What are the Risks of Vitamin B12 Side Effects?

Vitamin B12 supplements have been used safely for many years as an effective treatment for Vitamin B12 deficiency and are typically associated with only mild B12 side effects.

These B12 supplements are available in a number of forms such as vitamin B12 injections (B12 Shots), B12 oral pill, sublingual B12 pills, strips or liquid and intranasal sprays.

While each of the forms can be effective for B12 deficiency treatment, they may be accompanied with side effects that range from mild to very serious.

And some of the side effects may be directly associated with specific supplement forms.

For example, B12 injections can present side effects associated with the injection site such as soreness, redness, or itching. 

Intranasal B12 can also be associated with certain dermatologic side effects such as itching and rash due to its delivery method.

However, most B12 side effects are caused by allergic reaction, interaction with other drugs or interaction with diseases.

B12 side effects may appear in a wide variety of symptoms such as cardiovascular, dermatological, respiratory, hematological, and musculoskeletal.

And while direct allergic reactions to vitamin B12 are rare, persons who are allergic to Cobalt should not take vitamin B12 supplements.

However, allergic reactions are more often related to inactive ingredients used to preserve or help improve the ability to inject the B12 supplements.

For example, there is speculation that some of the skin issues may be caused by the presence of iodine or sorbitol in the ampules.

Because of the risks of allergic reaction, and drug or disease interaction it is important to consult your health care professional before starting a B12 regimen.

It is also important to inform your doctor of any allergies you have and any medication or supplements that you are taking.

The following list of B12 side effects may not be complete and should be considered only as a supplement to the knowledge and advise of your healthcare professional.

Reported Vitamin B12 Side Effects include:

• Some patients may experience pain, redness, itching or rash at site of a B12 injection or with intranasal B12 forms.

• Mild Diarrhea

• Muscle cramps, weakness and irregular may be experienced due to decreased levels of potassium

• People who are allergic to Cobalt can experience allergic reactions to and should not use B12 supplements

• anxiety or nervousness

• dizziness, nausea or vomiting

• back pain and myalgia

• Allergic Reactions symptoms may include chest pain, difficulty breathing and swelling of face and tongue

• Inflammatory acne has been associated with B12 injections and intranasal B12

• Extended use B12 injections containing aluminum may cause too much aluminum to build up in the body (mental changes, muscle weakness, bone pain)

B12 Side Effects Related to Drug interactions include:

• Medications that affect blood cell production such as chloramphenicol , Anti-Cancer and HIV drugs.

• Anti-infection drugs such as:  amoxicillin, erythromycin, pyrimethamine, methotrexate

B12 Side Effects Related to Adverse interactions with Disease include:

• Use of Cyanocobalamin forms of B12 may cause rapid progression Lebers Disease (a hereditary optic nerve disease)

• Folate deficiency in megaloblastic anemia may be obscured by B12 treatment

• The use of B12 supplements may unmask and exacerbate a condition known as polycythemia vera, where the number of blood cells are too high.

If you experience any of the above B12 side effects or other symptoms related to B12 use, consult your doctor before continuing use of B12 supplements.

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