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It is especially important for people who have sustained serious burns to obtain adequate amounts of nutrients in their daily diet. When skin is burned, a substantial percentage of micronutrients may be lost. This increases the risk for infection, slows the healing process, prolongs the hospital stay, and even increases the risk of death. Although it is unclear which micronutrients are most beneficial for people with burns, many studies suggest that a multivitamin including the B complex vitamins may aid in the recovery process.

Keeping bones healthy throughout life depends on getting sufficient amounts of specific vitamins and minerals, including phosphorous, magnesium, boron, manganese, copper, zinc, folate, and vitamins C, K, B6, and B12, and B6.

In addition, some experts believe that high homocysteine levels may contribute to the development of osteoporosis. If this is the case, then there may prove to be a role for dietary or supplemental vitamins B9, B6, and B12.

Dietary and supplemental vitamin B complex is important for normal vision and prevention of cataracts (damage to the lens of the eye which can lead to cloudy vision). In fact, people with plenty of protein and vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3 (niacin) in their diet are less likely to develop cataracts. Plus, taking additional supplements of vitamins C, E, and B complex (particularly the B1, B2, B9 [folic acid], and B12 [cobalamin] in the complex ) may further protect the lens of your eyes from developing cataracts.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Blood levels of vitamin B12 are often low in people with HIV. It is unclear, however, what role vitamin B12 supplements would play in treatment. If you have HIV, your levels of vitamin B12 should be followed over time and B12 injections may be considered if levels get too low, especially if you have symptoms of B12 deficiency.

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Breast Cancer
Population based studies of postmenopausal women suggest that low vitamin B12 levels in the blood may be associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. It is not clear whether supplementation with vitamin B12 reduces the risk of this disease, however.

Male Infertility
Studies suggest that vitamin B12 supplements may improve sperm counts and sperm mobility. Further studies are needed to best understand how this can help men with a low sperm count or poor sperm quality.


Vitamin B12 Dietary Sources

Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 include fish, dairy products, organ meats (particularly liver and kidney), eggs, beef, and pork


Vitamin B12 Available Forms

Vitamin B12 can be found in multivitamins (including children's chewable and liquid drops), B complex vitamins, and are sold individually. It is available in both oral (tablets and, capsules) and intranasal formssoftgels, and lozenges. Vitamin B12 is also sold under the names cobalamin and cyanocobalamin.


How to Take Vitamin B12

People whose daily diet includes meat, milk, and other dairy products should be able to meet the recommended daily requirements without taking a vitamin supplement. Vegetarians who do not eat any animal protein should take a vitamin B12 supplement with water, preferably after eating. Elderly people may need greater amounts of vitamin B12 than younger people because the body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the diet diminishes with age.

People considering B12 supplements should check with a healthcare provider to find out the most appropriate dosage.

Daily recommendations for dietary vitamin B12 are listed below.


  • Newborns to 6 months: 0.4 mcg (adequate intake)
  • Infants 6 months to 1 year: 0.5 mcg (adequate intake)
  • Children 1 to 3 years: 0.9 mcg (RDA)
  • Children 4 to 8 years: 1.2 mcg (RDA)
  • Children 9 to 13 years: 1.8 mcg (RDA)
  • Adolescents 14 to 18 years: 2.4 mcg (RDA)


  • 19 years and older: 2.4 mcg (RDA)*
  • Pregnant females: 2.6 mcg (RDA)
  • Breastfeeding females: 2.8 mcg (RDA)

*Because 10-30% of older people may not absorb B12 from food very efficiently, it is recommended that those older than 50 years meet their daily requirement mainly through either foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a supplement containing B12.