Most people who have vitamin B12 deficiency need to take special supplements in order to get their vitamin B12 levels back to normal. Malabsorption of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) prevents you from digesting this essential nutrient from food sources such as meat, fish, and dairy products.
If you lack intrinsic factor, a necessary enzyme for absorbing vitamin B12 in gut, then you must dispense cobalamin directly into your bloodstream in order to prevent symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia.
People at high risk for vitamin B12 malabsorption are the elderly, patients of gastrointestinal disorders, gastric bypass patients, and people with autoimmune disorders. If you fall into that category, then you must use specific vitamin B12 supplements that bypass the digestive system.
Sublingual vitamin B12 is a popular method of utilizing vitamin B12 while bypassing the digestive system. Sublingual vitamin B12 is placed beneath the tongue, where it dissolves into the saliva and enters your bloodstream. Sublingual vitamin B12 is available as tablets, lotions, droplets, and sprays.
Vitamin B12 shots are also effective for treating vitamin B12 malabsorption, but they usually require a prescription and are very painful, as they must be inserted into the fleshy, muscular tissue below the buttocks.
The main advantages of using sublingual vitamin B12 are cost- most are relatively inexpensive- and convenience, as they don't require a doctor's prescription.
However, one disadvantage of sublingual vitamin B12 tablets is that it's inefficient. It only works if you leave it under your tongue, and let it sit there until it dissolves completely and goes into your bloodstream. If you're in the habit of absentmindedly chewing your sublingual vitamin B12 pill, then you're going to continue suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Also, the taste is sometimes unpleasant, and many vitamin B12 sublingual lozenges produce a burning sensation in the mouth. For that reason, you might be tempted to chew it hurriedly, instead of allowing it to dissipate thoroughly. Again, once swallowed, sublingual vitamin B12 is of no more benefit to you than
If that's the case, then you're better off injecting vitamin B12, as the sublingual vitamin B12 tablets are of no use to you once swallowed.
Still other forms of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 are available without prescriptions that are as effective, if not more, than sublingual vitamin B12 pills. These include nonedible vitamin B12 supplements that are painless, easily absorbed, and low cost.