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Does Sublingual B12 Really Work?

author image Lisa Porter
Lisa Porter began writing professionally in 2009. She writes for various websites and has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.
Does Sublingual B12 Really Work?
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause fatigue and weakness. Photo Credit: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Vitamin B-12 supplements come in a variety of forms, including patches, oral tablets and sublingual lozenges. Vitamin B-12 lozenges placed directly under the tongue dissolve in the saliva, and the body absorbs the vitamin through the tissues in the mouth. No evidence shows that sublingual vitamin B-12 lozenges promote better absorption than other oral tablets, notes the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. However, studies have found this form to be just as effective as other oral supplements. Consult your doctor about vitamin B-12 supplements before beginning treatment.

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Treating High Homocysteine Levels

Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to elevated homocysteine levels in the blood, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. In a 2006 study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,” researchers from the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine found that supplementation treatment with both sublingual and oral vitamin B-complex significantly reduced homocysteine levels over a 6-week period.

Treating B-12 Deficiency

In a 2003 study published in the “British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,” researchers from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University found that 500 microgram doses of sublingual vitamin B-12 were just as effective as 500 microgram doses of oral B-12 tablets at correcting existing vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Need for Supplements

A variety of health conditions can hinder vitamin B-12 absorption, increasing the risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency. B-12 deficiency can cause irreversible nervous system and neurological damage if left untreated. Individuals at high risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency include those with atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease and those who have had gastrointestinal surgery. These individuals may benefit from sublingual vitamin B-12 supplements or other forms of supplements. According to data from the Framingham Offspring Study, people who eat fortified cereals more than four times per week or take vitamin B-12 supplements are less likely to have B-12 deficiency, notes the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.


Vitamin B-12 supplements contain varying doses. Consult your doctor to determine the appropriate dose for your needs. Doctors may suggest a 300 to 10,000 mcg dose of oral or sublingual vitamin B-12 for treatment of vitamin B-12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, according to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, and a 500 microgram dose of vitamin B-12 in combination with folic acid and pyridoxine for the treatment of increased homocysteine levels.

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