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What benefits does vitamin B12 give people?

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Quick Answer

Vitamin B12 may effectively treat vitamin B12 deficiency and conditions such as pernicious anemia, memory loss, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, according to WebMD. It can also potentially treat cyanide poisoning and decrease homocysteine blood levels in people with hyperhomocysteinemia.

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Full Answer

Vitamin B12 is naturally obtained from meat, fish, dairy and other food sources, says WebMD. Synthetic vitamin B12 is produced in laboratories. The body needs this vitamin to maintain the healthy function of various parts of the body, especially the brain, nerves and blood cells.

People with vitamin B12 deficiency usually take the vitamin as a supplement through the mouth or nose to increase vitamin B12 levels in the blood, thus treating the condition, states WebMD. Those with inherited vitamin B12 deficiency typically inject the vitamin for 10 days, and receive injections on a monthly basis throughout their lives. Individuals with pernicious anemia, which results from vitamin B12 deficiency and commonly occurs in older people, also benefit from taking the vitamin. This type of anemia leads to low red blood cell counts due to the body’s inability to absorb vitamin B12 properly.

To treat cyanide poisoning, a person may be given a dose of around 10 grams of a natural form of vitamin B12 called hydroxocobalamin, notes WebMD. People with hyperhomocysteinemia take vitamin B12 orally in conjunction with folic acid and pyridoxine.

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