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What Is a Methylcobalamin Injection?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A methylcobalamin injection is a form of vitamin B12 supplementation. Methylcobalamin is a form of the vitamin that is metabolically active in the body. People who might benefit from this type of injection include those who have pernicious anemia and those who are suffering from a temporary deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is essential for good health. The vitamin helps keep red blood cells and the nervous system functioning correctly. Many forms of the vitamin exist, and methylcobalamin is the form that the vitamin takes after the body absorbs the form found in food. A methylcobalamin injection, therefore, delivers a vitamin into the body that can be active immediately, without having to undergo any extra metabolic steps first.

Normally, a healthy diet should supply enough of this vitamin to prevent health issues, but some people have a medical condition that affects the ability of the body to absorb the substance from food. This condition is known as pernicious anemia, and sufferers need to get supplemental injections for life. For people who are experiencing a temporary deficiency of the vitamin, a short course of methylcobalamin injection treatment might be sufficient. An operation that removes a portion of the stomach or of the intestine can affect vitamin B12 levels in the body, as can problems with the liver, so some patients might also receive this treatment. A deficiency can result in nervous system symptoms such as tingling, tiredness and forgetfulness.

This form of B12 injection can also be beneficial in treating a condition called hyperhomocysteinemia, which is a symptom of heart disease. If a person is at risk of developing eye disease related to aging, then the injection might also be helpful in prevention. Scientific evidence has not, however, indicated benefits for many other illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, Lyme disease, and any form of cancer.

Before administering a course of methylcobalamin injections, a doctor might take blood samples to check the condition of the red blood cells and to look for the presence of anemia. Diet might be the problem, especially in vegans, who do not eat meat or any product of an animal and hence do not ingest the vitamin from these rich sources. If the patient eats a healthy diet, then the doctor will look for medical issues that are causing the deficiency.

Injections once a week for six weeks comprise a typical short-term methylcobalamin injection regimen. These might need to be repeated over time. Possible side effects include tenderness at the injection site, headaches or nausea. Some people might be able to take capsule supplements instead of injections, and skin creams with the vitamin are also available to treat sufferers of conditions such as eczema.

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Discussion Comments

By anon936772 — On Mar 03, 2014

Can we take methylcobalamin in case of an herniated disc specifically for D5-6 disc herniation? Please advise.

By literally45 — On Jan 10, 2014

Does anyone experience increased appetite as a vitamin B12 shots' side effect? I know that nausea is a common side effect. But that doesn't happen to me, I just eat a lot.

By SarahGen — On Jan 09, 2014

I have to get methylcobalamin injections at least once a year for anemia. My husband learned how to do the injections and does them for me with the approval of my doctor.

Many people think that only vegetarians develop anemia but that's not true. Anemia can happen due to many reasons. Our body doesn't absorb most of the vitamin B12 in foods anyway. So anyone can suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency.

In the past, I've taken vitamin B12 tablets as well but I think that methylcobalamin B12 injections work best. They don't have to be metabolized so they work immediately.

By ZipLine — On Jan 09, 2014

I might have to get methylcobalamin vitamin B12 injections for nerve damage. I have a herniated disc in my back as well as narrowing of the spine. I have an appointment for an EMG (electromyography) next month. They're going to check the health of my nerves. My doctor also wants me to get another blood test to check my vitamin B12 levels. If my levels are low, I will get methylcobalamin injections. Apparently, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve damage and these injections can help nerves heal.

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