Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin. It is found in an assortment of foods including dairy products, meat and fish. Vitamin B12 is important for growth, the reproduction of cells, blood formation, as well as the synthesizing of protein and tissue. Vitamin B12 is conjoined to the protein in food and is often mixed with other B vitamins to create a complex formula. Since the human body can stockpile many years worth of vitamin B12 deficiency of this nutrient is extremely rare.
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However, the elderly and vegetarians can be vulnerable to a vitamin B12 deficit as are those who suffer from a disease known as pernicious anemia. This condition makes the body unable to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract.
In such cases it may be necessary to intravenously administer vitamin B 12 into the bloodstream to sidestep the absorption process. Doctors sometimes prescribe vitamin B12 injections to pernicious anemia patients as well as people with chronic fatigue syndrome, stress and other conditions.
Vitamin B12 injections are often delivered in a man-made form of the vitamin known as cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is soaked up quickly in the muscles at the injection site.
In addition to B12, the ingredients of cyanocobalamin injections are sodium chloride (common table used as a preservative), sodium hydroxide (a strongly alkaline caustic used in various sodium compounds), hydrochloric acid (corrosive acid used mainly for dissolving unwanted substance) and benzyl alcohol (as a preservative). All of these added substances are listed as inactive ingredients in cyancobalamin.
Cyanocobalamin is blended in a clear red, sterile and non-pyrogenic (does not produce fever) solution. The hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture) solution is water soluble.
Cyancobalamin injections are typically given in 1,000 mcg doses. The plasma (watery fluid of the blood) level of the compound reaches its peak within one hour following delivery. At least half of the vitamin B12 received in the shot is excreted in the urine within 48 hours.