Sublingual B12 – Is It Really Superior to Oral B12 Pill?

Sublingual B12 is just one of several forms of B12 supplements available for the treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency.

But, sublingual supplements have been touted by some as a superior to the B12 oral pill and equal to the B12 injection.

Sublingual B12 is available in pill form, strip or liquid.

The term sublingual refers to the method in which this supplement is taken and absorbed into the body.

Unlike the B12 oral pill, a sublingual B12 pill is not swallowed but rather placed under the tongue where it dissolves and enters directly into the bloodstream.

And because this method offers a more direct pathway, it bypasses the faulty digestive system that is so often the cause of B12 deficiency.

It is this direct pathway to the blood stream that supports the claims of rapid effect similar to the B12 shot.

Because the B12 oral pill reportedly relies on the digestive tract to breakdown the pill for absorption the claim is it provides inferior and often inadequate B12 absorption.

But what does the study data say?

READ : B12 Shots for Weight Loss – Does the Data Support the Hype?

What do Sublingual B12 Studies Say?

According to a study by the National Institute of Health, a dose of 500 micrograms of B12 given either sublingually or orally is equally effective for the treatment of B12 deficiency.

The study compared the effectiveness of sublingual B12 and oral pill on a test group with low B12 serum levels caused by both nutritional and B12 absorption issues.

After 4 weeks of treatment, both group’s serum levels had returned to a normal range and most of this increase occurred after one week of treatment.  

Other studies dating back to the 1970’s have shown that B12 oral supplements can be just as effective as B12 injections in the treatment of B12 deficiency.

In fact, the oral pill was shown to be effective in the treatment of patients with absorption issues caused by digestive system problems.

The key to proper oral treatment was dosages of 500 micrograms or more.

When delivered in these large doses an alternate pathway is used and the vitamin is absorbed en masse.

Despite this data many clinicians and physicians still prefer vitamin B12 injections when B12 deficiency symptoms have manifested and particularly with the presence of neurological symptoms.

While the data suggest that all of these forms of B12 supplements are effective for the treatment of B12 deficiency, the form that is right for you can depend on several factors.

As noted earlier, some physicians may recommend a regimen of B12 shots in cases where deficiency coincides with advanced symptoms or with certain digestive tract problems.

However in many cases, after B12 serum levels have returned to normal, sublingual B12 or oral pill may be used for maintenance.

Otherwise the determining factor for the best B12 supplement may come down to personal preference.

B12 shots can be painful, inconvenient and if not self-administered can be much more expensive. In contrast, both sublingual B12 and b12 oral pills are relatively inexpensive, convenient and effective.

For people who have trouble swallowing pills, sublingual B12 is a great options and by most accounts even taste good.

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