalamin deficiency were randomly assigned to receive either once-a-week B12 injections (1,000 mcg) or daily 10,000 mcg (10 mg) methylcobalamin lozenges for eight weeks.
Results showed that vitamin B12 lozenges were as effective as injections. Both treatments resulted in complete normalization of serum cobalamin levels in all patients. Importantly, homocysteine levels returned to normal and general symptoms improved regardless of the type of treatment.
Results showed that taking high-dose daily methylcobalamin lozenges is a viable and convenient alternative to vitamin B12 shots and should be considered equally effective. Additionally, lozenge supplementation offers a significant cost advantage. Effect of Daily High-Dose Methylcobalamin Lozenge Regimen or Weekly Injections in Patients with Cobalamin Deficiency. A Single-Center Prospective Randomized Open-Label Trial. Culik DA BL, Sharpee RL, Pacholok SM. AANP 2012 Conference.
You absorb sublingual vitamin B12 directly into your bloodstream via blood vessels under your tongue and in your cheeks. This provides quick entry into your system.
5 Methyl-cobalamin Ifs
1. If you have low vitamin B12 signs and begin using Methylcobalamin lozenges, you may say, “Bingo! Most of the signs disappeared!”
2. If your multivitamin contains cyanocobalamin and you’re young and have few or no low vitamin B12 signs, your body will make enough methylcobalamin for you to benefit.
3. But, if you’re older, have nerve damage or battle stress, your body can’t make as much methylcobalamin as you need.
4. If you have B12 malabsorption or have pernicious anemia, then methylcobalamin lozenges or B12 injections are efficient ways to increase your B12 level. There are also sprays and patches, but I haven’t seen convincing studies on their efficacy.
5. If you don’t know if you have malabsorption, then using lozenges is a good choice. As you use the lozenges your low vitamin B12 signs will go away or diminish, thus effectively proving the problem was low vitamin B12 levels. In fact, before B12 tests existed, doctors prescribed B12 shots, then if the symptoms went away, diagnosed B12 deficiency.
Dissolving one 1,000 mcg (1 mg) methylcobalamin lozenge under your tongue each day for a month will equal one B12 injection a month. Dissolving a 5 mg lozenge under your tongue each day for a month will equal, at the end of the month, five B12 shots in that month.
When I had a B12 shot a day it equaled 30 mg a day, or 6 of the 5 mg lozenges. When I switched from daily injections to lozenges I forgot that lozenges must be used for a whole month in order to equal an injections. So, my health deteriorated. If I had remembered about the time required for the lozenges to work equally well, I wouldn’t have been fine. Now I use lozenges every day with no injections. (9/23/07)
Read vitamin labels to be sure you’re getting methylcobalamin in the vitamin B12 supplements you buy.
Absorption ~ About 10 mcg of a 500 mcg vitamin B12 oral supplement is actually absorbed. (US gov website attributes this to researcher Ralph Carmel, but when I read the piece they cite it doesn’t say this.)
No Side Affects
Years ago a doctor put me on antidepressants, “to help your neurotransmitters.” The side affects were weight gain and hair loss. What’s more depressing than weight gain and hair loss?
When I found B12 and began replacement my depression went away. It wasn’t the first symptom of B12 deficiency to go away, but, my depression did go away.
Methylcobalamin helps neurotransmitters without unwanted side affects. However, be aware that as your blood cells heal and begin properly dividing you need more potassium to support the additional work your blood cells are doing. Without additional potassium you may experience muscle spasms.
How does methylcobalamin work?
The geek answer is: Methylcobalamin “functions in accelerating transmethylation reactions in the manufacture of nucleic acids, neurotransmitters and phospholipids.”
B12 is famously available in meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. But these are less healthy today when factory farming adds antibiotics and oil spills pollute the sea.
Under these circumstances it’s useful to know a bit more about vitamin B12. For instance, the heavy metal, cobalt, is in vitamin B12, and that’s where it gets medical name, cobalamin. You don’t need much cobalt, but you do need some to keep your nerves and blood healthy.
The basic chemical structure of B12 is the corrin ring. B12 corrinoids are among the most complicated molecules in nature, involving over 200 atoms. The seldom mentioned fact is that bacteria and some algae synthesize and thereafter contain the corrinoids.
Simply put, vitamin B12 originates exclusively in microorganisms. When you know this, it’s easier to understand that there are other, but less famous, vitamin B12 foods, like tempe, mushrooms, miso and some teas.
Vitamin B12 levels decline with age
Several investigations have shown a B12 decline in older people. Low vitamin B12 impairs nerve function, leading to pins-and-needles sensations, a burning sensation, leg and back pain, less clear vision, and/or impaired mental function.
Vitamin B12 replacement has reduced my back and leg pain. Significantly!
Vitamin B12, cobalamin, is water-soluble and essential for carbohydrate metabolism and energy production. It is vital for neurological activity, including your DNA replication, and B12 aids in production of S-adenosyl-L-methionine(SAMe), which benefits your joints and mood.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells, which are linked to your energy levels. Low B12 can cause you to feel fatigue. Because B12 is vital for metabolism and your energy production, it is useful in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Studies show vitamin B12 provides support for the cardiovascular system. Together with vitamin B6 and folic acid, B12 maintains normal levels of homocysteine, an amino acid found in your blood. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and additional health concerns, including Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Plus, elevated homocysteine damages coronary arteries and leads to excessive clotting.
Small amounts of B12 are found in common foods. The amounts of B12 are so tiny that despite eating abundantly of these foods anyone with a malabsorption condition, including bacterial overgrowth in the intestines and stomach, may have low vitamin B12 levels. In these cases, additional B12 may be not only desirable but necessary.
Just to be clear, after I got rid of the h.pylori bacterial overgrowth I had, I found that eating Swiss cheese with its live B12 making bacteria benefited my memory and brought more improvement than a decade of vitamin B12 replacement via injections and sublingual methylcobalamin.
Is it safe to use vitamin B12?
My neurologist told me three important things:
1. “It can’t hurt you.” He said, repeatedly.
2. “Take more when you’re under stress, it will help your body deal with the stress.”
3. He said that years ago doctors diagnosed pernicious anemia, a deadly form of B12 deficiency if untreated, by prescribing injections. Then, if the B12 injections helped, doctors made the diagnosis of pernicious anemia, Their logic was that pernicious anemia must have existed if vitamin B12 injections made the symptoms go away.
My neurologist had me keep a Time Line for this very reason, to see if there were changes in my health. The changes were significant.
My Time Line ~ Take a look.
Memory loss is linked to low vitamin B12, so keep a Time Line. Record your daily symptoms, doses and any serum test results you get. That way you will be able to tell how much you actually improve as well as how much B12 you need to improve. If you don’t improve, something else is wrong.
In most cases the symptoms will go away or become very much reduced.
You’ll Sleep Better with a Healthy B12 Level ~ Once you restore your B12 levels a small amount of Melatonin will give you a solid night’s sleep. You are going to love this~ and there’s no drugged feeling the next day. Note: research shows that a small dose is more effective than a larger dose.
Melatonin is a natural substance. The pineal gland, located in the brain, makes it and releases it, primariliy at night. Adequate melatonin levels help establish healthy sleep patterns. Malatonin levels decrease as you get older.
B12 prevents major birth defects
March 2, 2009 ~ Before becoming pregnant, women need to get enough vitamin B12 in addition to folic acid to cut their risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect of the brain and spinal cord, researchers said.
“Vitamin B12 is essential for the functioning of the nervous system and for the production of red blood cells,” says Duane Alexander, MD, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. “The results of this study suggest that women with low levels of B12 not only may risk health problems of their own, but also may increase the chance that their children may be born with a serious birth defect.”
Irish women with the lowest vitamin B12 levels were five times more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect than those with the highest levels, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.
As an aside, I used to tell people about B12 on any forum I could find. I had a lot of responses on an Irish forum, but then the forum deleted my posts. At that point I saw the forum’s many drug adverts. Karen 3/2/09
Gray’s Attorney textbook and B12
Gray’s Attorney Textbook of Medicine, says, “On physical examination… those with B12 deficiency frequently look flabby.” I believe the textbook says that to alert lawyers to the fact that a person does not have to be skinny, to be B12 anemic.
I know I looked flabby. However, when I began eating for my blood type, as per D’Adamo, I lost 5 lb. a month. I switched from pasta and bread to brown rice. Even though I ate more I still lost weight. I tried the Blood Type Diet because D’Adamo talks about research showing his diet guidelines reducing symptoms of pernicious anemia. Apparently the diet reduces swelling at cell level. Also, for me the diet reduced the diarrhea associated with low B12 levels. You can check it out at www.dadamo.com. There is a food database.