OTC Pearl of the Day: Vitamin B12


Vitamin B12 injections or nasal spray may be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.

OTC Pearl of the Day: Vitamin B12

Indication: Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information.


  • Food sources of vitamin B12 include poultry, meat, fish, and dairy products.
  • Vitamin B12 is also added to some foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, and is available as an oral supplement.
  • Vitamin B12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Adverse effects of B12 may include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness and tingling sensation in hands and feet.
  • Interactions: B12 may interact with aminosalicylic acid, colchicine, metformin, proton pump inhibitors, vitamin C.
  • Mechanism of action:Tissues absorb vitamin B12 by specific B12 binding proteins, transcobalamin I and II, allowing it to enter the cells. Most of the vitamin is stored in the liver. Vitamin B12 is essential for DNA synthesis and energy production, particularly in erythroid progenitor cells.


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