Vitamin B12 injections, option to try tablets instead

We have a number of people who have required regular B12 injections every 3 months, or 20 injections every 5 years. This is because they don’t absorb B12 normally, and without extra B12 they are at risk of developing anaemia (low blood count) and Neuropathy (nerve damage). But are we doing this the best way?

What if they take very high strength B12 tablets?

Rather than replace with a usual 50mcg dose, patients in Sweden are usually treated with high strength 1000mcg tablets, taken once daily, or sometimes two daily. This approach seems to allow B12 to “leak in” rather than to be absorbed.

We cannot prescribe these high strength “food supplements”, but they can be purchased online at Holland and Barrett, Ebay and Amazon. These may cost £7-20 for a years supply.

We would therefore like to offer our patients who require B12, to stop injections and consider the option of a blood test to check B12 levels after 3 months of tablets, then after 9 months of tablets and finally after 18 months of tablets. If they maintain good blood levels (and feel well), then we would no longer recommend routine testing.

Finally if you are coming for a B12 blood test, please dont take any B12 tablets for 3 days (to help us measure your body store, rather than how much you have recently absorbed).