According to Medline Plus, a website of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, methylcobalamin is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential to life as it helps to keep your nerve and blood cells healthy, and it also makes DNA. It’s unlikely you’ll need vitamin B12 supplementation, because your body stores at least one year’s supply of it in your liver. But a few health conditions are associated with B12 deficiency, which you can help improve by taking a dietary supplement.
In megaloblastic anemia, your red blood cells are larger than normal, but are also too immature and in too low a number to effectively carry oxygen through your body. When you have this vitamin-deficiency anemia, you might feel tingling and numbness in your arms and legs as well as other nervous system symptoms. Since either folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia, your doctor will order a lab test to measure the levels of both vitamins in your blood to determine the best treatment for you.
When you ingest vitamin B12, it binds with a substance in your stomach called “intrinsic factor” before your body absorbs and uses it. If your body can’t produce intrinsic factors, it leads to a vitamin B12-deficiency anemia known as “pernicious anemia.” If that becomes the case, you’ll need lifelong doses of B12 administered to you by injection, nasal formula, or your doctor will prescribe an oral supplement, according to Medline Plus.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If your storage of vitamin B12 is below normal, your nervous system can't function properly. You might experience symptoms such as shaky movements, unsteadiness, muscle weakness, spasticity, incontinence, low blood pressure, vision problems, dementia, psychoses and mood swings. These conditions may occur with just slight low levels of vitamin B12 before you develop any form of anemia.
Breast Cancer Prevention
A statement on the Medline Plus website cites a Johns Hopkins University finding that women with breast cancer usually have less vitamin B12 than healthy women. Researchers who reviewed the evidence considered the possibility that lack of sufficient B12 kept the body from repairing damaged DNA and led to the development of breast cancer. However, there’s yet to be scientific proof that taking vitamin B12 decreases a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer.