Is a B12 shot better than a B12 pill?

Is a B12 shot better than a B12 pill?

My dear friend Helen was being seen at a naturopathic clinic recently and was given a vitamin B12 injection.  She called to ask whether the injection was a better delivery system than just taking B12 supplements.

Great question Helen!

Vitamin B12 injections are still common in medical clinics in North America (both allopathic and naturopathic).  For example in Ontario Canada alone, approximately 110,000 residents receive vitamin B12 injections each year.  The Ministry of Health in Canada had the same question as Helen and  looked into this issue to find out if this practice is effective and also to consider the expense of shots vs pills.

In the Ministry of Health’s HQO report (The Health Quality Ontario) found that vitamin B12 oral supplements (pills and sublingual) are as effective as injections of vitamin B12.

They also found that the Ministry of Health could save $14 million over five years by switching from intramuscular injection (shots) to oral administration (pills) of vitamin B12.

Based on this and other US studies, my advice is to skip the shots and simply take vitamin B12 as part of a B complex vitamin supplement or use a sublingual B12 supplement to reverse deficiencies.

Masucci L, Goeree R. Vitamin B12 intramuscular injections versus oral supplements: a budget impact analysis. ONTARIO HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT SERIES (OHTAS)  Nov 1 2013.

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