• Medical

Vitamin B Complex Injection VS Oral Supplement: The Difference in Benefits & Bioavailability

Group getting IV therapy

11.18.20

BY: DR. KYON HOOD, MD

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)

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)

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
  • energy levels
  • healthy brain function
  • cardiovascular health

Patients rarely experience any side effects, but they can occur. Often people experience:

  • excessive thirst
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • blurred vision

Benefits and Bioavailability of Vitamin B Complex Injections

Vitamin B complex injections, also known as cobalamin injections, are quick, effective, and painless injections done in the arm but can also be given in other areas of the body. 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 offer anywhere from 75% to 100% bioavailability. Individuals who receive these treatments experience a rapid onset of the treatment’s benefits.

Benefits and Bioavailability of Oral Supplements

Oral supplements provide a simple, more convenient way to revitalize out of the two methods. Daily vitamin B supplements are relatively inexpensive, and 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 ton of 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 the systemic circulation.” 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.

Conclusion

There are apparent differences between vitamin injections 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 reliable, consistent method of maximizing vitamin bioavailability than oral supplements, with 75 to 100% of the treatment absorbed. 

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 B injections are more of a “want” than a “need.” If you are immunocompromised or vitamin B deficient (which requires a medical diagnosis), injections are the way to go. If you’re looking for a quick boost in energy, injections can also be helpful. Everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to specific treatments.

Consult your Doctor

Always consult your doctor 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. 

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