Vitamin B12 for the treatment of fatigue

 In the absence of a vitamin B12 deficiency, does it make sense to use it to treat fatigue?

Writing in Medscape, Dr. Julie Sease from the South Carolina College of Pharmacy in Columbia reviewed the evidence.

First, some background.

  • Vitamin B12 is usually supplied as hydroxycobalamin (preferred in Europe) or cyanocobalamin (used in the US)
  • Cyanocobalamin maintenance therapy is often administered by mouth at 1000 mcg daily or injected intramuscularly at 1000 mcg monthly.
  • Claims that vitamin B12 improves well-being in patients who are not deficient in the vitamin date back to 1952.
  • The first study was published in 1973.

And, the results.

  • There’s little scientific support for using vitamin B12 to treat fatigue in patients without a vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Dosing regimens are inconsistent among published studies.
  • The available data do not support the claim that it will improve fatigue symptoms.

The bottom line?
Dr. Sease concluded, “Further investigation and proof of benefit are needed before we can recommend vitamin B12 for treatment of fatigue.”

1/13/09 19:33 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.