Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient in all living organisms, responsible for energy production, nerve function, and cell reproduction. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to anemia, fatigue, and depression. In the scientific literature, vitamin B12 usually means cyanocobalamin, which is freely converted to one of the coenzyme forms in the human body. However, one of the most easily digestible forms of B12 is injectable methylcobalamin. So how methylcobalamin B12 differs from other forms of B12? What are its health benefits? What role does it play in promoting weight loss?
What is Methylcobalamin B12?
Methylcobalamin B12 is a biologically active food supplement containing the active form of vitamin B12 with better bioavailability. Vitamin B12 helps other B vitamins perform their functions. For example, this supplement is involved in the processes of regulation of the nervous system and the formation of blood cells (erythrocytes, platelets) (Zugravu et al., 2021). The main natural source of this vitamin is animal products, so it is particularly important for people following a vegan (strict vegetarian) diet.
Methylcobalamin is also known as “vitamin B12.” It is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the metabolism of fats and proteins and the formation of red blood cells. Methylcobalamin is a specific form of B12 used by 5-methyltetrahydrofolate homocysteine methyltransferase, also known as methionine synthase (Watson, 2017). It is also essential for the proper nervous system function and has been shown to be effective in treating nerve pain and neuropathy.
Methylcobalamin B12 is typically injected intramuscularly (into the muscle), but it can also be taken orally in the form of capsules or tablets. The injectable form of B12 is usually given on a weekly basis, while the oral form can be taken daily.
How is Methylcobalamin B12 Different from Other Forms of B12?
Methylcobalamin is the active form of vitamin B12 and, unlike cyanocobalamin, begins to act immediately after ingestion. In other words, it is more bioavailable than other vitamin B12 forms. One of the main functions of this vitamin is to ensure the formation and maturation of blood cells. It also synthesizes complex proteins necessary for constructing epithelial cells and tissue repair (Paul & Brady, 2017). Thanks to these properties, vitamin B12 contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system immediately.
While most people can get all the vitamin B12 they need from their diet, some people may not be able to absorb enough from food or even its most common cyanocobalamin form. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Auto disease
- Gastrointestinal surgery
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
People with these conditions may need to take vitamin B12 to meet their needs (Wang et al., 2018). In this case, a methylcobalamin B12 injection is better absorbed by the body and can instantly provide all the benefits of this important vitamin.
What Are the Health Benefits of Injectable Methylcobalamin?
Methylcobalamin B12 injections have a number of potential health benefits, including:
- Formation and maturation of blood cells: One of the main functions of injectable methylcobalamin is to ensure the formation and maturation of blood cells (Zugravu et al., 2021). It also synthesizes complex proteins necessary for constructing epithelial cells and tissue repair.
- Boosting energy levels: Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the metabolism of fats and proteins, which are essential for the production of energy. Methylcobalamin can help increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.
- Improving cognitive function: Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper function of the nervous system. Markun et al. (2021) believe that it can improve cognitive function and memory and protect against age-related cognitive decline.
- Treating nerve pain: Methylcobalamin B12 can also be effective in treating nerve pain and neuropathy since it helps to repair damaged nerves and reduces inflammation. Besides, in diseases of the peripheral nervous system, it can reduce pain, help to restore motor functions, and lessen autonomic disorders.
- Supporting fertility: Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of red blood cells and DNA (Banihani, 2017). It has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women.
- Boosting mood: Methylcobalamin B12 can also help to boost mood and reduce stress levels since it helps to regulate the levels of serotonin. The latter plays an important role in mood regulation.
In addition, methylcobalamin injections play an important role in maintaining the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and the regulation of immune function.
What Role Does Injectable Methylcobalamin Play in Promoting Weight Loss?
Some researchers claim that methylcobalamin B12 injections can also play a role in promoting weight loss. It helps to break down fat cells and convert them into energy, which can help to boost metabolism and promote weight loss (Zheng et al., 2018). In addition, this supplement can help reduce appetite and cravings and increase energy levels, all of which can contribute to weight loss.
Vitamin B12 injections are being offered at certain body shaping clinics with the promise that they will boost energy and metabolism. Still, many experts, including those from the Mayo Clinic, state that methylcobalamin B12 injection does not result in any weight loss (Bauer, 2020). Supporters of weight loss actively promote methylcobalamin injection because B12 provides an energy boost and aids in weight loss.
Methylcobalamin vitamin B12 deficiency compromises the body’s ability to maintain energy levels. So, if a person goes from being extremely deficient (which causes extreme fatigue and weakness) to having the right B12 level, there is a good chance that the body will feel energized and be able to exercise more for weight loss.
Injectable methylcobalamin is an active and highly absorbable coenzyme form of vitamin B12. It has potential health benefits, including boosting energy levels, improving cognitive function, treating nerve pain, supporting fertility, and boosting mood. In addition, some argue that methylcobalamin injection can also play a role in promoting weight loss. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.
Banihani, S. A. (2017). Vitamin B12 and semen quality. Biomolecules, 7(4), 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom7020042
Bauer, B. A. (2020, August 26). B-12 shots: Do they work for weight loss? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/vitamin-b12-injections/faq-20058145
Markun, S., Gravestock, I., Jäger, L., Rosemann, T., Pichierri, G., & Burgstaller, J. M. (2021). Effects of vitamin B12 supplementation on cognitive function, depressive symptoms, and fatigue: A systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression. Nutrients, 13(3), 923. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030923
Paul, C., & Brady, D. M. (2017). Comparative bioavailability and utilization of particular forms of B12 supplements with potential to mitigate b12-related genetic polymorphisms. Integrative Medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 16(1), 42–49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312744/
Wang, H., Li, L., Qin, L. L., Song, Y., Vidal-Alaball, J., & Liu, T. H. (2018). Oral vitamin B12 versus intramuscular vitamin B12 for vitamin B12 deficiency. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd004655.pub3
Watson, R. R. (2017). Nutrition and functional foods for healthy aging. Elsevier Academic Press.
Zheng, Y., Ma, A., Zheng, M., Wang, Q., Liang, H., Han, X., & Schouten, E. G. (2018). B vitamins can reduce body weight gain by increasing metabolism-related enzyme activities in rats fed on a high-fat diet. Current Medical Science, 38(1), 174–183. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11596-018-1862-9
Zugravu, C.-A., Macri, A., Belc, N., & Bohiltea, R. (2021). Efficacy of supplementation with methylcobalamin and cyancobalamin in maintaining the level of serum holotranscobalamin in a group of plant‑based diet (vegan) adults. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 22(3), 993. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2021.10425