A vitamin B12 overdose has long been considered safe and non-toxic. When B12 is taken as an oral dose, all of the B12 that cannot be absorbed is eliminated through the colon.
Your stomach produces a protein called Intrinsic Factor which is necessary to absorb vitamin B12. The production of Intrinsic Factor decreases with age and so the elderly typically need to supplement their diets with B12.
Since vitamin B12 is found in the highest quantities in meats and dairy products, vegetarians and vegans are also likely to be deficient in B12. Other persons likely to be deficient in B12 are pregnant women.
If you think you could be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency, you might be tempted to take a vitamin B12 overdose, or B12 megadoses, on a regular basis.
Before you embark on such an extreme plan, consider having yourself tested for a B12 deficiency to be certain that the problem isn’t something else. Any test for a B12 deficiency must consider that low levels of B1 and Folic Acid can mask a deficiency of B12.
The most alarming aspect of vitamin B12 is that it has been linked with several types of cancers. Another factor against taking a megadose of B12 is that no research has been able to establish a safe upper limit of B12 consumption.
The link between high levels of B12 and cancer is easy to explain. Vitamin B12 stimulates cell division and it doesn’t distinguish between healthy and unhealthy cells. The excess vitamin B12 provides the extra energy needed by cancer cells.
I present you with these facts, not to dissuade you from taking vitamin B12 supplements but to warn you against taking too much. A vitamin B12 overdose ought to be avoided. Neither too little nor too much, let moderation be your watchword.
Besides taking pills, there are two other options available for obtaining extra vitamin B12. The first is the sublingual method where a vitamin B12 tablet is dissolved under your tongue. The other is through injections.
The sublingual method will work with any B12 tablet and it is not necessary to purchase the more expensive tablets designed especially for sublingual absorption. The main difference is that the more expensive tablets will have extra sugars and other flavours.
The symptoms of a vitamin B12 overdose are numbing and tingling in the extremities. If you experience these symptoms, stop taking vitamin B12 supplements.