Vitamin B12 Toxicity

Cyanocobalamin, known popularly as vitamin B12, is used in the process of cell metabolism and can cause problems if you are deficient in it. If taking it in supplement form, then, are there any dangers you should look out for? Is it toxic at all? In this article, we'll look at the various problems with B12 and what to watch for in a B12 supplement.

One of the known dangers of B12 is an allergic reaction in those who are already allergic to the metal cobalt. Since B is chemically related to cobalt, it can cause a similiar reaction in sensitive individuals. Regardless of this allergy, even non-allergic people can suffer some skin problems.

In rare cases vitamin B12 has been known to have the curious side effect of facial rashes as well as hives. Pustules have also been reported, and in some cases this has led to long term skin lesions that last even after stopping the B12 supplementation. In these cases steroids are used to reduce the inflammation and the lesions eventually go away. Now, keep in mind that these effects are extremely rare, but you should be aware of the possibility.

There is also a serious side effect that can occur if taking vitamin B9, also known as folic acid or just folate. This is just a tiny bit complicated, so bear with me. If you are deficient in vitamin B12, you may develop a type of anemia. If left untreated, this may then progress to various forms of irreversible nerve damage, so the anemia actually acts as a warning sign for the nerve damage. Unfortunately, if you are deficient in B12 yet taking a B9 folate supplement, the anemia will not appear. You will not have that warning sign.

So in short, if you are taking folate supplements, be sure to also take B12 or you could be putting yourself in serious danger. The best way to accomplish this is with a B complex supplement, containing all the B vitamins.

If taking vitamin B12 for any purpose, the side effects can be almost non-existant at normal levels. Again, the rashes and other skin lesions appear to be fairly rare. And taking folate (B9) can create a serious problem if you are deficient in B12, so please consider supplementing with a B complex instead of just B12. Before buying a supplement, please see our section on B12 supplements, as not all B complexes are created equal, and it can be a bit tricky picking out the correct one.