Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is a prescription medication used to increase low vitamin B12 levels. It may be given as an injection, nasal spray, or tablets. Vitamin B12 is essential for the growth and reproduction of certain cells in the body and for the function of certain enzymes in the body. It helps to make DNA, red blood cells, and keeps your nervous system working as it should. An appropriate amount of vitamin B12 can usually be obtained in a well-rounded diet that includes fish, meat, and dairy products. A low level of vitamin B12 could be caused by the following:
- Not getting enough in the diet (vegans and vegetarians)
- Having a gastric disease or surgery that interfers with the absorption of vitamin B12.
- Having pathogenic bacteria or paracites grow and use the vitamin B12 in the GI tract.
- Taking proton pump inhibitors (like Prilosec or Prevacid) or H2 blockers (like Zantac or Tagamet) for long periods of time can keep you from absorbing enough vitamin B12.