Physicians commonly prescribe vitamin B12 supplements for vitamin B12 deficiency and certain anemias. Vitamin B12 is available in three forms: pills, shots, and sublingual drop and sprays. Physicians often differ in their opinions as to which form of vitamin B12 is the most effective.
Vitamin B12 Shots
Vitamin B12 shots are available by prescription only in the United States. The most common dosing regimen is 1000mcg (micrograms) weekly for four weeks, then once a month. To make sure that the shots are working, many physicians order specific lab tests periodically. Most physicians, according to the American Family Physician website, recommend vitamin B12 shots over vitamin B12 pills because it bypasses the stomach and goes directly into the body.
Vitamin B12 Pills
Vitamin B12 pills are available over-the-counter in the United States. They are available in varying strengths. The recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 is 2 micrograms per day. Most vitamin B12 pills contain approximately 100 to 200 micrograms per tablet and recommend one to three pills daily. The reason for such high oral doses is that the stomach reduces absorption of vitamin B12 during the digestive process.
Benefits of Vitamin B12 Shots
One benefit of vitamin B12 shots is the absorption rate of injectable vitamin B12 is more efficient than that of vitamin B12 pills. Another benefit is that most insurance will cover the cost of vitamin B12 injections as long as the physician bills it with the proper diagnosis. In addition, once weekly or once monthly dosing can be much more convenient than taking three daily doses of vitamin B12 pills. Many people who cannot swallow pills without difficulty prefer the injectable form of vitamin B12.
Benefits of Vitamin B12 Pills
Because vitamin B12 pills are available over the counter, they can allow someone to treat themselves without frequent trips to the doctor. Many people would rather be able to take oral medications than have injections.
If your physician recommends that you take a vitamin B12 supplement, discuss with him which form of vitamin B12 he suggests to treat your condition. Make price comparisons as to which form will be most cost effective for you. Always consult your physician whenever starting a vitamin supplement of any kind, and be sure to have the recommended lab tests done periodically to monitor your condition.