Vitamin B12 Overdose

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vitamin B12 or cyanocobalamin is a common water soluble vitamin. It helps in the proper functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). Apart from that, the other functions of vitamin B12 deficiency include the production of red blood cells and regulation of metabolism. Vitamin B12 is required in very small quantities in our body and is used to treat pernicious anemia.

Vitamin B12 Overdose

Dairy products, meat and eggs are rich sources of vitamin B12. In addition to these natural sources of vitamin B12 supplements in the form of tablets or pills are also available. In most cases it is observed that an overdose of vitamin B12 is due to excessive ingestion of these supplements.

We know that all vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the body. But there is also a misconception that taking vitamins in excess can help us improve our immune system. This misconception results in excessive intake of vitamins that are not really needed by our body. This results in overdose and toxicity. Let's take a look at the side effects caused due to an overdose of vitamin B12 in detail.

Effects of vitamin B12 Overdose

Firstly, you should know that an overdose of vitamin B12 is very rare. As this vitamin is soluble in water, dissolves in the body when consumed in excess amounts. But sometimes, there is a substantial increase in the quantity of vitamin B12 in the body that may lead to overdose symptoms and side effects. If the kidneys of the person not operate properly, there may be an increase in the level of vitamin B12 in the body.

Symptoms of overdose of vitamin B12 deficiency include numbness or itching sensation in some parts of the body. Dizziness, headache and abnormal heart functioning are some other side effects of vitamin B12. It can also cause tingling in the extremities.

Vitamin B12 Toxicity

Vitamin B12 toxicity results from excessive intake of vitamin B12. The most prominent side effect of vitamin B12 toxicity include high risk of cancer. As seen above, one of the functions of vitamin B12 is to stimulate cell division. But, since it is not possible to distinguish between helpful and harmful cells, which leads to proliferation and cancer cell growth as well. Thus, it has been observed that different types of cancers are the major side effects of this vitamin.

An overdose of vitamin B12 in the treatment of pernicious anemia can result in leukemia. If a person having a diet rich in cholesterol and animal protein has an overdose of this vitamin, it is a greater risk of suffering from cancer of the stomach and esophagus.

Hence, we can conclude that you should not completely stop the intake of vitamin B12, but restrict it to the prescribed amount. Although vitamin B12 overdose is very rare, should take appropriate measures to avoid the side effects related to it. Take care!