Cyanocobalamin is a form of vitamin B12, and a member of the water soluble vitamin B group. It is critical for proper nervous system function, and metabolism of protein, fat and carbohydrate.
Cyanocobalamin does not commonly occur in nature, but is processed with activated charcoal, and is frequent in food and vitamin supplements as it is the most air-stable vitamer (member) in the B12 vitamin family. Due largely to this, cyanocobalamin is the most frequently used vitamin B12 form. Aside from food and supplement sources, cyanocobalamin may also be administered by injection in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Typical diets provide an individual with 5 to 15 mcg of protein-bound, absorbable vitamin B12 per day. Merely around one percent of the consumed B12 is absorbed into the body by diffusion. B12 is not present in plant-originated foods, but is readily found in foods of animal origin. Strict vegetarians who do not even consume dairy products or eggs may develop a vitamin B12 deficiency.
If left untreated for three months or longer, potentially permanent damage may be suffered by the patient. In particular, these may include degenerative spinal cord lesions and neurological conditions. Folic acid doses may mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, and in reverse, cyanocobalamin treatment may prevent a proper diagnosis in the case of a folate deficiency.
Continue reading about vitamin B12 deficiency.
As a treatment
Cyanocobalamin is commonly used for treatment of malabsorption vitamin B12 deficiency. This may be associated with certain conditions, including:
Broad fish tapeworm infection
Folic acid deficiency
Small bowel bacteria overgrowth
Read more about some of these associated conditions.
Cyanocobalamin should not be used by those sensitive to vitamin B12 or cobalt. Side effects may also be present in cases of cyanocobalamin use in other circumstances, including in Leber's disease patients, those with severe megaloblastic anemia, and individuals with impaired kidney function. Other potentially dangerous side effects also exist, and only a doctor or medical professional should prescribe cyanocobalamin treatment.