Vitamin B12 is also known by the name of cyanocobalamin. This vitamin is water-soluble, which means that it cannot be stored over the long term in the human body. You need to consume enough vitamin B12 in your diet to ensure that your central nervous system is functioning correctly. In addition, vitamin B12 is necessary for producing red blood cells and controlling your body’s metabolism. You need to receive enough vitamin B12 in your diet to make sure that your body operates well, but you should not take too much because it is possible to overdose.
How a Vitamin B12 Overdose Works
A vitamin B12 overdose is normally caused by someone taking too many vitamin B12 supplements. In addition to taking too many, an individual may take a normal amount of supplements. When consumed at the same time as other foods that are high in B12, it can lead to an overdose. Many energy drinks are supplemented with vitamin B12. Foods like meat, dairy and eggs can also lead to an overdose if consumed excessively.
When you have overdosed on vitamin B12, you may experience a number of side effects. The most common side effects include headaches, itchiness, heart palpitations, giddiness and numbness. If you overdose on vitamin B12 over the long term, it can actually lead to an increased risk of cancer. Vitamin B12 improves the growth and multiplication of cells, so this could cause cancer to replicate rapidly. If you already have pernicious anemia, overdosing on vitamin B12 can cause leukemia. Likewise, a diet filled with animal protein and cholesterol can lead to stomach or esophagus cancer.
Avoiding a Vitamin B12 Overdose
When you eat a balanced, healthy diet, it is extremely uncommon to have a vitamin B12 overdose. There are some cases where you may end up overdosing unintentionally. Normally, this occurs because you have taken a vitamin B12 supplement or you have consumed energy drinks. If you are eating a diet that is high in protein, eggs and dairy, it is also possible to overdose. Ideally, you will need to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet that is rich in plant nutrients and whole grains. If you do decide to take vitamin B12 supplements, make sure to talk about it with your doctor or your dietitian to make sure that you do not end up taking too much.
Allows Follow the Recommended Daily Allowance
The United States government, and many other governments, have set up a recommended daily allowance (RDA) for most nutrients and vitamins. By following the RDA for vitamin B12, you can make sure that you are not unintentionally consuming too much. Most people only need vitamin B12 supplements if they are deficient, and this can be checked through a blood test by your doctor. To make sure you are consuming the right amount, use the following recommendations.
0 to 6 Months: Children who are between zero and six months old should receive 0.4 mcg of vitamin B12 every day.
7 to 12 Months: Children within this age range should receive about 0.5 mcg of vitamin B12 to remain healthy.
1 to 3 Years: Between the ages of one and three, children are recommend to get 0.9 mcg of vitamin B12 daily.
4 to 8 Years: Vitamin B12 should be about 1.2 mcg daily for children between the ages of four and eight years old.
9 to 12 Years: From the age of 9 to 12, children should receive 1.8 mcg of vitamin B12 a day.
Older Teenagers and Adults: In general, adults and older teenagers should consume 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 every day.
Breastfeeding Women: While breastfeeding, women will need additional vitamin B12. Ideally, they should consume about 2.8 mcg a day.
Pregnant Women: During pregnancy, women should consume 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12 every day.
People Older than 50: Individuals who are older than 50 years in age may have problems absorbing vitamin B12. An estimated 10 to 30 percent of people in this age group may not be able to absorb this vitamin properly. Elderly individuals may told to supplement their diet with vitamin B12 supplements in the amount of 25 to 100 mcg.
People With a Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Individuals who have a vitamin B12 deficiency may need to take an additional oral dosage to make sure that their body is functioning properly. This should be discussed with your doctor before embarking on any treatment program.
Reminders and Warnings
If you have an allergy to vitamin B12, taking a supplement can be dangerous. You should always discuss taking vitamin B12 supplements with your doctor to make sure that you do not overdose. Even individuals who have a normal immune response to vitamin B12 will want to consult with their doctor to make sure that they do not end up consuming too much vitamin B12. Although it is a normal part of your diet, you do not want your balance of nutrients to be messed up through supplementation. If you do develop side effects or other health issues, make sure to bring these problems to the attention of your doctor immediately.