Vitamin B12 supplement given sublingually rarely causes any side effects. Digestive problems such as heartburn are some of the rare side effects associated with B12 intake.
The term ‘sublingual’ literally means below the tongue. So, when it comes to taking sublingual medications, there is absolutely no need to swallow these drugs. One has to simply keep the medication beneath the tongue and within minutes it melts and gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Thus, sublingual medications enter the body through the mucus membranes lining the mouth and skip the digestive tract. Sublingual vitamin B12 supplements are often the first choice to combat B12 deficiency.
Generally 2000 mg or 2500 mg strength B12 tablets are recommended to overcome vitamin deficiency. Lower strength tablets are not of much help when it comes to restoring adequate vitamin B12 levels. The most commonly preferred sublingual supplement of vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin. Usually, the sublingual B12 supplement course lasts for 30 days, which is necessary to bring back normal vitamin B12 levels. Vegetables are a poor vitamin B12 source, hence people who strictly follow a vegetarian diet are likely to show vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
There have been reports of a mild tongue irritation after inserting the medicine beneath the tongue. However, this unusual sensation on the tongue goes away as soon as the medicines dissolves. Other side effects of sublingual B12 are given below.
As aforementioned, people who are allergic to sublingual vitamin B12 are bound to show some side effects. The body does not accept any medication it is allergic to. Allergic reactions due to intake of sublingual vitamin B12 supplements can cause side effects that may vary in severity.
A mild allergic reaction from sublingual vitamin B12 manifest in the form of skin rash. In most cases, the rash is localized but the affected area can be a source of irritation. This is because the rash formed is extremely itchy. Although, scratching the skin provides relief from the itchy feeling, one should refrain from doing this kind of scrubbing action. Scratching not only damages the skin but also aggravates the rash, thereby prolonging the healing time.
Side effects associated with severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening if urgent treatment is ignored. These worrisome side effects occur immediately after the required dose is taken and any delay in treatment cannot be tolerated. They are listed below:
- Trouble breathing
- Swollen face including the lips, eyelids, and the tongue
- Inability to talk properly (slurred speech)
- Severe chest pain
A small percentage of patients taking this supplement have suffered from mild to moderate diarrhea and heartburn. Some patients have also complained about nauseating feeling when the medicine is placed beneath the tongue.
Can 1000 mg or 2500 mg dose of sublingual vitamin B12 interfere with the normal functioning of the heart? Again, the risk of heart problems from B12 intake is very low. So, rarely one may come across patients suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF) due to intake of B12 sublingually. Blood circulation problems like pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs) and blood clot formation in the legs may occur as a result of CHF.
Skin problems in the form of folliculitis may occur as a consequence of consuming B12 supplement sublingually. Folliculitis is a condition in which the hair follicles (pouches that store hair root) is inflamed. The inflammation of hair follicle may lead to development of small red bumps or pus filled blisters near the affected follicle.
Studies show that people who are given vitamin B12 intravenously have a higher chance of developing side effects than those taking it sublingually. Also higher the dosage, be it intravenously or sublingually, raises the risk of side effects. So, one should take the medicine as instructed by the doctor in the required dosage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.