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Vitamin B Complex Injection vs Oral Supplement

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Vitamin B complex vitamins are composed of eight B vitamins: B-1 (thiamine) B-2 (riboflavin) B-3 (niacin) B-5 (pantothenic acid) B-6 (pyridoxine) B-7 (biotin) B-9 (folic acid) B-12 (cobalamin)

If you want to be the healthiest you can be, meeting all of your body’s specific nutrient needs is a must. That means getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, along with macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, and fat – from high-quality sources. Those sources should primarily be the foods you eat each day, but supplements can come in handy when dietary sources aren’t enough.

Supplementing with certain key nutrients is especially helpful if you’re concerned about becoming deficient in a specific vitamin or mineral.

When avoiding a deficiency and maintaining healthy nutrient levels is your primary goal, oral supplements and vitamin injections are two available options worth considering.

In this post, we’ll zero in on B-complex vitamins, why they’re essential for your health, and the best B-complex supplement to try when you need a nutrient boost.

B-Complex Vitamins Explained

You probably hear about B vitamins all the time, but the details about these key nutrients are easy to overlook. You know you need them, but do you know why? Let’s find out.

What Are the B-Complex Vitamins?

B complex vitamins are composed of eight B vitamins:

  • B-1 (thiamine): Thiamine is one of the key nutrients involved in the process of converting food into energy. You’ll find this B-complex vitamin in a variety of foods, including certain nuts and seeds.
  • B-2 (riboflavin): Riboflavin is another B-complex vitamin that plays a key role in converting food into energy, making it essential for a healthy metabolism. Beef, mushrooms, and several other foods contain exceptionally high levels of B2.
  • B-3 (niacin): Niacin helps your body produce new DNA, and it is also involved in the process of sending and receiving signals between cells. Several types of meat contain plenty of niacin, including chicken. One exceptional plant-based source of this B-complex vitamin is the humble lentil, a member of the legume family.
  • B-5 (pantothenic acid): Pantothenic acid is another B-complex vitamin involved in your body’s metabolic functions. In addition, vitamin B5 aids in the production of hormones and “good” cholesterol. You’ll find this B-complex vitamin in numerous foods, including avocados and some dairy products.
  • B-6 (pyridoxine): Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps your body process the amino acids that you get from food. Pyridoxine also contributes to the production of red blood cells, as well as the neurotransmitters in your brain. Dietary sources of this vitamin include some types of fish and potatoes.
  • B-7 (biotin): Biotin is known for its role in maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails, but that’s not the only purpose that this B-complex vitamin serves. Vitamin B7 also helps you process carbohydrates and fat after you eat them, making it another B-complex vitamin that is essential for optimal metabolism. Dietary sources of biotin include numerous fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs and dairy products.
  • B-9 (folic acid): Folic acid, sometimes referred to as folate, is a B-complex vitamin that helps your body metabolize amino acids. This vitamin also contributes to the production of new cells, including red and white blood cells. Folic acid abounds in foods like beans, spinach, and organ meats.
  • B-12 (cobalamin): Cobalamin or cyanocobalamin is usually just called vitamin B12 when sold as a supplement or listed as an ingredient. Proper vitamin B12 levels are essential for a healthy brain, and it’s also involved in the production of red blood cells and DNA. Unfortunately for people on a plant-based diet, B12 is difficult to find in animal sources – it’s most abundant in animal products like meat, dairy products, and eggs. However, you can still get plenty of B12 on a vegan diet with help from a supplement, or in sources like fortified breakfast cereals.

These vitamins are essential for optimizing your overall body function. Specifically, they aid cell health, growth of red blood cells, energy levels, eyesight, brain and nerve function, and cardiovascular health, all of which contribute to a healthy lifestyle. But there is much debate on how we can best supplement these vitamins outside of diet alone. On the one hand, you have oral supplements—an easy, cost-efficient way to revitalize; and on the other hand, you have vitamin injections—a more expensive yet more efficient revitalization method. Today, we’re going to look at the benefits and bioavailability ratios of each technique. Vitamin B can help prevent infections and help promote:

  • Cell health: As you’ve learned, several of the B-complex vitamins play key roles in the growth and development of new cells. These include red blood cells, white blood cells, and the tissues that make up your skin, muscles, and more.
  • Energy levels: Many of the vitamins in the B-complex family have a profound impact on your metabolism. A faltering metabolism can’t adequately process and use the nutrients in your food, which means you’ll be left with symptoms like fatigue. Likewise, vitamin B12 plays a key role in maintaining cognitive functioning, meaning B-complex vitamins heavily support both mental and physical energy.
  • Healthy brain function: B12 is the key player among the B-complex vitamins when it comes to healthy neurological functioning and mood support, but it’s not alone. You need all of the B vitamins for optimal cognitive and physical health.
  • Cardiovascular health: One purpose that numerous B vitamins serve is the production of red blood cells, which directly impact the health of your heart. Without enough red blood cells, it’s possible to develop anemia, which can affect the way oxygen is circulated through your entire body.

When taking a B-complex supplement, patients rarely experience any side effects. But they can occur. Often people experience: Taking B vitamins each day is generally considered safe, however it’s best to talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:

  • excessive thirst
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • blurred vision

All of these side effects are generally rare when taking B vitamin supplements. Nevertheless, consulting your doctor when you experience side effects from supplements or medications is advised.

Benefits and Bioavailability of Vitamin B Complex Injections

Vitamin B complex injections, which can include cobalamin and vitamin B12, are quick, effective, and painless injections done in the arm but can also be given in other areas of the body to help treat pernicious anemia. When we take any vitamin supplements orally, we lose much of what the vitamin offers through the liver and digestive system, decreasing the supplement’s bioavailability. Bioavailability is “the ability of a drug or other substance to be absorbed and used by the body.” Intramuscular injections with a needle offer anywhere from 75% to 100% much higher bioavailability. Individuals who receive an injectable form of vitamin B12, for example, experience a rapid onset of the treatment’s benefits due to better absorption.

Benefits and Bioavailability of Oral Supplements

Oral supplements provide a simple, faster way to revitalize out of the two methods. Daily vitamin Bsupplements are relatively inexpensive, can be fit into almost any morning routine, and are available at most vitamin shops and pharmacies. But what about bioavailability?

Well, what oral supplements have in convenience, they lack in bioavailability. The issue with determining the average bioavailability of oral supplements relies on a few variables—most notably metabolism. Oral drugs undergo what is known as “first-pass metabolism.” First-pass metabolism is when the concentration of a drug, specifically when administered orally, is significantly reduced before it reaches systemic circulation. In other words, first-pass metabolism describes reduced bioavailability when you consume something orally. First pass metabolism typically results in low bioavailability, resulting in adjusted dosages. That said, oral supplements can vary. They can range from 5% bioavailability to 100% bioavailability, depending on the patient’s metabolism in question. Injections are an effective treatment to remedy skin diseases, reduce stress levels, boost energy, and even help with weight management.


There are apparent differences between vitamin injections, like vitamin B12 shots, and oral supplements. For one, cost. The average price is about $90. In contrast, Nature Made Vitamin B12 1000 mcg Time Release Tablets (180 Count) sold at most local convenience stores come in just under $10 before tax. Another difference is bioavailability. As discussed, injections are a more reliable, consistent method of maximizing vitamin bioavailability than oral supplements, with a much higher treatment absorption.

Most people do not need vitamin injections, and regular oral supplements should satisfy the daily amount of 2.4 micrograms.

So what’s the bottom line?Vitamin Binjections are more of a “want” than a “need.” If you are immunocompromised or have a vitamin B12 deficiency (which requires a medical diagnosis), injections may beway to go.Vitamin B injections are more bioavailable than their oral supplement counterparts. If you’re looking for a quick boost in energy, injections may also be most helpful. Everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to specific treatments.

Consult Your Doctor

Always consult your doctor for medical advice before taking a course of action. It is important to have some health goals to go with why you are supplementing vitamin B. Some supplements can interact with certain underlying conditions and medications. Do not self-diagnose a vitamin deficiency; it is always better to get a professional’s say first.


Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Information | Mount Sinai - New York

Vitamin B-12 | Mayo Clinic

12 ways to keep your brain young | Harvard Health

Drug Absorption - Clinical Pharmacology | Merck Manuals Professional Edition

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